26 May Shame: The Story of Mukhtaran Mai (Huffington Post)
The U.S. was first introduced to the harrowing story of Mukhtaran Mai through a series of Nicholas Kristof columns in The New York Times several years ago. Gang raped on the order of a local tribal council in 2002 in retribution for her 12-year-old brother’s supposed relationship with a girl from a higher caste (which turned out to be concocted to cover up his sodomization), Mai did what no woman in Pakistan is supposed to do –stand up and fight back. She had the audacity to report the crime and pushed to have her rapists convicted and jailed. Six men were convicted which was later overturned on appeal. Mai persisted and took her case all the way to Pakistan’s Supreme Court where it is still pending five years later.
Her amazing story is documented by Mohammed Naqvi, a Canadian of Pakistani descent in a new film that will have its broadcast cable premiere May 31st on Showtime. Naqvi was among several documentarians who flocked to meet her after hearing about her story, and he came away with her cooperation which began a four year journey to tell the world her story.
Mai’s strength and resilience is awe-inspiring. Everyone should sit up and take notice because she is a hero in the purest sense of the word. She fought against a system that was against her at every turn. She declined opportunities to leave her village Meerwala and her family home, which is only 300 yards from the home of her attackers, in order to help make change in a place that desperately needed it. She used a small settlement from the government to build a local school, because even though she was illiterate, she knew that the key to breaking the cycle of violence was education. After Kristof’s column appeared, donations flooded in and she was able to build a clinic, buy an ambulance, erect a police station as well as a women’s crisis center…”