It’s cold and raining in Kabul and the pothole-filled dirt roads have turned into a sea of mud. We drive up to the gateway of a high-walled compound. A soldier brandishing an AK-47 stands guard outside the building. We’ve come to a women’s shelter to meet Gul Meena — a 17-year-old girl from Pakistan who shouldn’t be alive.
My crew and I are ushered into a room and sitting on a wooden chair slouched over is small, fragile Gul Meena. Her sullen eyes turn from the raindrops streaming down the window outside and towards us as we enter the room.
Gul’s bright coloured headscarf is embroidered with blue, red and green flowers and covers most of her face. She nervously plays with it and gives us a glimpse of a frightened smile from underneath the fabric. Her guardian Anisa, from the shelter run by Women for Afghan Women, touches her head and gently moves the headscarf back. That’s when we see the scars etched deeply into her face.
This Pakistani girl’s life of misery and suffering began at the tender age of 12, when instead of going to school she was married to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She says: “My family married me off when I was 12 years old. My husband was 60. Every day he would beat me. I would cry and beg him stop. But he just kept on beating me.”
- Stop Abuse Of Women (marvaseaton.wordpress.com)
- After Forced To Marry 60 Year Old Man at Age 12, Pakistani Girl Escapes Beatings Only To Be Attacked With Axe By Her Own Brother (jonathanturley.org)