Rape transfer

Oh god. Brace yourselves. From the Times:

 The Pakistani police arrested 25 people in a rural village on Thursday, after the village council ordered a man to publicly rape a teenage girl to avenge the sexual assault of his sister.

Earlier this month, the council told Mohammad Ashfaq, 20, to rape the 16-year-old girl after Mr. Ashfaq’s family accused the girl’s brother of raping his 12-year-old sister, the police said.

Hell and damnation! It just can’t get any more stark than that – a man is accused of raping a woman so the solution is to rape the man’s sister.

We’ve been here before. I wrote post after post about it when B&W was young. The Guardian, March 2005:

[Mukhtaran] Bibi was catapulted to world attention after a panchayat , or tribal council, at the remote Punjabi village of Meerwala in June 2002.

Her 12-year-old brother was accused of having an affair with a woman from the higher-caste Mastoi tribe. In punishment, the elders ordered that Mukhtaran be raped. As several hundred people watched, four men dragged her screaming through a cotton field. Pushing her into a mud-walled house, they assaulted her for more than an hour.

A male person is accused of a sexual crime so a female person related to him is gang-raped. (The evidence indicated that the accusation against the brother was bogus.)

Back to the current case:

The case was brought to the attention of the police in Punjab Province after the mother of the 16-year-old reported that Mr. Ashfaq had carried out the rape on July 18 in Muzaffarabad, a village near the city of Multan.

Some members of the council were present at the time of the rape, according to a complaint filed with the police by the girl’s mother.

The so-called honor rape, or vengeance rape, occurred after the council ruled that the rape of a minor family member was a fair punishment for the accused rape of the 12-year-old.

Oh yes, what could be fairer?

Vendetta rapes to settle issues of family honor remain common in the southern part of Punjab Province despite efforts by the government and rights groups to end the practice.

Such village councils are considered illegal, but in many poor and far-flung regions residents are reluctant to go to the police.

This recent case is reminiscent of the 2002 gang rape of Mukhtar Mai, who became an international cause célèbre. Ms. Mai was ordered raped as a punishment for her younger brother’s affair with a woman from a rival tribe, the Mastoi. Investigations later revealed that three Mastoi tribesmen had molested the boy, and the accusation against him had been false.

Sometimes human beings are enough to make you sick.

The rape case has caused an uproar in Pakistan and rights advocates decried the state of women’s rights in the country.

“It seems that nothing has changed since 2002,” Ms. Mai said in a telephone interview, referring to the year when her own case made international headlines. Ms. Mai now runs a nongovernmental organization for women’s rights in her village in the Muzaffargarh District. “Until poor people get justice, such incidents will keep happening. When the perpetrators of such crimes do not fear the law or punishment, when they enjoy political patronage, such practices will not stop.”

“It seems that my efforts of 15 years have gone to waste,” she said.

It’s a wonder any women survive childhood.

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