Gender and Violence in Afghanistan

Solving the gender violence problem is a big challenge for the people of our country, and at the same time we have thousands of other problems also facing our people.

When I think of gender and violence, I think of the main challenges for Afghanistan: civil war and attacks that could come in the future. Economic issues—illiteracy and poverty and unemployment. And corruption.

To eliminate violence we need to provide opportunities and solutions. First of all we need peace in our country to eliminate violence. Then we must implement the rule of law as a basic right. We must place educated and professional people in key posts so we can decrease corruption. We must provide jobs for people. And finally, we need commitments from neighboring countries that they will not interfere in Afghanistan’s business. 

How can we trust and believe that Afghanistan, with all of these challenges highlighted above, will never face violence against women? In our rural areas, 99 percent of women are illiterate and poor. They are not aware of their rights or what role they could occupy in our society. 

There is a proverb that says women are like a piece of cloth. The parents put a price on their daughters the same way they price a piece of material for sale. 

But it is our role and responsibility not to blame one another. I have had this experience while attending meetings and workshops. People blame the government and our government blames people. 

However, if we give our hands to each other in unity, not blame, but trust and believe in each other, and if we do not depend too much on donors and funding, then I believe one day we will decrease the amount of violence in our country. Violence is a global problem and does not only belong to our country, and I hope one day we will never hear sad stories of violence.

By Mariam


  1. Elizabeth Titus says:

    Dear Mariam,
    Thank you for this reasoned, clear essay! You write extremely well and make valid points.


  2. Well said, Mariam. I think every leader in the world should hold in his and her thoughts and heart the words you wrote. This here is a recipe for peace.

  3. Thank you for this, Mariam! What you say is true: people price girls like they would pieces of cloth. It’s true everywhere, not only in Afghanistan. It seems to me that one of the first steps, as a woman, is to realize I can step out of the narrative in which I play an object that can be bought and sold.

  4. RM Barras says:

    Nicely said. In the end we are all responsible. Powerful perspective.

  5. Gloria Nixon-John says:

    I see hope in your writing. Yes, you are correct education is vital in order to get women to think about themselves differently, and when they do begin to have knowledge, and self-esteem, things will begin to change no matter how many obstacles there are in the way. Sometimes it starts with looking into someones eyes and telling them that you see someone who holds great promise. You can change a life by that simple act. If a woman is a piece of cloth, together we can make a quilt. Educate women who will then educate their sons and daughters. You are a strong woman and I applaud you for your strength and you hope.

  6. Tilden J Le Melle says:

    Dear Mariam,
    To change the culture of any institution let alone that of a whole country is a very difficult task. Howeve, it can be done. Look at the historical anti-Black culture in the US. It has changed. It took the willingness to take on directly the power structure whose hegemony was dependent on maintaining the status quo. Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., showed the Indians and African Americans how to do it. They exposed the evilness of white male dominance in their societies. The evilness of male dominance, legitimized through culture, can be exposed and defeated also. Women must do it.

  7. I as a human being and a Transsexual Woman, support you and your cause.
    I offer my “Crystal Connection’ Website and Blog, in support of your freedom……………!
    Just let me know how I can help……..

    Jamie Lee
    I will post this story on my Blog

  8. Albert George Thomas, MD, MS says:

    Greetings Mariam
    You embody the character and poise of a caring Afghan Citizen who is destined for greatness!
    When the opportunity arises other Patriots will hear your message and support your leadership.

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