It’s already a long time I now and then return to the same topic – the abuse and violence against women. Working for years in Armenia on the same topic I have gained much experience and it may seem to you that you are ready to listen to such stories more or less with a cold heart. But it is not possible to listen to such stories without tears. Years ago one of my friends told me in a conversation that in Tajikistan women got divorced even through sms. How come? I jumped on my feet. Years passed after that, and those women never left my mind. Our problems are the same. There too, as in Armenia, men go to work abroad, marry and stay in Russia, and very often divorce their wives through an sms, if those are just religious marriages. But lately, the law prohibits those kind of divorces, but those, nevertheless, exist. I passed almost a month in Tajikistan.

I have known the country since my childhood, I have known the people, so that I was feeling as a fish in water there. But the stories of the women did not comply easily. I didn’t wait, though, that I would go and start shooting easily. If not the meeting with an acquaintance, the coil wouldn’t even open up.

 


After getting divorced by phone Shahnoza brought her dowry back to her parents’ house. In Tajik families it’s very important to give dowry to their daughters when they get married.

 


The portrait of Kodirova Savrigul.
Savrigul got divorced 17 years ago, being a mother of four. When she decided to stop breastfeeding of her fourth child and tried to give the child different food, the child coughed one time and her husband noticed that. He said that she aimed to kill their child. They argued, and she had to leave her husband. After the children were grown already, he took all four children to live with him. “I miss them every minute, every moment” she tells. Recently she met one of her sons by chance, who argued with her and hit her. Savrigul earns money by cotton gathering. She is the second wife of a man from the village, but she lives alone.

 


After Dogarzonova Sanovbar got married, everything was going well until her husband went to Russia to earn money. One day Sanovbar’s husband called her and divorced her by phone. After the first marriage, Sanovbar remarried to a man who had two ex-wives, making her the third wife of her second husband. They lived together for a while before she got pregnant. After giving a birth to her son, her husband divorced her. Sanovbar is now raising her son by herself.

 


The portrait of Kodirova Savrigul. Savrigul got divorced 17 years ago, being a mother of four. When she decided to stop breastfeeding of her fourth child and tried to give the child different food, the child coughed one time and her husband noticed that. He said that she aimed to kill their child. They argued, and she had to leave her husband. After the children were grown already, he took all four children to live with him. “I miss them every minute, every moment” she tells. Recently she met one of her sons by chance, who argued with her and hit her. Savrigul earns money by cotton gathering. She is the second wife of a man from the village, but she lives alone.

 


oshmurodova Kibriyo is 31 years old uzbek woman, works as a tailor, a mother of two. After living seven years in marriage, her mother-in-law passed away. Her husband started to bring other women to their house and also started to beat her. After some time she became diabetic and with two kids left her husband’s house. It’s already nine years that she earns for herself and raises her children alone.

 


Alieva Mukhrukhsor, 32 years old, swims in the river just in their house yard. She got married when she was only 17 years old. Her husband would drink and make scandals regularly. One day she stopped him and went back to her parents. After staying there for almost four months, they again married and she moved back to her husband’s house. Mukrukhsor’s mother-in-law started making troubles for her, saying that if she left once, why was she back again. When Mukhruhksor was giving birth to her daughter she was afraid to say that she was all in birth pains as she was not sure that child would be born the same day. They called a taxi at the last moment, but she couldn’t manage to the car, her daughter was born in their yard.

 


Karimova Saida in her village.
She got married when she was 22 years old. She didn’t want to marry that man. But as she didn’t have a father (he had passed away early) her uncle was making decisions, and he said that it was easier to get married not educated. They lived together seven years and they were good with each other. Her husband went to work to Russia. When she called him, she heard a woman’s voice. But he refused that there was another woman in his life. But one day, after another phone call, he said that the woman, whose voice she heard, was his wife. When he came back, she was sent to her parents’ house and never went back.

 


Kholnazarova Shahnoza, 30 years old.
There was always violence in Shahnoza’s family. She was 6 months pregnant when she started bleeding. Only her mother went with her to the hospital, where the child was born alive, but didn’t survive. As he was born alive, the family should have given a name to him and buried him. Nobody from her husband’s family came to the funeral. After Shahnoza gave birth to their daughter, upon seeing the child her husband’s family insisted that it was not their child, that it was from another man. Shahnoza even agreed to get a DNA test. But they didn’t. Instead her husband called her and got divorced by a phone call.

 


Sayram Kholova’s parents’ house. According to the husband’s family, Sayram committed suicide jumping into a river with her one-year and three-year old children. She was pregnant with her third child. Sayrams family refuses to accept that she could commit suicide. They say that there were always problems in their family, but their daughter never talked about them. The body of the three-year-old child was found, the one-year-old was missing. Sayram’s father hearing that his pregnant daughter jumped into the water with her children, slaughtered a sheep and threw it into the river, following the body of the dead sheep, trying to find his daughter’s body. The sheep’s body was found somewhere in Uzbekistan, but their daughter’s body was found somewhere nearby, which makes the girls family not trust in her suicide story.

 


When she got married only after a week she learnt that her husband had a wife and three children. When she got pregnant, they learnt that it was a boy, he wanted her to do an abortion, as he was expecting a girl. She went back to her parents’ house and decided to give birth there. When the child was born, he insisted that she killed her son. Now she is a mother of a three-year-old boy, and she has never seen her husband again.

 


Nazira Barotovo, 25 years old.
Shows the traces of violence on her neck. After getting divorced, the court gave her and her two children a room in her ex-husband’s house. The room is simply separated by a temporary wall from her ex-husband’s house. Only a room without toilette and kitchen. Nazira tried to move back in with her parents, where the house is in a better condition, but she was beaten and kicked out by her cousin. Nazira’s husband used to work in Russia. She didn’t have any information where he was and she decided to make an announcement in the local newspaper if people knew where her husband was, so she could get alimony for her children. Nazira is working hard to take care of her two small children.

 


After getting divorced by phone Shahnoza brought her dowry back to her parents’ house. In Tajik families it’s very important to give to their daughters dowry when they get married.

 


Nazira at her small yard. Even after getting divorced she is afraid of her husband’s family. They are arguing with her each time they meet her.

 

,br/>The hand of Bibirakhim after she and her daughter fought with the village women, who called them with bad words. Bibirakhim was a mother of a child and got married to a man who had two children from his marriage. She grew up all children together. When they grew, they married Ahiddin with her stepbrother. They had two children. After her father-in-law and the husband of her mother passed away, the mother and daughter were kicked out from the house where they used to live. They got a very small room in the same yard for four people. Her child has health issues, but her husband doesn’t take care. Ahiddin was beaten by her husband, and they were afraid to meet him. Bibirakhim and Ahiddin clean the school to earn money. Sometimes they fight with other women who call them with bad words after divorce.

 


She was married for twenty years. Her husband was drinking and beating her all 20 years. – If you ask my neighbors, they will tell you that I am a hero, that lived through all that. Her husband is the son of her uncle. They have now three children, two girls and a boy. The elder daughter is 18 years old, she didn’t attend school after her fourth class, as it’s easier to get married if you are not well educated. Nine men came to them wanting to marry their daughter, but they will marry her once they gather some money for that.

 


Toshmurodova Kibriyo is 31 years old uzbek woman, works as a tailor, a mother of two. After living seven years in marriage, her mother-in-law passed away. Her husband started to bring other women to their house and also started to beat her. After some time she became diabetic and with two kids left her husband’s house. It’s already nine years that she earns for herself and raises her children alone.

 


Urazova Jamila was supposed to get married, but everything turned another way only a few days before their wedding. Jamila never had a menstruation period. She went several times to see a doctor, and was always told that it will start one day. She got acquainted with a boy by phone who was working in Russia, and was in touch with him for two years. Later they decided to marry each other. In Tajikistan because of health problems of relative marriages, boys and girls check up to see if it’s ok for them to marry. During that check up only few days before their wedding, when everything was prepared for it, and all the dresses were made for the bride, they found out that she had health problems. The bride’s family should have to cover all the costs, that the grooms family had spended, since it was their “fault”. But they spoke to each other and decided to marry their other daughter instead of Jamila. The wedding was played. The sister wore all the clothes that were supposed to be Jamila’s, only some dresses she keeps until now. Jamila needs to do a surgery, but she doesn’t even know how much it will cost, she only knows that it’s an expensive operation. She says that it was painful to see her sister getting married instead of her, but she also wants her sister to be happy.

 


Nazira Barotovo’s door to her room which is divided from her husband’s house. After getting divorced, the court gave her and her two children a room in her husband’s house. Only a room without toilette and kitchen. Nazira went to her parents’ house were there were better conditions, but she was beaten and kicked out from her parent’s house by her cousin. Nazira’s husband used to work in Russia. She didn’t have any information where he was, and she decided to make an announcement in the local newspaper, if people knew where her husband was, so she could get ailmony for the children. After some time her husband returned back from Russia and married for the second time. Nazira works hard to take care of her two small children.

 

This is the first story of mine made in Tajikistan which I want to show to you, the next will follow. The rights of women in Tajikistan are not protected at all. Men are allowed to have several wives, to divorce easily, and not carry responsibility for the wife and children. We found one of the women following her announcement in a newspaper. Her husband had left for a job abroad, leaving behind her wife and children. The wife had tried to find him without any result. Later her announcement in a newspaper had helped to find the husband, and he was demanded to pay alimony for his children. He had stopped helping his family after paying them for a year. The divorced women are given just a room from the husband’s house without kitchen and bathroom of course. Women live a very difficult life and sometimes end it with a suicide killing their own children with them. It is awfully hard to listen to these stories of the women of my age. I don’t know if I will have the heart of listening to the stories of the girls of my daughter’s age, or something will change in this planet, and women will begin to lead a dignified life.