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Naseema's Story: The Price of Her Courage

Posted on: Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keywords: Afghanistan, Asia, Combating Violence Against Women, Women's Health, Profile

Naseema knew full well what her husband was capable of—and still she chose to report him to the authorities for murder.  Now, her life is in constant danger, as her husband tries to track her down, and her only hope is to escape her home country of Afghanistan.

Three years ago, Naseema’s husband owed money, and a female loan officer was sent to collect his dues.  As Naseema looked on, her husband killed this woman and dumped her body in a well.

Naseema feared for her life, but she could not forget what she had seen.  She knew she

*Photo blurred for her protection.  

* Picture blurred for her protection.

could not remain silent and allow herself and her three children to continue to live with this man.  She gathered her courage and went to the police, who found the body and arrested her husband.  

In an instant, Naseema’s life was changed.  

Her husband was given a long prison sentence, but with his connections to criminal groups outside the prison walls, Naseema knew that he could still reach her.  She fled with her children to one of Afghanistan’s few women’s shelters, but her husband made threatening calls to her.  The danger escalated, and one year ago the shelter pushed her out, telling her it was too risky to continue to house her.

Arriving at another shelter, the threatening phone calls continued.  Her husband left a veiled message that Naseema should see what had happened in her father’s home—when one of the shelter’s case workers went to investigate, she found that Naseema’s sister had been shot.

Two months ago, Naseema’s husband escaped from prison.  In a desperate attempt to keep her and her children safe, she moved to a shelter in Kabul, a larger city where she might go unnoticed.  

But in early November, he found her, appearing at the doors of the shelter in Kabul.  

Naseema and her children must leave the country.  For her courageous act, she has been tracked relentlessly by her husband, and she is no longer safe in Kabul.  She must travel to Pakistan to contact the UN High Commission for Refugees and set up a new life for herself and her children.  

MADRE created the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund to provide shelter, secret transport and other life-saving necessities to women threatened for daring to speak out.  Give now to the Afghan Women’s Survival Fund to help pay for Naseema’s safe passage out of Afghanistan and to help her begin again.



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