After a father was arrested for the brutal rape of his own daughter, police made a second horrific discovery that was even sicker than the first.
In Afghanistan, women have struggled under a tyrannical regime that limits their rights and suppresses their very existence. Unfortunately, because of this systematic discrimination, abuses against women are often overlooked, even by the people closest to them.
When a young girl confided in family members that she was being sexually abused by her father, they callously ignored her desperate pleas for help, even going as far as to blame her for the abuse. Disturbingly, it took something far worse happening for the girl to finally bring attention to her father’s sinister perversion.
After 10 years of unimaginable sexual abuse, a young woman is finally getting a taste of justice. In an Afghan court, 23-year-old Khatera was able to testify against her own father, a feat that many women are too fearful or legally prevented from doing. However, for Khatera, not only did she have to relive her horrific sexual abuse before the court, she had to prove that her father was guilty. Fortunately, she had irrefutable evidence to back up her allegations.
According to the BBC, Khatera managed to convince the court that her father had subjected her to 10 years of rape after DNA evidence proved that her own father impregnated her twice, forcing her to bear his children. Unfortunately born out of incest, Khatera’s children provided more than enough evidence needed to convict the man and earn him the death penalty.
“This is my daughter and my father’s daughter,” she said. “She is the result of my father raping me. We are both mother and daughter and sisters at the same time.”
Khatera painted a heartbreaking story of a childhood filled with abuse and neglect. Not only was she relentlessly molested by her father, but the then 12-year-old girl was also chastised and blamed by her grandmother, in whom she confided.
“I was expecting that my father will love me the way my uncles love their children because I was thirsty for a dad’s love during all the years I was deprived of him,” she says. “But when I found myself in my father’s arms it was too much. I went to my grandmother and complained but she blamed me. I was told that every father caresses his children.”
Although he forced her to take contraceptives without her knowledge, Khatera became pregnant by her father, who quickly moved the family to another province in order to keep his secret. Once she gave birth, her father whisked away the baby, never allowing Khatera to see her child.
Khatera later gave birth for a second time, refusing to let her baby be aborted or taken from her. It was the birth of this child that helped her escape her abuser and put him away for good.
“When I became pregnant again, I kept the baby and didn’t abort my child,” she said. “I kept it to have proof for my claims against my father – my child was my only evidence. The judge questioned me, asking why I didn’t kill the baby that was in my belly? I answered that if I killed the child I could be accused of aborting it because the father was another person. I kept my child to prove I have a case against my father.”
Thankfully, Khatera’s father was arrested, tried, and convicted of his heinous crimes. He was ultimately sentenced to death but has appealed this ruling. Although Khatera has peace of mind knowing that her father can never hurt her again, she worries for her children’s future. Still, she remains an example of courage and strength, especially for the women of Afghanistan.