Shut up Because You Are a Girl

Girls have many problems in Afghanistan that unfortunately stem from the belief by men and boys that Allah created women for men to rule over them. They believe it is their right to harass women.

Boys torment girls when they go outside alone. Girls in villages and provinces often don’t go to school because their fathers don’t allow them to get an education. When a girl says she wants to go to school or she wants to have a role in family matters, the men of the family tell her, “Shut up! You can’t discuss this with us because you are a girl.”

Our religion of Islam says: “Both girls and boys have the same right to be educated.” But the truth of religion is not as important to most men as their own zeal in controlling the women.

Child Marriage

Most fathers and boys think about their own benefits first and nothing else. One of the miseries they created is forcing young girls to marry old men. For example, it is not uncommon for a thirteen-year-old girl to be forced to marry a seventy-year-old man. This is a big cruelty under Islam, but the men don’t think about the girl’s rights in society.

A few days ago, a girl’s tongue was cut out by her husband and she cannot speak anymore. She was pregnant and had lost her child and when her husband tried to force her to do illegal acts for money, she refused and he cut out her tongue. The man has been arrested and is waiting for his trial. If the police would punish such men, others might stop doing such things. But usually, even when men are arrested, they are not punished and so they don’t worry about breaking the law.

Involve the Mullahs

We should ask the mullahs in the mosques to talk to men during Friday prayer. If the mullahs told men that this kind of behavior is not acceptable in the Islam faith, the men would listen. Men do many things in the name of Islam that are not part of the true faith.

For example, if a member of a family kills a member of another family for any reason, the killer’s family can be required to give up one of their daughters as compensation. The killer himself is not punished. Islam says that if a girl is not willing to marry, her family doesn’t have the right to force her.

If television and radio made stories about the abuses, people would take notice. If I could be the head of a television or radio station, I would make a drama comparing what really happens in Afghanistan with what mullahs say is permitted by our religion.

Young Women for Change

We now have a project in Afghanistan called Young Women for Change. The project is directed at boys who harass girls. The group goes to boys’ schools and gives presentations. They also give presentations at girls’ schools to show girls how to protect themselves and how to talk to the male family members of about their right to not be harassed.

Changing the attitude of Afghan men starts with better education for everyone. I hope that one day the violence will stop and we will all be free. It is our duty as women to participate in this project and work for the future of Afghan girls. We must stand up for ourselves if we want to stop the violence against women and girls in Afghanistan.

By Humaira

Photo by ISAF Media


  1. I would love to Share your posts on my FB page instead of just like. Can you add a widget to share it. I think you can just hover over the one at the end of my posts on my blog and get it there. Thank you! The article is illuminating!

    • That’s a good idea, thanks Sheree. I’ve added a FB share button.

      • Thank and I used it! :)

      • Humaria, I can soooo relate, although under different circumstance. When I was born, the culture i was raise in was to “be seen and not heard.” My father was 71 when I was 15. Mom was 23 years younger. Dad continully informed me that because I was “born a girl” I did not have a brain and therefore did not have the ability to make decisions. Both parents wanted and expected me to flunk out of high school. Dad got into a shouting match with a person I knew and informed him that He (dad) owned me body/mind/soul until I turned 21.

        From my perspective, the culture of making a female dress so covered, is because they are ashamed of having girls in the home. Girls do not give the men “bragging” rights. I wonder what the men would say, and how they would behave if they knew that it is the man/male person that determines the sex of the child. That is not a decision a woman makes. And yes, the covering is absolutely a contolling factor, handed down from tradition. Oh, how I could say more…. Edith

  2. Such a well thought out essay about how to change what is happening to women in Afghanistan! The line:
    “Changing the attitude of Afghan men starts with better education for everyone” — says it all perfectly. I hope people in your country are reading your wise words too.

  3. Ashleigh says:

    Reading this article has really made me think about the rights of men and women. Women should be given more opportunities and we should fight to stop abuse and violence, because no one deserves to be treated like that. It breaks my heart to hear stories about these kinds of things. I think your strength and will power to make a change is inspiring. Your writing is so strong. I hope that the violence in your country will come to an end.

  4. Alexis Wiggins says:

    This makes me so angry. I am currently reading Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and I’m shocked by the cultural preference for boys and how much it harms women. You should read Half the Sky, which is a hard read but a wonderful book about women and their place in the world and society. Interestingly, in societies that invest in women, there is more prosperity on the whole — women are the secret to a prosperous, peaceful society. But we already knew that, didn’t we…

  5. This discrimination against girls is heinous and inhumane. Men and women should be treated the same and it saddens me to hear of this going on, how these men would go directly against Islam in committing these acts. You are brave in writing on this topic Humaira, God bless you.

  6. I would be honored to fight for your freedom by posting your stories on my blog. Please visit it, and send me an email with what you would like me to post……………………..Jamie Lee – LGBT Advocate and a supporter of Woman’s Freedom…..

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