My name is John Downey. Some of you know me for posting appeals on Twitter asking your help for people dealing with medical crises, poverty or domestic violence. This appeal is to help a friend and new mother escape a special kind of domestic violence, one state-sponsored by the new Afghan government. My friend's story is below. I am not naming her for her security, though she is known to journalists and women's rights activists in her own country.
"I’m an Afghan female journalist and women’s rights activist. I am not revealing my identity here today as I am under death threat.
I have worked as a reporter for numerous Afghan media outlets over several years.
As a reporter, I have covered issues related to the Taliban's war crimes, violations of women's rights in their territory, and the Taliban's destructive and terroristic activities.
As a women's rights activist, I have also defended Afghan women's rights in meetings, the news media and on social media, standing up to the Taliban's misogynistic stance.
My writing and advocacy led to my being threatened by the Taliban. I was threatened with death several times over the phone. I have already shared my concerns and documents with journalists’ organizations, and I am included on the list of journalists at risk in Afghanistan.
With the Taliban’s ruling in Kabul, living conditions deteriorated and the level of threats against me and my family increased. I had no option but to leave Afghanistan and seek refuge in Pakistan.
From the time the Taliban took over Afghanistan, I have been without any job or income. I have been in Pakistan for over six months and have sold all my possessions to support myself and my son, who was born here.
I now need to pay for food, rent to the guest house that took me in, and meet all the needs of an infant.
I have made application to immigrate to Europe and am hoping to be granted asylum there in six months’ time. I am seeking to fund my upkeep until I can travel and work safely again. My hope is to raise $500 monthly to pay for my needs and eventual travel. Thank you for any consideration you can give me."