The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (9): Gang Rape as a Form of Criminal Punishment

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culture / horror / justice / law / most absurd human rights violations
Mukhtar Mai, Image by © Andreea Angelescu/Corbis

Mukhtar Mai, Image by © Andreea Angelescu/Corbis


Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani woman, suffered a gang rape as a form of honor revenge, on the demands of tribesmen — or by some accounts, on the orders of a tribal council.

Her adolescent brother Shaqoor was suspected and accused by a rival clan of adultery with one of the girls of this clan. Shaqoor was then abducted by her relatives, and sodomized by them, I guess as a form of punishment. The police freed Shaqoor and his family proposed to settle the matter with the other clan by marrying Shakoor to the girl he supposedly had sex with, and by marrying Mukhtar – his sister – to one of the men of the other clan. The offer was refused and the rival clan demanded revenge for the adultery. Mukhtar’s gang rape was the revenge. After the rape, all claims were withdrawn.

The week after the events, a local Muslim imam condemned the rape in his sermon, informed a local journalist, and persuaded the family to file charges against the rapists.

By custom, rural women are expected to commit suicide after such an event. Instead, she spoke up, and using word of mouth, took her case to court where her rapists were arrested and charged. She took settlement money provided to her by the government following the court case, and opened a center for refuge and education, the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization. (source)

However, it seems that all is not going well for her:

Mukhtar is … in danger, and many people in the feudal class would like to kill her; even with an armed bodyguard, Mukhtar doesn’t dare go more than 100 feet from her compound. I’ve told Mukhar to set up a steel gate to make it harder for gunmen to get to her. (source)

More posts in this series.


  1. Pingback: The Politics of the Body « P.A.P. Blog – Human Rights Etc.

  2. Pingback: The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (91): Marry Your Rapist and Get Out of Jail | P.a.p.-Blog | Human Rights Etc.

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