Fatimah, 40, is a mother of five daughters and one son. She lives in Herat province. 

Herat — We were living in Iran and because of that my husband became addicted to Iranian women. He was working as a laborer and he spent all his money for other women. We lived in a rented house owned by a woman with four young daughters. They were bad people but my husband became friends with them.

Many times I talked with him about it. I said, “You are a laborer and we have six children! You should keep your money for your family.”

But he would became angry and hit me. He became like an addict with these women and he could not pay our expenses, so he sent me back to Afghanistan with my children. He still lives in Iran and he does not worry about us. He does not send money. But my son and I are working. I want my children to go to school and make a good future for them.

In Iran there was an opportunity for women to go to school, but my husband did not let me join. He was an angry man. I still see him in my dreams and his bad words still hurt. When I asked him to work, he said to me, “You gave birth to five daughters and now you want me to work for your daughters? They are of no use. I don’t want to spend my life on five daughters. You gave birth to them so you are responsible for feeding them.”

Now I am working in other people’s houses so I can feed my children. Life is hard but I don’t have a choice. I know my problems are because I am uneducated and if I was educated then I could support my life better. But I will never again let my husband do years of violence against me. And I never go to my parents with my problems because they are the ones who created the main problems for my life by preventing me from going to school and marrying me to an uneducated person. I am alone with my problems and I don’t want to have any relationship with them.

By Fatimah as told to Karima