Again I must tell you another sad story, this of Frozan, whose goal was to become educated and support other women, but whose fate was different. I learned about her case from the Department of Women’s Affairs and read her own words in a notebook she left behind.
Frozan’s problems began when she was two years old and her father died, leaving her and her sister to their poor, uneducated mother. As is common in Afghanistan, they moved into her uncle’s home, in Darabad village in Farah province. But she did not get the support of her uncle’s family because she had neither a father nor a brother to back her.
Her situation worsened when her cruel uncle proposed that she marry his son, who was addicted to heroin, a thief, and promiscuous. Frozan rejected her cousin, but her uncle said she had to marry him. He warned that if she refused the marriage, “We will kill you,” but added that if she accepted the marriage, she could continue her education and retain her freedom.
“But they told me lies,” she wrote.
Her cousin, angry because she did not hide the fact that she didn’t love him, began to beat and abuse her. Despite the violence, she did the chores of laundry, cooking, and cleaning so that her uncle would allow her mother to visit her. But she drew criticism from villagers who called her a bad woman who didn’t love her husband.
“I accepted. I forgot all of my relatives, as my uncle wanted me to do,” Frozen wrote. “But no one sees the problems of my husband, who drinks alcohol, is addicted to heroin, who beats me because I do not love him, who does not have a job to provide for me.”
Frozan saw only one way to take control of her own life. “I am tired from my life today,” she wrote. “Allah will never forgive me and I will go to the hell, but no one listens to me, no one can hear me, and I do not have anyone to help me and to save my life.”
“Today I will give an end to this life. I will leave this world with its problems and threats against women of Afghanistan. The date is February 16, 2012, and I will say bye to all my friends who I did not see for a long time, I say bye to my lovely mom, who was not able to do anything for me, I will say bye to my sister who loved me a lot. I will say bye to my bad uncle, who never understood my feelings or my heart. And finally I will say bye to the world that gave me mostly sad events my whole life.”
Frozan shot herself. No one took her to the doctor, and she died on February 18th, on the day of her 21st birthday.
I tell you, Frozan, that we will never forget you. I did not know you, but I feel you.
I wish you could have come even once to the Department of Women’s Affairs, but then I know you could not, because your family and your uncles would consider that shameful. We cannot help you anymore, but we must raise awareness for other women.
Violence against women in Afghanistan happens in many different ways, and many women feel they have no way out except suicide. I want Frozan’s story to stand as an example of the life Afghan women face as we celebrate the 8th of March as Women’s International Day.