Anargul, "Self-immolation is the worst"

Attempts to set oneself on fire (self-immolation) are an extreme reaction often practiced by desperate women who lack access to justice and protection.

Anargul, 25, set herself ablaze in Herat Province, western Afghanistan, in a bid to end her misery, and ended up with burns to her chest, belly, neck, hands and face. She told IRIN about her ordeal and why her attempted suicide has worsened her plight.

“I lost my father when I was a child and my elder brother married me off at the age of 14 to a man I had never seen before.

“My husband started beating me right from the first days of our marriage. He used to beat me using sticks or wire, and punched and kicked me. He always insulted me.

“I am not a bad woman. I respect him more than my mother and I never quarrelled with him.

“One day after he insulted me very badly in front of my brother’s wife, I felt so degraded that I lost my mind… so I went to the kitchen and poured fuel from an oil lamp over my body and struck a match.

“The pain was intolerable so I started screaming. Family members put out the fire. I regained consciousness in the hospital where I found only my mother crying next to me.

“The attempt at self-immolation worsened my life. It neither ended my suffering nor softened the heart of my husband.

“Self-immolation is the worst… I hope other women do not try it.”