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Afghan woman sets husband on fire for failing to protect her from rapist

By Dustin M Braden- 28 May '14 12:14PM
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  • Afghan women
  • (Photo : Wikimedia commons) An Afghan woman set her husband on fire for failing to take action after she was raped in their rural community.

An Afghan woman set her husband on fire for failing to take action after she was raped in their rural community.

The New York Times reports that the rape took place in the home of an Afghani woman named Zahra on Friday, May 23 while her husband, Najibullah, was away at work. The attacker was a neighbor.

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When Zahra's husband returned to the house, Zahra asked him to relocate the family so that she would not have to see her tormentor and relive the experience. She was also afraid that she would be attacked again because her attacker knew that he would face no consequences.

On Sunday afternoon Zahra grabbed a bottle of kerosene, doused Najibullah in the liquid, and struck a match.

Najibullah was rushed to a local hospital, where he is currently recovering from his injuries. Although he has not been fully interviewed by the police because of his injuries, the Times reports he has said he believes his wife is mentally ill and this is the cause of the attack.

Zahra said the refusal of her husband to protect her from her rapist was the last straw in a relationship defined by abuse that included Najibullah setting her on fire in an effort to induce a miscarriage.

The Times reports this is just one incident in a series that reveals the ways protections for women introduced by the American military after the Afghanistan invasion have changed what protections women expect of the law.

In one incident, the parents of a 13-year-old girl are accused of mutilating a mullah by cutting off his ears and nose. The parents have alleged the mullah was sexually assaulting their child.

Zahra herself seems to epitomize this shift in expectations. As she gave her confession to Afghani police, a woman barged into the room, asking the female police officer administering the interrogation for protection from her husband who had just attacked her with bricks for the third time. 

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