We have just learned a heartbreaking story out of Pakistan. That has been ‘swept under the rug’ not reported in the media or in Police headquarters. Through our contacts we have learned of the fate of a Christian girl. This girl took employment with a family in Pakistan cleaning, and serving the family. It’s common in Pakistan for a family to have another woman in the house to help clean, and care for the families children. She lived in a small quarter of the employers home. And we are told that when the man’s wife was away this man would take the girl and rape her. This happened many times. The girl was so ashamed thinking that she did something wrong, she didn’t want to talk about it. This is the normal behavior for rape victims. When she did report it to the authorities, the man wasn’t charged, and she quickly withdrew her statement after threats to her and her family. He threatened to kill her brother and her family. This rape happened for several years before the girl was able to leave. My heart breaks for this precious girl and others who have endured such trauma. And this happens repeatedly in Pakistan. And gang rapes are also frequent, but not often reported to the police or reported in the media.
Rights workers and activists in Pakistan say that the police attitude is that if a girl comes forward to report a rape she is shameful and has defamed her family. Automatically they say she is lying. And many times the burden of supplying 4 witnesses as sharia law commands is impossible. The courts will not allow DNA evidence even when it proves guilt. In January of last year a girl was raped, killed and hung from a tree in the Layyah district in Punjab. This case mirrored one in India where a girl was gang raped and found hanging from a tree. In March of last year a young girl was gang raped, and then set herself on fire in protest after the police released the men responsible and didn’t press charges. Five men kidnapped her at gunpoint and raped her. Her brother said this: “She was already depressed after going through the trauma, but after the release of the accused, she lost all hope of getting justice and set herself on fire,” There is no justice for these heinous acts. Rape and domestic violence against women are widespread in Pakistan. From what we hear Human Rights abuses in Pakistan abound, especially with women and minorities, and in the Christian population. Some facts about domestic violence in Pakistan:
- Domestic violence in Pakistan is an endemic social problem. According to Human Rights Watch, it is estimated that between 70 and 90 percent of women and girls in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse.
- An estimated 5000 women are killed per year from domestic violence, with thousands of others maimed or disabled.
- The majority of victims of violence have no legal recourse.
- Law enforcement authorities do not view domestic violence as a crime and usually refuse to register any cases brought to them.
- Given the very few women’s shelters in the country, victims have limited ability to escape from violent situations.
Reporting of these abuses is very difficult. “Freedom of the press is allowed but any reports critical of the government policy or critical of the military is censored. Journalists face widespread threats and violence making Pakistan one of the worst countries to be a journalist in, with 61 being killed since September 2001 and at least 6 murdered in 2013 alone. Tv stations and news papers are routinely shut down for publishing any reports critical of the government or the military.”
While everything is portrayed as normal these awful abuses are taking place. And this just covers one aspect of the abuses coming out of Pakistan. Christians are killed and imprisoned on an almost daily basis. Asia Bibi is still in prison awaiting a death sentence by hanging just for taking a drink from a muslim well, and being a Christian. Pakistan is one of the top receivers of aid from the west and the US. It’s time to hold these countries accountable.
By C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst