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NEW YORK — Self-immolation committed by a large number of Afghan women is one of the most tragic responses to gender violence in that country.

Aside from the horror of dying, surviving this act makes victims unfit for a normal life. They are often permanently maimed, disfigured and shunned by their communities. Unless current laws regarding the protection of women are implemented in full, the consequences of gender violence will continue to exact a punishing effect on women’s lives in Afghanistan. Self-immolation is perceived as the only response available to some women who want to escape domestic abuse, forced marriage or other misogynistic social customs.

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