Fighting back

Horrifying personal stories underscore pervasive rape problem in Pakistan

(REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)

The public crisis surrounding rape in India has become a topic that’s gained worldwide attention over the last couple of years, but a similar and lesser-known crisis has been unfolding within the borders of India’s adversarial neighbor, Pakistan. A new report highlights the fact that, despite much lip-service from government officials about addressing the problem of sexual violence, little is actually being done to confront the problem and women are largely afraid to report sex crimes. For instance, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reports that there were 423 rapes and 304 gang rapes in 2015, but the group says that police opening investigations into these crimes are the exception, not the rule. “Each year a gamut of promises is made for the protection and development of women, but (they) remain unfulfilled by the year-end,” the commission concluded in its report.

Sadly, the shortcomings are underscored in the personal stories of the women who survive these brutal attacks. Take Kainat Soomro for example. She was 13 when three men kidnapped her while she was out running an errand. They held her captive for days and repeatedly raped her before she was able to go free. That was eight years ago, and she’s still battling for justice. In fact, she’s become a national symbol for stridently taking on the legal system there. Her struggle for justice became a compelling narrative and the 2014 movie Outlawed in Pakistan documented her plight. But that struggle has not come without severe consequences for her family, which has suffered in various ways over her decision to go public in search of justice.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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