Fawzia (not her real name) is eighteen. One of Helmand’s 13 police women found her wandering the streets, dragging the shackle by which her sister-in-law had chained her to the wall. Fawzia had dared to leave her brother’s house because of the violence and abuse by the married couple. Some months later she was back, imprisoned, chained, hair shorn off and beaten. Somehow she managed to escape again. When we met, her concerns were that she would be considered ‘mad’ and that she must not return to her brother’s house. Was she downtrodden and defeated? No. She had literally dragged herself away from the violence and broken her chains.
We couldn’t find her a safe place to go. So now she’s in prison. The brother is not. Nor is the sister-in-law. The only solution to her situation is for someone to find her a ‘good’ husband. I’m trying to get her out and moved away from the area. Where will she go? There is one safe house for women in Afghanistan and it’s in Kabul. I’m trying to get her there.