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Posted: 3/23/2006 7:09:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:14:40 AM EDT by fight4yourrights]
Child Bride





Married at the age of four, an Afghan girl was subjected to years of beatings and torture, finally escaping to discover that within all the world's cruelty, there is also some kindness.

KABUL,
Afghanistan - Eleven-year old Gulsoma lay in a heap on the ground in front of her father-in-law. He told her that if she didn't find a missing watch by the next morning he would kill her. He almost had already.

Enraged about the missing watch, Gulsoma's father-in-law had beaten her repeatedly with a stick. She was bleeding from wounds all over her body and her right arm and right foot had been broken.

She knew at that moment that if she didn't get away, he would make good on his promise to kill her.
* * *

When I meet her at the Ministry of Women's Affairs I'm surprised that the little girl, now 12, is the same one that had endured such horrible suffering. She is wearing a red baseball cap and an orange scarf. She has beautiful brown eyes and a full and animated smile. She takes one of my hands in both of hers and greets me warmly, without any hint of shyness.

"She looks healthy," says Haroon, my friend and translator. I nod. But she looks older than her years, we both agree. In orphanages — first in Kandahar, then in Kabul — she has had a year to recover from a lifetime's worth of unimaginable imprisonment, deprivation and torture.

In one of the ministry's offices she sits in a straight-backed wooden chair and tells us the story of her life so far. She is stoic for the most part, pausing only a few times to wipe her eyes and nose with her scarf.

Her story begins in the village of Mullah Allam Akhound, near Kandahar.

"When I was three years old my father died, and after a year my mother married again, but her second husband didn't want me," says Gulsoma. "So my mother gave me away in a promise of marriage to our neighbor's oldest son, who was thirty."

"They had a ceremony in which I was placed on a horse [which is traditional in Afghanistan] and given to the man."

Because she was still a child, the marriage was not expected to be sexually consummated. But within a year, Gulsoma learned that so much else would be required of her that she would become a virtual slave in the household.

At the age of five, she was forced to take care of not only her "husband" but also his parents and all 12 of their other children as well.

Though nearly the entire family participated in the abuse, her father-in-law, she says, was the cruelest.

"My father-in-law asked me to do everything — laundry, the household chores — and the only time I was able to sleep in the house was when they had guests over," she says. "Other than that I would have to sleep outside on a piece of carpet without even any blankets. In the summer it was okay. But in the winter a neighbor would come over and give me a blanket, and sometimes some food."

When she couldn't keep up with the workload, Gulsoma says, she was beaten constantly.

Gulsoma's scars

"They beat me with electric wires," she says, "mostly on the legs. My father-in-law told his other children to do it that way so the injuries would be hidden. He said to them, 'break her bones, but don't hit her on the face.'"

There were even times when the family's abuse of Gulsoma transcended the bounds of the most wanton, sadistic cruelty, as on the occasions when they used her as a human tabletop, forcing her to lie on her stomach then cutting their food on her bare back.

Gulsoma says the family had one boy her age, named Atiqullah, who refused to take part in her torture.

"He would sneak me food sometimes and when my mother-in-law told him to find a stick to beat me, he would come back say he couldn't find one," she says. "He would try to stop the others sometimes. He would say 'she is my sister, and this is sinful.' Sometimes I think about him and wish he could be here and I wish I could have him as my brother."

One evening, Gulsoma says, when her father-in-law saw the neighbor giving her food and a blanket, he took them away and beat her mercilessly. Then, she says, he locked her in a shed for two months.

"I would be kept there all day," she says, "then at night they would let me go the bathroom and I would be fed one time each day. Most of the time it was only bread and sometimes some beans."

She says every day she was locked in the shed, she wished and prayed that her parents would come and take her away. Then she would remember that her father was dead and her mother was gone.

But Gulsoma had an inner strength even her father-in-law couldn't comprehend.

"When he came to the shed he kept asking me, 'Why don't you die? I imprisoned you, I give you less food, but still you don't die.'"

But it wasn't for lack of trying. Gulsoma said when her father-in-law finally let her out of the shed, he bound her hands behind her back and beat her unconscious. She says he revived her by pouring a tea thermos filling with scalding water over her head and her back.

"It was so painful," she says, dabbing her eyes with her scarf and sniffling for a moment. "I was crying and screaming the entire time."

Five days later, she says, her father in law gave her a vicious beating when his daughter's wristwatch went missing.

"He thought I stole it," she says, "and he beat me all over my body with his stick. He broke my arm and my foot. He said if I didn't find it by the next day, he would kill me."

* * *

Gulsoma found hope after escaping

She crawled away that night and hid under a rickshaw. When the rickshaw driver found Gulsoma, broken and bleeding, he listened to her story and took her to the police. She was hospitalized immediately.

"The doctor at the hospital who treated me said, 'I wish I could take you to the village square and show all the people what happened to you, so no one would ever do something like this again,'" Gulsoma says.

It took her a full month to recover from her last beating. But the fear and psychological trauma may never go away.

"I was happy to have a bed and food at the hospital," she says. "But I was thinking that when I get better they will give me back to the family."

However, Gulsoma says when the police questioned the family, the father-in-law lied and tried to tell them she had epilepsy and had fallen down and hurt herself. But the neighbor who had helped Gulsoma confirmed the story of her beatings and torture.

The police arrested her father-in-law and "husband." They told her, she says, they would keep them in jail unless she asked for their release.

"Everyone was crying when they heard my story," Gulsoma says.

Gulsoma says she stayed at an orphanage in Kandahar, but was the only girl in the facility. Eventually, her story was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

The toll of torture

Gulsoma was then brought to a Kabul orphanage, where she lives today. She takes off her baseball cap and shows us a bald spot, almost like a medieval monk's tonsure, on the crown of her head where she was scalded.

She then turns her back and raises her shirt to reveal a sad map of scar tissue and keloids from cuts, bruises and the boiling water.

Haroon and I look at each other with disbelief. Her life's tragic story is etched upon her back.

Yet she continues to smile. She doesn't ask for pity. She seems more concerned about us as she reads the shock on our faces.

"I feel better now," she says. "I have friends at the orphanage. But every night I'm still afraid the family will come here and pick me up."

Gulsoma also says that when the sun goes down, she sometimes begins to shiver involuntarily — a reaction to the seven years of sleeping outdoors, sometimes in the bitter cold of the desert night.

She says she believes there are other girls like her in Kandahar, maybe elsewhere in Afghanistan, and that she wants to study human rights and one day go back to help them.

As we walk outside to take some pictures, I ask her if, after all she's been through, she thinks it will be harder to trust, to believe that there are actually good people in the world.

"No," she says, quickly.

"I didn't expect anyone would help me but God. I was really surprised that there were also nice people: the neighbor, the rickshaw driver, the police," she says. "I pray for those who helped release me."

Looking directly into the camera, she smiles as if nothing bad had ever happened to her in her entire life.

"I think that all people are good people," she says, "except for those that hurt me."


Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:13:36 AM EDT
Pretty much speechless.

These bastards should burn in hell.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:20:38 AM EDT
I'm in tears and I cannot believe she is in an orphanage. Why has no one adopted her? So many have heard her story, yet no one has given her a loving home? Can Americans adopt from Afghanistan? Or have the multiculturalists banned that, too, for fear of losing this great "culture?"
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:27:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:34:53 AM EDT
Another truly unbelievable story. I no longer feel or get angry reading these type of stories and articles.
Just pure and utter disgust!!!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:36:31 AM EDT
Good God........

I can't fathom treating another human being like that.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:37:24 AM EDT
Sadly she is the one that got away. Who knows how much more of this crap there is goin on. Tons I suspect. But yet we are the evil ppl for tryin to help.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:38:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Good God........

I can't fathom treating another human being like that.




That's because -- dare I say it? -- you have God as your moral authority.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:39:32 AM EDT
Many of the people still live in the stone age.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:42:08 AM EDT
And we have people here(USA) defending these scumbags...
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:43:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:45:49 AM EDT by John_Wayne777]

Originally Posted By BlammO:
That's because -- dare I say it? -- you have God as your moral authority.



"25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church."

Ephesians 5

"37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”"

Matthew 22
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:45:00 AM EDT
This stuff happens all over, even here.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:45:10 AM EDT
This is a terrible story, however it does give one some hope. After all look at all the people willing to help her and the fact that the criminals were actually arrested by the local police is a good sign.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:46:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Miracle_Pants:
This is a terrible story, however it does give one some hope. After all look at all the people willing to help her and the fact that the criminals were actually arrested by the local police is a good sign.



Indeed it is.

To escape the bonds of opression that the Taliban set up, this abuse of women has to stop. If they are going to be a free people, they must leave the 13th century.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:47:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BlammO:

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Good God........

I can't fathom treating another human being like that.




That's because -- dare I say it? -- you have God as your moral authority.



I don't have God as my moral authority and I can't fathom treating a dog, much less a human being, that way.

They need to find her "mother" and put her in the same cell with the animals she sold her daughter to.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:47:58 AM EDT
That is disgusting. Abuse like that happens everywhere, even in our own backyards...truly horrible.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:50:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:51:41 AM EDT by DK-Prof]

Originally Posted By Chaingun:
This stuff happens all over, even here.



Important to remember.

While Islam DEFINITELY has a bad attitude towards women, and the Koran actively condones their subjugation, and while some of the more primitive tribal cultures in places like Afghanistan undoubtedly allow this, let us remember that this kind of shit happens all over.


That bouncer in New York who tortured a raped the grad student. The guy just the other day who kidnapped two girls and kept them in a bunker/dungeon below his house, or the stories that occasionally crop up of kids who are kidnapped and kept as sex slaves for weeks/months/years.

There are fucked up people out there of all colors and creeds.


But, a lot of the institutions of Islam certainly make it EASIER to get away with this kind of shit - and especially so in tribal communities. However - let's also acknowledge that part of the story where her father-in-law and husband were arrested when she told her story.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:50:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:52:39 AM EDT by NimmerMehr]
Oh my holy God!


But, a lot of the institutions of Islam certainly make it EASIER to get away with this kind of shit - and especially so in tribal communities.


People are evil and islam in rural areas is a catalyst?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:52:20 AM EDT
I guess their beloved Allah must condone such actions.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:55:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By osprey21:
I guess their beloved Allah must condone such actions.



Where do you get that idea? I'd wager that all the people who helped her were Muslim.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:06:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

Originally Posted By BlammO:
That's because -- dare I say it? -- you have God as your moral authority.



"25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church."

Ephesians 5

"37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”"

Matthew 22



JW...I believe he was saying that tongue in cheek for those who discount God.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:36:42 AM EDT
People who hurt kids are at the top of my shitlist.

I see things like this and wonder how one human being can do something like this to another - someone small and vulnerable no less.

Like I've said before evil walks the earth in human form.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:39:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:40:17 AM EDT
Nobody should be allowed to do that.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:40:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
Oh my holy God!


But, a lot of the institutions of Islam certainly make it EASIER to get away with this kind of shit - and especially so in tribal communities.


People are evil and islam in rural areas is a catalyst?




Kind of, I'd say it more like:

Some people are evil, and some religions and cultures (and unfortnately Islam is among them) make it easier for people to get away with their evil deeds.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:48:34 AM EDT
SOB's need to die.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:50:31 AM EDT
I can't even begin to imagine what all must be lacking in a person who can be this cruel to another - the most disturbing part is that probably someone you know or someone who lives near you has been horribly abused at some point in their lives... you would think that in a "modern civilized" society like America we would be past this kind of behavior, but I guess some people just have that level of cruelty in them with no stop-gap to contain it...

Has anyone here read A Child Called It?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:15:52 AM EDT
I was gonna say something but i decided not to, i just got back from the doctor and he told me I'm allergic to J##MLV d#ML^& and i dont wanna end up getting %^N!P#.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:36:02 AM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:39:24 AM EDT
Wow, I can't believe it, not from the RoP!

Oh, wait, yes I can, never mind......
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:56:28 AM EDT
I still think we do a better job of punishing abusers in the west.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:06:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 11:15:16 AM EDT by BlammO]

Originally Posted By Dino:

Originally Posted By BlammO:

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Good God........

I can't fathom treating another human being like that.




That's because -- dare I say it? -- you have God as your moral authority.



I don't have God as my moral authority and I can't fathom treating a dog, much less a human being, that way.


Yep. When you reject God, you're free to define morality however you wish. You've just defined yours a little differently than these people. Freedom is terriffic, but incorrect choices come at a dramatic price -- now or later.

I really don't mean to derail this into a theological discussion -- I'm just pointing out that when a person's values are set to allow this, bad things happen. When an entire culture's values are this far off, you have evil on a massive scale.

But then from their (warped) point of view, this is probably perfectly acceptable. Hence the fundamental need for a universal moral authority. (And thank God we have one ).

Notice that the phrases I color-coded require a frame of reference. You have to have a moral compass or baseline for any of these terms to have any meaning at all.


They need to find her "mother" and put her in the same cell with the animals she sold her daughter to.



If "they" have the same value set as the mother or any other participants then no crime is committed, right? Therein lies the fundamental flaw of user-defined values.

I would ordinarily assert here that I believe Islam's moral authority is no less than Satan himself, but I won't because I don't want to risk banishment.

[Edit: Restructured to clarify.]
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:01:14 PM EDT
As sad as this is, the same thing has happened here. People Suck....no matter where they are.



And why do you look at the splinter in in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:04:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By yekimak:
As sad as this is, the same thing has happened here. People Suck....no matter where they are.






Yeah, but there this is given tacit approval by the "fundamentalist" imams and RoP leaders, as the koran says this behavior is A-OK....
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:07:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By yekimak:
And why do you look at the splinter in in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?



I appreciate the links, but the quote is out of context here.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:08:30 PM EDT
Married at 4?

Why not. Mooohommed took one of his many brides at 6 and consumated the marriage at nine.

Only a fine, peaceful religion that would accept child molestation by it's original "prophet" and teach that all non-believers must be killed, converted or subjugated.

Barbarians.

John

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:12:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:08:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pzjgr:

Yeah, but there this is given tacit approval by the "fundamentalist" imams and RoP leaders, as the koran says this behavior is A-OK....



Where does the Koran say treating someone like this is OK?

Religion did not cause or lead this family to treat the girl like they did. Culture seems to have had the most to do with it. That area is beyong 3rd world status.

If any religious leader agrees with the treatment of the girl, they need to go back and get re-educated in religion. I can't see how anyone can support/condone that type of treatment of another person.

I do agree that is many areas, the govt. does turn a blind eye to crimes committed against women (honor-killings). That is not a fault of Islam, it is more a fault of the leaders of those countries who have twisted the religion to their benifit. It is not that difficult to get everyone to follow what you say, especially in less-advanced areas.

There needs to be a 'cleansing' of the religious leadership in many countries. Too many are misleading their followers and feeding them twisted/corrupted teachings.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:10:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Good God........

I can't fathom treating another human being like that.
+1.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:31:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BlammO:

Originally Posted By yekimak:
And why do you look at the splinter in in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?



I appreciate the links, but the quote is out of context here.

How is it out of context? We are condemning another culture to death because of things we do ourselves. I am not a muslim apologist, but I find it disturbing that people here are willing to condemn a whole culture to death because of a few sickos. If that were the case we should kill all Catholics, I mean they have decades of cover ups and thousands of abuse instances, (to the point that it is used as a joke). Cover ups and denial are basically private condonement while maintaining public image, right?

But don't let me interfere with the 2 minute hate you guys got going on here.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:17:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By yekimak:

Originally Posted By BlammO:

Originally Posted By yekimak:
And why do you look at the splinter in in your brother's eye, and not notice the beam which is in your own eye?



I appreciate the links, but the quote is out of context here.

How is it out of context? We are condemning another culture to death because of things we do ourselves. I am not a muslim apologist, but I find it disturbing that people here are willing to condemn a whole culture to death because of a few sickos. If that were the case we should kill all Catholics, I mean they have decades of cover ups and thousands of abuse instances, (to the point that it is used as a joke). Cover ups and denial are basically private condonement while maintaining public image, right?

But don't let me interfere with the 2 minute hate you guys got going on here.



Please do me the courtesy of reading my posts and giving them some objective consideration. You may want to requalify your sweeping generalization. And maybe my reading comprehension isn't the best, but I don't recall anyone here condemning another culture to death.

Nobody said it doesn't happen in our culture. But for your abuse of scripture to be relevant here, this thread would need to be populated by actual child molesters decrying the act of child molestation. Otherwise, what you're saying would preclude any discussion of wrongs by others. Is it wrong for us to discuss robbery in another country if it also happens here?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:23:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LadyLiberty:
I'm in tears and I cannot believe she is in an orphanage. Why has no one adopted her? So many have heard her story, yet no one has given her a loving home? Can Americans adopt from Afghanistan? Or have the multiculturalists banned that, too, for fear of losing this great "culture?"


You realize how hard it is to get older non-white kids adopted?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:33:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 3:40:47 PM EDT by John_Wayne777]

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
You realize how hard it is to get older non-white kids adopted?



Sadly, he is right.

Folks, Afghanistan is an area that still lives 1,000 years ago. In many places the central government has little or no authority, and life remains basically as it was when Jesus was walking the earth, except they have AK's now.

All that doesn't change overnight.

The culture has traditionally treated women like dirt. Some women in that system ARE loved and respected and treated well. Some men love their wives and daughters and treat them well. Some men are worthless sh*tbags with a narcissism complex that excuses their ill-treatment of women and children just as sh*tbags have done for thousands of years. As a whole, the culture's record on women sucketh mightily.

The culture is the product of diseased thinking, and it is exactly this diseased thinking that we are fighting.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:44:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LadyLiberty:
I'm in tears and I cannot believe she is in an orphanage. Why has no one adopted her? So many have heard her story, yet no one has given her a loving home? Can Americans adopt from Afghanistan? Or have the multiculturalists banned that, too, for fear of losing this great "culture?"



She can come live with me. Poor baby girl.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:47:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Good God........

I can't fathom treating another human being like that.



+1.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:33:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
You realize how hard it is to get older non-white kids adopted?



Sadly, he is right.

Folks, Afghanistan is an area that still lives 1,000 years ago. In many places the central government has little or no authority, and life remains basically as it was when Jesus was walking the earth, except they have AK's now.

All that doesn't change overnight.

The culture has traditionally treated women like dirt. Some women in that system ARE loved and respected and treated well. Some men love their wives and daughters and treat them well. Some men are worthless sh*tbags with a narcissism complex that excuses their ill-treatment of women and children just as sh*tbags have done for thousands of years. As a whole, the culture's record on women sucketh mightily.

The culture is the product of diseased thinking, and it is exactly this diseased thinking that we are fighting.




Bravo. Well said!
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