In Afghanistan, divorces initiated by women are on the rise. While there are no official numbers, some estimate that the number might have grown fivefold over the past decade. Nevertheless, divorced women are still not seen as independently functioning adults and face persistent harassment, from both the government and other citizens. “We are optimistic because now women have come out from behind the house walls and ask their rights, and now they know how to ask their rights and from where,” Judge Rahima Rezaee, a senior family court judge said. However, many have not adapted to this new mindset yet, causing women to face continued social struggles after a divorce, including social stigma, not being helped or taken seriously in government offices, having trouble signing their own leases and having to deal with predatory behavior. “I did not tell anyone about my status — sometimes, I told them my husband is in Iran,” Zahra Yaganah, a 32-year-old activist and writer who has been divorced for about a decade said. “But when people find out that I am divorced — I feel like a divorced woman is up for grabs for the men around her.”
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