WARNING: Graphic images
Photographs of a mutilated Afghan woman who was reportedly abused by her husband have sparked outrage throughout the nation.
Reza Gul, who currently lives in the Ghormach district of the Faryab, was allegedly mutilated by her husband, Mohammad Khan, on Jan. 17. According to The Guardian, Khan reportedly sliced off her nose with a pocket knife, announced a spokesman for the governor of Fayrab.
Although it is unclear what prompted the attack, Khan is believed to have possibly joined the Taliban after recently visiting Iran. After the incident, Khan allegedly escaped to a Taliban-controlled area.
Gul will need reconstructive surgery to repair her nose, which is not possible at the local public hospital.
Slicing off someone’s nose is meant to bring shame in areas of Afghanistan, notes NBC News. This brutal act signifies a lack of honor, and is supposed to demonstrate how the person in question has disgraced his or her family.
“Horrifying cases like this one happen all too often in Afghanistan,” Heather Barr, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, explained to Agence France-Presse. “The level of impunity for violence against women encourages some men to continue to feel that women are their property and violence is their right.”
As Gul’s pictures spread through social media, activists are demanding harsh actions be taken against Khan. Many have also commented on the shame that such actions bring to their country.
"We are the most proud and brave nation on earth?!” Maria Reha, an influential women’s rights activist, sarcastically exclaimed on her Facebook page, reported NBC News. “If you doubt it, here is another example of our bravery! Don't worry, soon America or Europe will make her another nose and Afghanistan will win another trophy for this pride!"
Although the government is working to protect the rights of Afghan women, this has not prevented violent attacks.
“Such a brutal and barbaric act should be strongly condemned,” Alema, a Kabul-based women’s rights activist, told AFP. “Such incidents would not happen if the judicial system severely punished attacks on women.”