In this series of photographs, journalist Stephanie Sinclair documents Afghani women being treated for extensive self-inflicted burns. These women, who were being cared for in a rudimentary public hospital in the town of Herat in western Afganistan, set themselves on fire in acts of utter desperation. Some of the women shared their personal histories of prolonged abuse at the hands of their husbands or families with Sinclair.
Sinclair’s images mark an exchange of trust and compassion. By consenting to be photographed at their most vulnerable, the women in these images demonstrate a rare bravery. The representation of their suffering exposes the everyday violence against women that is made more pernicious when it remains hidden. Partially in response to the widespread attention these images received from media outlets around the world, a new burn unit was created in Herat.
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