“Good job, mullah sir”

[T]he girls, ages 13 and 14, had been fleeing for two days along rutted roads and over mountain passes to escape their illegal, forced marriages to much older men, and now they had made it to relatively liberal Herat Province.

But a cop spotted them, and far from protecting them, he sent them back home. “There they were publicly and viciously flogged for daring to run away from their husbands.” Or rather their “husbands” who were more like rapist slaveowners than anything we in the less thuggish part of the world would consider “husbands.”

Forced into a so-called marriage exchange, where each girl was given to an elderly man in the other’s family, Khadija and Basgol later complained that their husbands beat them when they tried to resist [being raped]…

In the video, the mullah, under Mr. Khan’s approving eye, administers the punishment with a leather strap, which he appears to wield with as much force as possible, striking each girl in turn on her legs and buttocks with a loud crack each time. Their heavy red winter chadors are pulled over their heads so only their skirts protect them from the blows.

The spectators are mostly armed men wearing camouflage uniforms, and at least three of them openly videotape the floggings. No women are present.

The mullah, whose name is not known, strikes the girls so hard that at one point he appears to have hurt his wrist and hands the strap to another man.

That’s how it always is with these things – a whole crowd of grown men, many of them heavily armed, combining forces to hit women or even young girls as hard as they possibly can. Bullying at its purest and its starkest freedom from shame. The girls are treated like objects that exist to squeeze penises, and if the objects decline to squeeze their alloted penises, they are treated as sentient for just long enough to be flogged with leather straps.

On Saturday, at the Women for Afghan Women shelter, at a secret location in Kabul, there were four fugitive child brides. All had been beaten, and most wept as they recounted their experiences.

Yes I daresay they did.

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