An informal village council in the Pakistan city of Multan sentenced a 16-year-old girl to be “revenge raped.”
Earlier this month, a different family accused the girl’s brother of raping their 13-year-old daughter. The council decided that, in order to make things right, it was only fair that the 13-year-old girl’s brother should get to rape her alleged rapist’s sister.
Sickeningly, the punishment was actually carried out: on July 17, the alleged rapist’s sixteen-year-old sister was handed over by her own family to the 13-year-old girl’s family—and she proceeded to be raped by the brother of her brother’s rape victim.
Pakistan has a centuries-old tradition of using councils made up of local elders to hand down punishments and resolve disputes. It’s a tradition that continues to thrive in many villages in the country, due to the complexity of the Pakistani legal system, as well as the rampant corruption.
But in this case, the local council’s depraved ruling didn’t end the saga. After the “punishment” was carried out–and after the second girl was raped–both families filed criminal charges with police, where they accused the other family’s son of rape.
Multan City Police Officer Ahsan Younus explained, in an interview with Reuters, that when authorities began questioning both families, the role that the local council played in “settling” the first rape quickly came to the surface.
Police responded by arresting almost everyone complicit in both rapes–including the village elders who ordered the “revenge rape” in the first place.
“A total of 29 people were involved in this ghastly crime, and we have 25 of them in our custody,” said Multan City Police Officer, Ahsan Younus, during an interview with Reuters. “All the village council elders who ordered the revenge rape have been arrested.”
Pakistan has had a long history of human rights abuses–especially when it comes to women’s rights. In 2014, the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan as the second-worst country in the world for gender equality, ahead of only war-torn Yemen.
Oppression of women remains commonplace–as do so-called “honor killings” of women by their own loved ones, allegedly for dishonoring the family. One honor killing made international headlines last year, when Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch–who became famous for her provocative selfies on Instagram–was killed by her own brother, after his friends told him Baloch was dishonoring him.
But even more sickeningly, this isn’t the first “revenge rape” to be investigated by Pakistani authorities in recent years: in 2002, a woman named Mukhtaran Mai was sentenced to be gang-raped by a local council, as punishment for a crime committed by one of Mai’s male relatives.
Mai, however, fought back: she filed criminal charges against her rapists, and six men were convicted and sentenced to death.
Cases like Mai’s, Baloch’s, and now the most recent “revenge rape” in Multan have escalated calls for the Pakistani government to do something about the oppression of women in their country–not from the government, but from their own traditional culture.
How long till the Left starts to cry, “Islamophobia!” over our reaction to this disgusting and terrible crime? Discuss below: