Imagine you are raped by a relative, thrown in jail for adultery, pregnant with your rapist's child... and then told you can be freed from prison if you marry him. This is the story of a woman from Afghanistan, who is only known as Gulnaz. If you haven't been following this news story, we'll give you the details later in this post.
First some happy news though: Gulnaz was freed from jail and didn't have to marry her rapist. Have you seen the news reports about Afghanistani girls attending school, while not wearing a burka? Most of us have been relieved and happy to see that things were finally changing for women in Afghanistan after the Taliban were ousted.
Sure, there are still many problems to solve but Afghanistan's women are now living in hope. Or are they? A woman named Gulnaz was raped by her cousin's husband. When it became clear that she was pregnant, she was jailed for a "moral crime". Her rapist was also jailed (which is something, I guess). While in jail, the poor woman gave birth to a daughter who stayed with her.
Gulnaz said, while she was in jail: "At first my sentence was two years. When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?" Human rights activists say that hundreds of women reside in Afghanistan's prisons for so-called moral crimes. Raped, then jailed. It is something out of a nightmare. It took international outcries and a pardon from the president, Hamid Karzai, for Gulnaz to be set free. Her lawyer clarified that the release was unconditional, and Gulnaz won't, as some news reports stated, have to marry her rapist. "She is now free to lead a normal life without the threat of further legal action," lawyer Kimberly Motley said.
I wonder, though "normal life"? Will a single mother be able to lead a normal life in a country that thinks jailing women for being raped is acceptable?