By HELEN LAWSON
• Gul Meena was forced to marry a 60-year-old man at the age of 12
• After five years, she met a boy and fled Pakistan for Afghanistan with him
• But her brother tracked them down, killed her boyfriend and left her for dead
A 17-year-old girl whose brother tried to murder her in an ‘honour killing’ said she wishes she had died after surviving an axe attack, disowned by her family for escaping a forced marriage.
At the age of 12, Gul Meena was married off to a 60-year-old man instead of being sent to school in Pakistan.
Every day he would hit her. She would beg him to stop but he carried on, ignoring her tears.
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Gul Meena shows the scars left by her brother after he struck her 15 times with an axe, trying to carry out an ‘honour killing’
Gul has been taken in by a women’s shelter in Afghanistan, where she arrived unable to feed herself
‘My family would hit me when I complained,’ she told CNN. ‘They told me you belong in your husband’s house – that is your life.’
In November last year, Gul packed a bag and ran away from her husband with a young Afghan man.
‘I’d tried to kill myself with poison several times but it didn’t work,’ she said. ‘I hated my life and I had to escape.
‘When I ran away I knew it would be dangerous. I knew my husband and family would be looking for me but I never thought this would happen. I thought my future would be bright.’
After five years of marriage she escaped to Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
But within days, her brother had found the couple.
He hacked her boyfriend to death with an axe, and hit her 15 times with the weapon.
Gul Meena’s brother thought he had killed her but surgeons were able to save her life
He fled back to their family thinking he had killed his sister, having left her lying in a pool of blood on her bed with part of her brain hanging out of her split skull.
Surgeons at the Nangarhar Regional Medical Centre saved her life despite losing so much blood.
But Gul had been disowned by her family and Pakistani authorities did not want to support her in those circumstances, reports CNN.
Doctors at the hospital paid for her medicine for two months before the charity Women for Afghan Women took her to a shelter in Kabul.
Manizha Naderi, the charity’s executive director, told the channel that Gul could not feed herself and had to wear a diaper.
Now living in a women’s shelter, Gul told CNN she wishes she had died that day
She said that she was fearful for what would happen to the Aghan women in the country’s 14 refuge shelters when international forces pull out next year and take their funding with them.
Gul told CNN: ‘I’ve tried to kill myself several times since arriving at the shelter but they won’t let me. When I look at the mirror I put one hand to the side of my face. People tell me not to do that… but I’m so ashamed.’
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