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16 Stories in 16 Days |Six| Susan’s Story: Advice From a Young Bride in Afghanistan

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“I am Susan from Badakhshan province but my in-laws are from Ghazni province. I was sixteen when my father got me engaged. I wasn’t happy with this decision but my father said, “this is our decision and you don’t have the right to interfere in it”, so I had to accept my father’s decision. When I got married I didn’t know about married life. My husband and I were from two different cultures so our traditions were different from each other too and I faced many problems. We didn’t even know each other’s dialect. As I wasn’t aware of married life and had no life experiences, I seemed to create problems in the family with every word I was saying. At first my in-laws were supportive, but later on I lost their support as well. Although they were behaving in a good manner towards me…I thought that they were the main culprits for arranging my wedding. When I got pregnant I also lost my first child because of a lack of knowledge about these things.

Now I think while a girl is still a teenager she doesn’t know about the couple’s life and (by getting married) she drops behind many life experiences including education. I wanted to pursue my education and serve my nation, but by getting married I couldn’t reach this wish of mine…

According to my opinion the main culprit for such weddings are families and the preachers who always talk about Islam but they don’t mention about real Islam to the people…When they (and the families) know that the girl is small and that she doesn’t know about life as a couple, why do they make them marry? If they didn’t conduct these marriages, I am sure that the rate of such premature weddings would decrease. When a preacher is brought to make a marriage, why doesn’t he himself ask the girl if she is content with the marriage or not?

My advice is mostly to the religious leaders; they should try not to accept doing such premature weddings and they should prevent such weddings”.

(This interview was taken as part of Equal Access’ Raising Our Voices Together project. Raising Our Voices Together was designed to raise awareness and increase acceptance of women’s rights enshrined in the Afghan constitution; promote the value of women’s participation across all sectors of Afghan society; and increase women’s leadership by providing a national on–air platform featuring women’s voices, ideas and stories).

 

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