Brave Aesha unveils her new face as she urges abused women to ‘never give up’
“I want to tell all women who are suffering abuse to be strong. Never give up and don’t lose hope.”
By Rebecca Lewis | Yahoo! News – Tue, Feb 26, 2013
Three years ago her mutilated face became a powerful image that shocked the world and put a tragic face to the plight of Afghan women.
Aesha’s husband inflicted the punishment on her (AP)
But now the brave 23-year-old has unveiled for the first time the results of the reconstructive surgery to rebuild her face.
Aesha’s ordeal started when she was just eight years old.
Her father had promised her hand in marriage to another family in order to settle a dispute between the rival families – a practice called “Baad”.
At the age of sixteen she was handed over to her husband’s father and 10 brothers, who she claims were members of the Taliban. She would not meet her husband for another two years – he was fighting in Pakistan.
Talking to ITV’s Daybreak this morning Aesha said: “Every day I was abused by my husband and his family. Mentally and physically. Then one day it became unbearable so I ran away.”
Although running away in Afghanistan is not a crime, in many areas of the country it is treated as such if the runaway is a woman.
The punishment she received from the authorities was cruel and harsh, but it would not compare to the punishment she received from her family and the Taliban court.
She said: “[The police] caught me and put me in jail for five months. When I came out the judge sent me back to my husband.”
Her family took her to a Taliban court where they decreed she be mutilated as punishment.
“That night they took me to the mountains,” she continued. “They tied my hands and my feet. They said my punishment was to cut my nose and ears. And then they started to do it.”
That night was the first time she met her husband. He was the one who inflicted the torture on her and left her to die in the Oruzgan mountains.
Rescued from Afghanistan by a charity, Aesha now lives happily in America with a new family.
Aesha Mohammadzai, 23, now lives in America with a new family (Dan MartlandITV)
According to a 2012 report by Human Rights Watch, 87% of women face physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage in their lifetime.
Aesha is just one of those women who suffers in the war-torn country.
But despite her harrowing past the reconstructive surgery is the start of a new life.
She told Daybreak: “I want to tell all women who are suffering abuse to be strong. Never give up and don’t lose hope.”
Aesha and her American family. Aesha’s story is just one example of the violence suffered by women in Afghanistan …