The horrors of honor killings continues. Late last year a seventeen year old Pakistan girl miraculously cheated death. Her attacker was her own brother. Gul Meena life of misery began at the age of twelve when she was married off to a man old enough to be her grandfather.
She says, “My husband was sixty. Everyday he would beat me. I would cry and beg him to stop, but he kept on beating me.” Her family was not very supportive. “My family would hit me when I complain,” she said. “They told me you belong in your husband’s house, it is your life.
After five years of abusive Gul Meena met a young Afghan man and finally found the courage to leave her abusive husband in Pakistan. In November 2012 she packed some of her things and they made their was across the border to the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan. She knew what she was doing was dangerous. Running away from her husband with another man was committing the ultimate sin. But she was tired of the life she was living.
“I tried to kill myself with poison several times but it didn’t work,” she said. “I hated my life. I had to escape.
Days later her older brother tracked them down. Using an ax he hacked to death Gul Meena’s friend and then struck her fifteen times cutting open her face head and other parts of her body. Believing that she was dead he escaped back to Pakistan. The authorities are yet to catch him and his family denies that he tried to kill his sister.
Passersby hearing the commotion discovered Gul lying in a pool of blood in bed and rushed her to the Emergency Department of Nangarhar Regional Medical Centre. Part of her brain was hanging out of her skull. Neurosurgeon Zamiruddin Khalid held out little hope that she would survive. She had lost a lot of blood and her injuries were horrific. But by some act of God she defeated death and survived.
Even then her troubles were not over; she had received life-saving treatment from doctors and staff at the hospital but she had no one to care for her on the outside. Gul had been disowned by her family and despite the government and authorities knowing that she was alive and receiving care at the hospital, they wanted nothing to do with her due to the stigma and circumstances surrounding her attack.
She stayed in the hospital for two months thanks to the generosity of doctors who donated money to pay for her medicine. Finally the organization Women for Afghan women were informed of her situation. They took her in, transporting her back to a shelter in Kabul to give her the love and care she so badly needed.
Gul Meena is one of the thousands of women living in shelters across Afghanistan. Many of them are victims of attempted honor killings.