Life is not Fluffy Bunnies

January 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment

A little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

Apologies for the flippant title for a very serious post. Many of you will have seen the news today with the horrifying story about Sahar Gul. Married off at 14 to a man twice her age, she was the victim of severe violence, incarceration and starvation from the family she married into. The story is here – Sahar was a child when given in marriage, she is still a child now. Her parents prompted her rescue after not being able to see her for some months. I am glad they did so.

There are so many currents to this sad tale that I am not quite sure where to begin. Allowing a child to be married at fourteen is a start. The legal age for marriage in Afghanistan is sixteen but it seems culturally acceptable to marry earlier. In a society where 90% of the world’s opium originates and a Government  under consistent attack from a regrouping Taliban a chocolate-box childhood is not to be expected. With extreme poverty and sporadic education both for boys and girls, starting work early (where work can be gained) and marrying early is the norm. I cannot therefore say anything bad about Sahar’s parents. They may have let her marry but they also tried to maintain their relationship with their daughter and were the cause of her rescue.

Domestic violence levels in Afghanistan are said to be very high; some estimates state over 70% of women and children experience it. It is hard to get firm figures as so few cases are reported. When any news reports you see on the country stem from violence, against troops stationed there, against rival tribes and factions, then violence is at the very heart of day-to-day life. The chilling part of this is that violence begets more violence. Growing up as I did in a country where arms took the place of dialogue for many years you can see how ‘everyday’ violence ingrains itself into a society. It is a long, hard road to change this. The problem with Afghanistan and so many other places in the world is that many do not want violence to stop. They see it as an indisputable right, their struggle and conflict is right, everyone else is wrong. With this mindset in place across the opposing forces then nothing will change.

Violence cows people, it leaves them submissive. Submissive people are easier to control but that submission can lead to more violence. Flinching against a blow that doesn’t come can anger the dominant and lead to blows once again. This is not a life for anyone. This is barely an existence. It is suggested that Sahar suffered some of her abuse due to her refusal to become a prostitute. If this is so then she is beyond brave. Sahar will need time now, physical wounds will heal but I hope they find someone who can help with the mental battle she will now face. I also hope her story prompts more action on behalf of those who have not yet been rescued.

Lastly, violence against the defenceless is not unique to this story. We should never forget that. If you know someone who is being treated badly then please do something about it….

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.



Entry filed under: Children, Donating, Giving, Life, wheniwas8. Tags: , , , , .

How was it for you? Parenting or Punishment?

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