Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, June 20, 2008

Self immolation seen by some Iraqi women as the only escape

Darun Mohammed (a pseudonym) wishes she had set herself on fire at 15, when she was forced into an arranged marriage with an abusive man. In a poignant interview published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Mohammed describes her tortured life as a victim of domestic abuse. Her jealous husband refused to let her continue her education or leave the house alone, and blamed her for having daughters instead of sons.

She recalls the moment when she could no longer bear the abuse.

“With tears pouring from my eyes, I grabbed a gallon of kerosene with my left hand and poured it over myself, from the top of my head to my toes. When all of my clothes and body were soaked, I put the container aside, closed my eyes, flicked the lighter and placed it on my chest. All of a sudden, my body was on fire. I rushed out of the bathroom, screaming for help. In a minute, everything went black.”

Mohammed woke up several days later in a hospital burn unit. She has moved to a shelter in Sulaimaniyah, and she laments, “There are hundreds of women who have similar stories to mine, and it is just sad that no one is coming to their defence.”

For the full story, click here.


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