Rukhshana

Rokhshana

Rokhshana is known as a young 19-year-old woman from Ghor who was kidnapped and stoned to death in October 2015, however her tragic story doesn’t start nor end there.

Rokhshana was only 10 when her father tried to marry her off. Her fiancé was a much older man and Rokhshana refused to accept her family’s decision and eloped with a boy of her age. Shortly after their escape, local security forces arrested Rokhshana and her companion and handed them over to their parents.

Years passed with Rokhshana facing taunts and threats at home. She was told she had brought shame to the family. When Rokhshana was 19, her father tried to force her to marry another older man. Persistent not to give up her freedom to choose, Rokhshana ran off with another man, Gull Mohammad, to Murghab district.

This time a local Taleban commander known as Mullah Yousuf captured Rokhshana. The Taleban demanded a hefty ransom from Rokhshana’s family. When the family failed to pay, the Taleban ordered her stoning for “adultery.”

The Taleban called Rokhshana’s father to attend her public execution in a village only 40 kilometers from the government-controlled provincial capital. After the stoning of Rokhshana, a video emerged showing a dozen men hurling stones at her body placed inside a hole, as she screams for help and mercy and a larger group of men watch.

More than four years have passed since the brutal stoning and murder of Rokhshana and there have been no successful attempts at securing justice for her despite the fact that such impunity paves the way for further violence against women. The stones and memories of that day may fade without the world ever hearing Rokhshana’s story, learning about her dreams and wishes, and recognizing the rebellious, resilient, and human spirit that drove her to running away from forced marriages, not once, but twice, even at the cost of death.

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