Women, eh. What is their problem? Why do they keep insisting on being born women? Isn’t it kind of obvious what a bad career choice that is? So why do they keep doing it? It’s so stupid that no punishment can be too severe for it. This being a woman thing has got to be stamped out. And by golly in some places in this world people are doing their best. Widows starve along with their children, because obviously they can’t be allowed to do anything else, because that would be immodest, and violate someone’s honour. So starve, bitch.
In a bleak and run-down part of eastern Kabul, aid workers call out to a group of poor women waiting for food handouts. One by one, they collect a ration of flour, salt and cooking oil. It is supposed to last them and their children for the next month because they all have something in common – they are widows. In Afghanistan, losing your husband can mean destitution for women. Many are abandoned by their families. Unable to work, they depend on support programmes like this one run by the aid agency Care.
And women are beaten up by their brothers for being women, so they run away, which means they’ve been Out Alone, which of course means they deserve to be beaten even more.
Fatima – not her real name – describes how she was beaten regularly by her brothers, while a refugee in Iran. She fled, but then returned home – only for the beatings to get worse. Because, Fatima says, her family believed their reputation had been damaged by having a daughter who had been out alone…”They were beating me but they don’t understand that and now they saying: ‘You are guilty.’ Because of their honour they don’t want to be faced with other family members. They want to kill me.”
Well of course they do. How dare you not want to be beaten regularly by your brothers? How dare you run away? How dare you sully your brothers’ ‘honour’? The honour of aggressive thugs who beat up their sisters regularly is a precious thing. Die, bitch.
Such cases are far from unusual – in fact they’re commonplace. “It’s complete impunity,” says Rachel Wareham, Afghan director of the charity Medica Mondiale, which cares for women who suffer domestic violence. “There is no established mechanism for men who are violent to be brought to justice.”
Naturally not. Men aren’t the ones who made the stupid and shameful mistake of being born women. All women by being born women and going on being women are a standing risk to the honour of men; therefore they must be beaten regularly, as a minimal precaution, and in cases where that is not enough to keep them permanently cowering under the furniture, killed.