In Kabul, Afghanistan, one woman is living a tangled nightmare. After Gulnaz was raped by her cousin’s husband, she—not he—was sent to jail for adultery. The world stood up and protested her imprisonment, and she was pardoned by presidential decree. But as the rest of planet patted itself on the back for triggering the reversal of another cruel ruling, locals in Gulnaz’s conservative community felt disgraced. In a country where death is better than dishonor, Gulnaz felt like she was in a pressure cooker. Her only escape was to marry Asadullah, who now claims he “rescued” Gulnaz from shame. Now she lives in his home with his first wife, who is also her cousin, and his children, which includes their daughter who was born from the rape, ironically named Smile. Gulnaz is also pregnant with her husband’s third child. Her current situation is a reflection of what often happens to uneducated, young women after the global community saves them and shifts its gaze. Gulnaz might have escaped imprisonment behind bars, but she’s still a prisoner.
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