Note: Farah Province is a largely Pashtun province in southwest Afghanistan near the Iran border. Nimroz Province to the south of it is a very sparsely populated desert area.

In Afghanistan many families do not pay close attention to how they should marry their children.

Most of them think about marrying their children to someone wealthy, instead of someone healthy. Some families don’t even try to understand the man who wants to marry their daughter.

These problems hurt women in many parts of country, but I want to write about Farida, a girl in Farah Province who was sacrificed by her father and brothers to a marriage with a person who was introduced to her family as a big trader.

Farida was 15 and in the tenth grade, and she was a most beautiful, smart, and talented girl. The family never tried to find out the real facts. They married their daughter to the man who showed up at the wedding party, even though everyone understood this person had mental problems. He was psychotic. He didn’t know about women and life.

Because of this incorrect tradition, Farida went to her husband’s house. Who knows what problems she tolerated or how much pain she felt at home with a psychotic husband.

Her in-law family stopped her from going to school. She became depressed and after three years of enduring this, she returned to her parents to ask them to get her a divorce. But she never succeeded because in Afghanistan only the man has the right to give a divorce. Her husband’s family said they were Pashtun and it would shame them.

Farida told them that she wanted to live far away from the psychotic man. They pretended to agree. Farida was absolutely happy. She started back at school. But on the second day, in front of the school, Farida was kidnapped by her husband’s family members. They took her to an unknown place. No one knew where she was.

Farida’s mother was an old woman, but with tears on her face she went to the Women’s Department, the governor, anywhere she could, to ask for help finding her daughter. No one paid attention, but the women in Farah came together and demonstrated, asking responsible organizations to help bring back Farida to her family.

Their protests caused the governor to issue an order to arrest some of the members of the husband’s family. Finally they showed the place where they had Farida hidden and allowed her to call her parents.

But it is two years later and still she has the same problem. She lives far from her family with this person in Nimroz Province.

It is very unfair that we force a woman to live with a psychotic person. There is no one behind Farida. But we have helped at least to give her the opportunity to be in touch with her family.

By Seeta

Photo taken in the Delaram district of Nimroz province by Marko Djurica/REUTERS