87% of Afghan women endure domestic abuse & violence. Is that right? To those of you who actually muttered an internal “So what, who cares?” …Can you actually feel good about yourself that you simply shrug it off as something that isn’t your problem because it’s an issue from another country, another culture? You should be ashamed of yourself for being so unconcerned about another human being’s plight. Ignorance is only a good excuse once.
Earlier this evening, I accompanied the BFF to her exclusive oe-on-one interview with Wenny Kusuma, Country Director of UNIFEM Afghanistan. UNIFEM stands for the United Nations Development Fund for Women. And it’s passionate people like Wenny who are doing great things in places like Afghanistan and Cambodia.
Like Somaly Mam, another one of my heroes, Wenny Kusuma receives death threats too on a daily basis. Chilling phone calls from angry men who inform her and her team that they’ve got a gun trained on one of their teammate’s head and they’ve followed her back to where she lived. Also they’ve noted that she’s been alone at home for 20 minutes and they will kill her if Wenny and her team did not give in to their demands.
Barbaric. Cruel. But very real. This is life, not a movie.
As you saw in the video above, the situation for women in Afghanistan is a frightful one. They are second rate citizens and are treated unequally – imagine your husband, brother and son trying to electrocute you to death because of a suspected affair. It’s horrible.
Some women have even set themselves on fire to escape the harsh cruelties of their life, which saw them abused every day. Physically. Sexually. Mentally. What do you have left, if your body, mind and spirit is broken?
That is why Wenny and her team are tirelessly working to help these women. And educate the men and boys. Of course there will be brutes who think the UN is poking their noses in too much and “westernizing” their women who should continue to be their “slaves”, hence the death threats to Wenny and her team.
My stomach lurched when Wenny gravely shared that some of her colleagues have lost their lives, in this battle for the greater good. Which reminded me of one of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Wenny’s interview with the BFF on 938LIVE is scheduled for 17 Aug but stay tuned on their website for more details. Meanwhile, here’s some pictures of Wenny Kusuma with us, discussing the problem of domestic violence against Afghan women at her hotel.
If you’d like to get in touch with Wenny Kusuma and her team, click here 🙂 Also feel free to check out http://afghanistan.unifem.org/ There’s many ways to help and UNIFEM would definitely appreciate any form of assistance.
Help spread the word – Knowledge is Power!