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In the three years from 2011 to 2013, the Department of Human Rights recorded about 160 cases of murder or assault against women and in the majority of these cases the women were killed after an assault, often by their own families.

One of these victims was a girl named Sitara. She was an eleventh grade student at Rabia-e Balkhi high school in Kabul.

Some days ago when I went to meet friends in the twelfth grade a group of girls were talking about what happened.

One girl, Farida, said, “When I was in eleventh grade, I had a friend named Sitara. She was first position holder and such a funny girl. One day when she entered the class, she was upset, and at the end of the class, she started to cry. After that day, she was acting strange, biting herself and crying.”

Farida told us that nobody knew then what had happened to Sitara because she did not talk to anyone, not even to her mother. Her father took her to the doctor, but that didn’t help so the family took her to some psychologists. She did not say anything about what happened to her the first day but on the second day she started to talk and finally she told them everything.

When she was on her way to school that day some boys had assaulted Sitara. She could not tell her parents because she was scared her parents would kill her.

Farida said that Sitara felt better after she told everything to the psychologists, but her parents still did not know what had happened to her. When they found out, they would not allow her to come back to school.

“I tried hard to find out where she was,” Farida said.

“Some days later, I found out that Sitara and her family went back to their province, and they killed her. The police arrested the murderer, but released him very soon.”

This is not the first case of a girl where this has happened. Even though it is recorded in the Department of Human Rights, I am afraid it will not be the last case.

By Arifa, age 14