Bebe Gul, 44, is a school security guard in Mazar-e-Sharif. She attended school through 8th grade. Here is her story.

Mazar-e-Sharif — For me, gender violence means doing bad things to your wife, beating her, not letting her go out of the house. It is a custom in Afghan families. In our family, my husband gives more freedom to my sons. And in the past when I was young my father did not let me continue my studies, but he let my brothers continue.

I can never forget that. I was the witness to gender violence in my father’s family when my father let all my brothers finish their school and then university, but he did not let me and my sisters continue our studies.

I get in a panic sometimes. I really feel sorry for being an Afghan woman. In our own country gender violence is increasing, although the government is trying to control it and stop violence. But they cannot and the reason is that our country and people are traditional. In the past when I was in my father’s house, my sister’s rights and mine were taken away and in my marriage I have the same problem.

I am still confused about how to struggle against it. I think I cannot do it alone. The government should do more announcements in the media about women’s rights and about how bad it is to have violence in a family. They should encourage men to be good with their daughters and wife and talk about how to stop gender violence.

I am not the right person or the best person to stop it. The government knows better about the solutions. But as an Afghan woman I wish to see equality in my country and happiness on the face of each woman. My message to other women is to fight to stop gender violence in our society and never give up.

By Bebe Gul, as told to Humaira G.

Bebe Gul was interviewed for AWWP’s Oral Story Project on Gender Violence 2014.