Afghan woman's choice: 12 years in jail or marry her rapist and risk death
Kabul (CNN) -- The ordeal of Gulnaz did not simply begin and end with the physical attack of her rape. The rape began a years-long nightmare of further pain, culminating in an awful choice she must now make.
Even two years later, Gulnaz remembers the smell and state of her rapist's clothes when he came into the house when her mother left for a brief visit to the hospital.
"He had filthy clothes on as he does metal and construction work. When my mother went out, he came into my house and he closed doors and windows. I started screaming, but he shut me up by putting his hands on my mouth," she said.
The rapist was her cousin's husband.
After the attack, she hid what happened as long as she could. But soon she began vomiting in the mornings and showing signs of pregnancy. It was her attacker's child.
In Afghanistan, this brought her not sympathy, but prosecution. Aged just 19, she was found guilty by the courts of sex outside of marriage -- adultery -- and sentenced to twelve years in jail.
Now inside Kabul's Badam Bagh jail, she and her child are serving her sentence together.
Sitting with the baby in her lap, her face carefully covered, she explains the only choice she has that would end her incarceration.
The only way around the dishonor of rape, or adultery in the eyes of Afghans, is to marry her attacker. This will, in the eyes of some, give her child a family and restore her honor.
Incredibly, this is something that Gulnaz is willing to do. (...)