Women for Afghan Women provides literacy, vocational and life-skills education. Women for Afghan Women

A 10-year-old Afghan girl raped by a 45-year-old mullah could become the victim of an honor killing if her family were to cave under pressure by village elders.

The New York Times reported Saturday the head of a women’s shelter, where the girl from the village of Alti Gumbad took refuge, received death threats for protecting the child. The girl was taken to the Women for Afghan Women shelter this month after her family threatened an honor killing. Police returned her to her family Tuesday.

The rape was so brutal, the girl suffered a break in the wall between the vagina and rectum, an official indictment said. She nearly died because treatment was delayed, the Times said.

The mullah claimed the girl was not 10 but 17 and offered to marry her. However, hospital records indicate the child weighed just 40 pounds and had yet to start menstruating. Her mother said she was only 10.

The girl’s father reportedly is under pressure from villagers to kill her because “she had brought shame to them,” said Nederah Geyah, the former head of the women’s-affairs office in Kunduz. Geyah was forced to resign and move to another part of Afghanistan because she fought to protect the girl.

Honor killings are still common in many parts of the world. Last month, Pakistani newlyweds were decapitated because they were married without the permission of the bride’s family. CNN reported the bride’s family lured the couple to Satrah in Punjab province where they were bound and killed.

The United Nations has put the number of honor killings at 5,000 annually, but women’s-rights workers say the number is likely much higher.

The Huffington Post reported many countries in the Middle East, North Africa and western Asia have no minimum sentence on the books for honor killings, which are not classified as murder. The maximum sentence can be as little as six months.