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Noorullah helps his badly burned wife, Shakila Azizi, 27, into her hospital bed in Herat.

Marie Claire Magazine, Feb.2004: .... the torment became too much for Shakila, who finally dared to yell back. She told her mother-in-law and sister-in-law how miserable she was in their household, how happy she and her husband, Noorullah, had been living alone in Iran the year before. As she spoke, Noorullah appeared. Mortified that his wife would show such disrespect to his mother, he removed his sandal and hit Shakila several times. In tears by now, Shakila yelled that if the three of them didn't stop persecuting her, she would set herself on fire. She'd heard stories on the radio about women who'd self-immolated: women unhappily married to men 30 years their senior; women like her, living with extended families who treated them as servants. "Go ahead," her sister-in-law challenged. Shakila vanished into the kitchen. Minutes later, she dashed through the house shrieking, her body engulfed in flames. Later, at the hospital, Shakila tells the nurses that she hadnít really wanted to set herself on fire. "I was sure someone would stop me,: she says. "But no one did."

Photo by Stephanie Sinclair, USA, Corbis for Marie Claire, Feb.2004