Last week in Afghanistan, a pregnant woman by the name of Sanum Gul was publicly flogged with 200 lashes before being shot in the head three times.
The widow of four years was impregnated by a man to whom she wasn't married, though sources say he planned to do so.
The execution was carried out by the Taliban.
"We gave this decision so in future no one should have these illegal affairs," a Taliban leader told The Daily Mirror. "We whipped her in front of all the local people, to show them an example. Then we shot her."
Perhaps you've heard about it, but perhaps not. It was covered by major news outlets, but it wasn't a top story. No one I've talked to has even mentioned the woman, but I keep thinking about her.
I think of her when I watch the cast of Jersey Shore (and pretty much every other reality TV show) cavort and copulate outside of marriage right on my television. And I wonder how we can ever hope to help people like Sanum Gul when our worlds are so very, very far apart.
But I also wonder how we can't at least try.
I don't share this to fuel discussion about why U.S. troops should be in Afghanistan or not. That's a bigger argument than the case of one woman.
I share it because it shocks me and haunts me, as it should every woman everywhere.
Because despite religion or region or race that makes this incident seem so distant from our lives, at the core is a woman who will never see her baby's face, never nurse him at her breast, never watch him grow up to become a man. A woman who was robbed of all that and much more at the hands of men.
Image via p0psicle