Activists in Herat said they are concerned about an increase in violence against women and call for increased awareness of women’s suffering and women’s rights.
Figures by the province’s directorate of women’s affairs office show that violence against women has increased by 21 percent since last year. The figures include cases of murder, suicide, sexual abuse and beating.
“We recorded 801 cases of violence (against women) this year and 98 percent of the cases were addressed by judicial institutions,” Herat Women’s Affairs Director Anisa Sarwari said.
But according to Herat’s economy directorate, this year, at least $12 million has been invested in women-related programs by 30 institutions:
“The projects involved capacity building, awareness of women’s rights, access to justice and economic empowerment,” chairperson of Economy Directorate, Nahid Rahmati, said.
But activists and women’s rights institutions doubt the effectiveness of the investments in women-related programs.
“The programs have not been helpful in reducing violence against women. This is because they have not researched the realities of the society and they don’t make plans based on reality; instead they implement projects based on the policies of donors,” said Sakina Husaini, a member of the Herat Provincial Council and a women’s rights activist.
Hafiza Azimi, another women affairs activist also blamed women's support organization and said, “if we want to investigate these organization`s activity, they are not successful in their duty.” She said: “If we evaluate the projects, we find that they have not played the expected role of raising awareness for women’s rights.”
Recently a study released by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) claimed that reported violence against women in the country has increased 8 percent this year, with 2,762 cases.
The report, which was made public at a gathering in Kabul on Saturday, compares 2,536 cases of violence against women over seven months of the last solar year—March 2018 to September 2018–with 2,762 cases from the same period this year.
According to the report, 123 of the cases allege sexual violence, and this a one percent increase from the same period last year. Moreover, 485 cases are “economically-related violence,” which is a 14 percent increase from last year.
Also, 1,400 of these cases are identified as acts of verbal or psychological abuse, which is a 37 percent increase compared with the same period in 2018.