Note: Dari version of this article was published on 15 April 2021
By Fariba Hasani
After four days of hesitation, I summoned my courage and watched the saddening scene of a woman being whipped, reportedly taken place in the Oba district of Herat province. The video has been circulated on social media for several days. In reaction, some men have shared a laugh on their social media. This was horror and violence that technology enabled its circulate across Afghanistan.
In the two-minute video, I saw a woman who seemed to be brought by her father in the middle of a crowd of male spectators. She was being lashed by two-armed men who were taking a turn to whip her.
The screams and wailing of the woman present a tormenting scene. A ridiculous scene as if the men were purifying her by whipping her; purifying her from a sin that is based on the beliefs and traditions of a male-dominated society. And if she has committed a crime, where is her accomplice? Why should only women pay the price?
The scene from the video is disturbing to everyone. It shows the whipping of a woman whose body is covered by a burqa and no one is helping her. She was writhing in pain but was forced to endure the lashes. Her screams mean it is enough, I regret it. Regret what? Being a woman.
It can be clearly seen in the video that the men who whip the woman are inspired by extremism. These men fearlessly misuse the name of religion and Sharia to avoid taking responsibility for their acts. A crime that is committed against women is often justified by tradition and religion. Men’s control of women is one of the traditions that has been justified by religion.
The woman’s identity and details of why she has been subjected to this harsh treatment have not been disclosed. The story is not about the reason why the woman was whipped or why a helpless woman was surrounded by men who claim to be Muslims and why she was lashed in from of their eyes and they did not help her. The question is, why do the officials ignore such crimes? Is the government incapable of preventing such horrific incidents? Or it is because women’s murders do not count?
When those men, who can only show their masculinity by violence are using technology to further propagate violence against women, the questions to be asked are: why the government does not track them down and interrogate them? Why such horrific acts do not receive public condemnation? Why do people are silent against such violence?
The local officials in Herat province promised to investigate the incident. However, there is no guarantee that they would do it. Will this incident be forgotten by officials? as it is disappearing from the public domain and memories? These are the questions that the passing of time will answer.