Tradition or illegality? The cultural practices that abuse girls and children-By CRISTIN CAPPELLETTI
Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan carry out socially accepted practices where boys forced to dress up as women are abused and women under 18 are kidnapped in the streets and forced to get marry.
How many women are there in the world today? According to the latest report of the United Nations, today the number of women would be less than that of men . This figure is particularly evident in China and India where the well-known practice of favoring male births and childish feminicides has led to a distinct gap: 106.3 men per 100 women and 107.6 men per 100 women respectively. In fact, Asia is among the continents with the greatest distribution discrepancy between the two sexes .
In fact, there are many discriminatory policies, and the numerous cultural and social practices that continue to see women submitting to patriarchal cultures.
This is the case in Afghanistan , where, despite the expulsion of the Taliban in 2001, women continue to play marginal roles in society , especially in the face of low access to education and fundamental rights. According to the NGO ONE , Afghanistan continues to be among the 10 worst countries in the world to be a girl .
The cultural stereotypes that prioritize male education require two-thirds of Afghan girls to stay home from school. And while the progress of women in society is clearly slowed, almost suppressed by the persistence of old traditions, it is not only women’s emancipation that costs them. Even the young Afghan boys are in spite of themselves at the center of practices that are fruit of mentality difficult to eradicate.
The practice of Bacha – Bazi is perhaps the most emblematic symbol of how female marginalization has led to the emergence of alternative and harmful practices for a fair progress in Afghan society .
The Bacha-bazi , literally ‘play for children’, it is a socially accepted practice in Afghanistan. Male children are forced to dress and put on makeup as women to dance in front of their buyers . In fact, the impossibility for men to approach women, given the cultural constraints that prevent public contacts between the two sexes, meant that adults turned to minors.
The boys are employed for entertainment evenings, and are often victims of unspeakable sexual abuse. The practice, which had been banned during the 5 years of the Taliban government, has returned to being spread in Afghan society like a cancer.
According to a report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, the most affected age phase would be between 13 and 18 years . The victims would come from poor families, whose inability to give their children an education obliges the boys to provide for the maintenance of families. The children, deprived of formal education are among the worst affected: sold by families or kidnapped, are collected from the poorest neighborhoods deluded by the opportunity of a better life.
Since last year the Afghan code recognizes the practice of bacha – bazi as illegal and punishable by capital punishment; nevertheless, the rampant intra-government corruption along with the high diffusion of Bacha-Bazi between rich and Afghan soldiers , has made the arrest of the guilty almost impossible .
To worsen the situation the position of Washington that in this regard remains very silent. According to some investigations conducted by ‘ AFP ‘, and by the ‘ New York Times ‘, the Afghan soldiers, allies of the United States, are among the major culprits. Many American soldiers reported seeing their Afghan counterparts bringing children to military bases ,with the excuse of using them as waiters and servants , only to be raped in their rooms .
Some marines have been specifically instructed not to intervene, even when these episodes were consumed just inside the same American bases.
But if female marginalization and the difficult interactions between men and women in Afghanistan have led to minor children, in other Asian countries women are forcibly married . This is the case of Kyrgyzstan , a small state of Central Asia , where the abduction of brides on the street is still largely widespread . According to UN WOMEN , 12,000 girls each year would be kidnapped and pushed to marry.