Freelance for Getty Images
"Between Life and War: The Struggles of Afghan Women"
For women, the dangers of war go far beyond the violence of combat. In situations of armed conflict, women suffer some of the greatest health and social inequities in the world. Those who are civilian casualties suffer tremendous hardships where they have limited access to proper medical care due to continued violence and a lack of security in their areas. Afghanistan's lack of social development is blamed for the way women are treated, with much of the horror attributed to tradition and religion. A young woman can be sold off to men 3 times their ages to pay off debts, sometimes they can be traded for sheep or even opium. In Taliban infested villages young females are often living without the right to a proper education. They also cope with a variety of atrocities from rape, domestic violence, to forced marriage. The worst case scenario is self-immolation, when women set themselves on fire in an act of utter desperation.
HERAT, AFGHANISTAN - NOVEMBER 17: Fatima,19, lays in her bed with burns over 55% of her body at the Herat Regional hospital Burn unit November 17, 2006 in Herat, Afghanistan. The medical staff at the Herat hospital says that they have registered around 700 self-immolations cases so far this year. Hospital officials say they lack proper salaries for the nurses and doctors and suffer from a lack of medical supplies. A new burn center for the crowded hospital that was suppose to be finished in 2005 is still under construction. Afghan women are in a subordinate position in the society, where conservative Islamic laws and traditions dictate what a woman is allowed to do in a male dominated world. Forced marriages, domestic violence, poverty and lack of access to education are said to be some of the main reasons for the suicides.