Butterfly palace

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

Yesterday the group exhibition ‘Recht en Architectuur’ (Law and Architecture) by 11 press photographers from VVJ Antwerpen opened in the Justice Department also known as the Butterfly palace here in Antwerp. They are up until the 27th of February during opening hours. Bolivarplaats, Antwerpen.

I chose to submit my work on Women in Afghanistan as I felt fighting for women’s rights and fighting against injustice there was fitting for the theme.  Yesterday again showed how important it is to continue telling the world about their situation as a new law is about to be passed which will strip women of rights even further. President Karzai is about to sign a law, already passed by parliament,  that would prohibit the questioning of relatives of an accused perpetrator of a crime, effectively eliminating victim testimony in cases like domestic violence.

The statistics really are mind boggling…

Global Rights found that 87% of Afghan women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime; 62% experience multiple forms of violence, including forced marriage and sexual violence. Most of this violence happens within the family, so you can just start to image what this law would mean…

'My troubles started the year my father died. I was six years old'. Rehan (not her real name) ran away from home after her uncle tried to force her to marry his son. After an initial mediation session and the promise the engagement was off, she returned home and was locked up and beaten and about to married of to her cousin yet again. She was able to escape, annule the engagement and now lives in a safehouse run by human rights organization Women for Afghan Women that help in situations like hers. Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012. © Wendy Marijnissen

‘My troubles started the year my father died. I was six years old’. Rehan (not her real name) ran away from home after her uncle tried to force her to marry his son. After an initial mediation session and the promise the engagement was off, she returned home and was locked up and beaten and about to married of to her cousin yet again. She was able to escape, annule the engagement and now lives in a safehouse run by human rights organization Women for Afghan Women that help in situations like hers. Kabul, Afghanistan, 2012.
© Wendy Marijnissen

Girls like Rehan (not her real name) who I met in a shelter of Women for Afghan Women will be robbed of justice and won’t get any opportunity to testify against their perpetrators. In a country like Afghanistan it already takes a huge amount of power and courage to take the decision to leave everyone and everything behind to get to safety. It’s a huge deal to decide to take action against domestic abuse and rape.

As prosecutions would be nearly impossible it’s very likely that women will stop coming forward. In a time when slowly slowly they are getting educated and becoming aware of their rights, the passing of this law would mean an enormous step back for women and women’s rights. I can only imagine the situation worsening once the International forces will leave…

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2 thoughts on “Butterfly palace

  1. Walter says:

    Your work stood out amongst the others.

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