June 14, 2005

Mukhtaran Bibi, a gangrape victor

Not far from Iran, where womens emancipation is gaining momentum, in the 'moderate' Islamic country of Pakistan there is a woman who after being gang raped, a sentencing by a tribal council for the infraction committed by her brother, is now battling for her rights, with little hope of success. Mukhtaran Bibi, an amazingly brave and determined woman who was forced to walk home naked after sufferring the humiliating and excruciatingly traumatic experience of being gang raped, fought back as no rape victim has ever done in the past. She protested her ordeal by challenging her persecutors in court and getting compensation for what had been done to her. She didn't stop there ; she used that money to start two schools in her village so as to promote literacy within her community which she believes is the only measure that'll prevent heinous crimes such as gang rapes in the future. Her work and her words have caught attention worldwide and she has become an icon of female fortitude in adversity. Besides the funding that she brought in for starting womens shelters and schools in the tribal areas of Pakistan, she also became a much sought after speaker for womens rights, unfortunately only outside of Pakistan. However, just last week, a few days before she was to visit the U.S. to speak at a womens forum, she disappeared; apparently taken to an undisclosed location by those in power. Asma Jahangir, a Human Rights lawyer based in Pakistan said that the Government is behind this because Mukhtaran's words may expose the reality of women in Pakistan and would thus tarnish the image of that country as a 'moderate' Islamic state; a distinction that has qualified it to be a friend and ally of the U.S.

Mukhtaran Bibi's track record tells us she is not one to give up. Gagged her, they may have, but her spirit has permeated into the consciousness of Muslim women world wide who are watching this drama unfold; and they may not choose to be silent observers. Afterall Mukhtaran is not asking much, "I want to live like a free citizen, I should be allowed to move freely and my name should be taken out of the ECL (Exit Control List),".

2 comments:

Starkindler said...

the rapists were acquitted as well...

jkale said...

Because of outside pressures, partly from blogs like yours, she is now, or will very soon be, free to travel to the US.