In the New York Times article “For Afghan Wives, a Desperate, Fiery Way Out”, is a heart wrenching story about the actions of Afghan women based on a life of mistreatment at the hands of theirs husband and in-laws.
In Afghanistan women are seen as inferior, they live a life of poverty under the authority of their husband and his relatives and are frequently victims of not only physical, but mental and emotional abuse. “The choices for Afghan women are extraordinarily restricted: Their family is their fate. There is little chance for education, little choice about who a woman marries no choice at all about her role in her own house. Her primary job is to serve her husband’s family.”(NYT11/07/10)
Since divorce is not an option for any woman in Afghanistan many feel that the best way out of their terrible predicament is a permanent one. The way in which these women chose to take their own lives is not quick and painless however and doesn’t always get the job done. Since these women do not have the means to such other methods one might see as “easier” such as a quick bullet to the head or jumping from a high building, hopefully dying in midair, they use tools that they can easily access such as matches and gasoline.
Lighting oneself on fire is a form of suicide called self-immolation and has become common among Afghan women many of whose bodies burn only for them to survive and be left with a lifetime of physical as well as emotional scars. The thought that a woman would go to such great lengths to escape her current situation shows just how horrific her life must really be and it is extremely sad to see the depression these women feel because of their husbands, knowing that they will never been seen as equal.
I have not heard of any cases of women in China committing suicide due to any form of abuse but similar to the women of Afghanistan, they are also inferior to men and do not share similar roles. This shift in power begins at the early stages of life and is expressed in The Book of Songs. “So he bears a son And puts him to sleep upon a bed,…Then he bears a daughter and puts her upon the ground,…” (A.1040). This shows just how early in a woman’s life she becomes submissive to a man and just like the women of Afghanistan, this role is set for life.