In Their Own Words

Feb 28, 2011

“I know that only with a storm of knowledge and wisdom can we escape from violence. Only after we bring a change in our lives, can we save the lives of others… I don’t write to you only because you are the secretary of state of the United States of America. I write to you because you are a woman.... Inside my heart, there is a war, and it is part of the same war that your country began fighting here after 11 September 2001. Although my life has been as a thunderstorm without end, I want my freedom, and I trust my courage and strength. With hopeful hands, I write; with worried legs, I walk to try to find a new tomorrow and, with my arms, to dig a grave to bury the violence against the women of my country. I love the people of your country, but I don’t think enough has been done by your government to secure freedom for Afghan women. As long as stories of cruelty against Afghan women remain in newspaper headlines, we can’t stop. We can’t be satisfied.”
-- Samira, “What’s Your Advice for Afghan Women, Hillary Clinton?,” London Guardian, February 5, 2010, The Afghan Women’s Writing Project began in May 2009 with the goal of nurturing the often-silenced voices of Afghan women. This article is a call to the U.S. government from one of the first writers to join the project.

“Even abused women, if they are undocumented, will often be punished with deportation and imprisonment if they go to the police for help. Where it is in the public interest to remove criminals and dangerous individuals, we should do so – and we are. But the public interest is also best served when we protect abused women and help children lead healthy lives. When Congress reauthorizes VAWA later this year, maintaining legal protections for battered immigrant women needs to be a priority… Abusive relationships are not a political issue – they’re a public health and human rights issue. Making sure women don’t have to suffer beatings in silence, whatever their immigration status, has to be a priority. No one deserves to be beaten. No child deserves to grow up in an abusive environment. Whatever other laws may apply to a family’s situation, VAWA must ensure that abuse cannot continue in silence.”
--U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), “Immigrants Need the Violence Against Women Act – Let’s Stop Blaming the Victim,” Huffington Post, February 12, 2011