Afghan Wives Choose Burning as Escape

They see no other way out. Afghan wives who may be suffering depression or domestic abuse light themselves on fire as a means of suicide or even escape, according to a new article. Cooking oil and matches are easily available, so burnings, or self-immolations, are increasing as another means of violence against women. Burn victims are taken to the Herat burn hospital where they are treated, but not always returned home. Home is where they find poor wages, overwhelming chores, and abusive husbands. The burnings are not always self-inflicted, say doctors at the Herat Hospital, but they can be made to look that way. “We have two women here right now who were burned by their mothers-in-law and husbands,” said Dr. Arif Jalali, the hospital’s senior surgeon. Many of the women think self immolation is an instant form of death. But the most common after-effect of burnings is sepsis, a bacterial infection that “generally starts in the second week after a burn and is hard to stop,” said Dr. Robert Sheridan of Shriners Burn Hospital in Boston.