How horrifying is it that a rapist can offer to marry a victim. This is a real case scenario, as opposed to my fiction stories,.
Dr Hassina Sarwari, head of Women for Afghan Women group. Photo: Bryan DentonIt was bad enough that the alleged rape took place in the sanctity of a mosque and that the accused man was a mullah who invoked the familiar defense that it had been consensual sex.
But the victim was only 10 years old. And there was more: The authorities said her family members openly planned to carry out an honor killing in the case - against the young girl. The mullah offered to marry his victim instead.
The accused mullah, Mohammad Amin, was arrested and confessed to having sex with the girl after Quran recitation classes at the mosque on May 1, but he claimed that he thought the girl was older and that she responded to his advances.
The girl's own testimony, and medical evidence, supported a rape so violent that it caused a fistula, or a break in the wall between the vagina and rectum, according to the police and the official bill of indictment. She bled so profusely after the attack that she was at one point in danger of losing her life because of a delay in getting medical care.
After the two women's officials began speaking out about the case, they started receiving threatening calls from mullahs - some of them Taliban, others on the government side - and from arbakai, or pro-government militiamen. One of their claims was that the girl was actually 17, and thus of marriageable age, not 10.
Photographs of the girl that Sarwari took in the hospital clearly show a pre-pubescent child, and the doctor said the girl weighed only 40 pounds. Few Afghans have birth records, and many do not know their precise ages. But the girl's mother said she was 10, and a forensic examination in the hospital agreed, saying she had not yet started menstruating or developing secondary sexual characteristics.