This article from The New York Times was reprinted in my local newspaper. In Afghanistan, a mullah who raped a 10-year-old girl in the mosque was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Most Americans would agree that anybody who rapes a child is a horrific criminal for whom 20 years is a light sentence, would be especially disgusted by such behavior from a religious leader, and would rally around the girl as an innocent victim.
This girl’s family considered murdering her to protect the family honor. This girl has been raised in a culture in which that is traditional.
But when the mullah spoke in his own defense and claimed she had seduced him, the girl stopped sobbing and pulled aside her veil enough to speak directly to him. “Hey liar, hey liar,” she said. “God hate you, you are dirt, you are dirt, you are a vampire.”
Can you imagine the courage that took?
I used to be a Girl Scout leader. When one of my girls was ten, her dad took her to an all-ages concert in a bar, where, she said, “a man, or maybe like a really old teenager, like in college” leaned over her saying she was pretty and asking for her phone number. She did not know what to do. Her father grabbed the guy by the collar and said, “Hey, leave my daughter alone! She’s only TEN! YEARS! OLD! Idiot.” That is the kind of treatment men who hit on preteen girls deserve, and men who rape preteen girls… Dirt. Vampires. It breaks my heart that this girl had to speak up for herself, but I am so very glad that she did.
This girl’s courage, and the courage of all those who are helping to bring the rapist to justice, will help to make Afghanistan a safer place for girls and women, who have been treated so badly for so long. That’s something that is working in our world. Visit Works-for-Me Wednesday to read about many other things that are working.