by DINO HAZELL, Associated Press Writer
Thu Nov 3, 2005
NEW YORK - A Pakistani activist who was
gang-raped at the orders of a tribal council was honored by Glamour
Magazine as Woman of the Year for her fight against oppression in
her homeland. Mukhtar Mai braved social stigma by going
public with her 2002 assault, and used the international attention
she attracted to set up a girls school in her rural community.
award is a victory for poor women; it's a victory for all women,"
Mai said at the Wednesday night Lincoln Center ceremony after
actress Brooke Shields presented her award.
She said her motto is: "End oppression with education." Mia, 36,
said she plans to donate $5,000 of her $20,000 prize to victims of
the Oct. 8 earthquake that killed more than 70,000 people in
Pakistan. The rest of the money will help her establish schools and
a women's crisis center.
Mai already has set up a school for girls. She said she considers
schooling equally important for boys, because they must learn that
under Islam, and under the law, women have the same rights to be
left alone as they do.
Mai was ordered raped in 2002 by a council of elders in Meerwala*,
her home village in eastern Punjab province, as punishment for her
13-year-old brother's alleged affair with a woman from a higher
caste. Mai and her family say the boy had been sexually assaulted by
members of the woman's family.
In Pakistan, using rape to restore a family's honor is commonplace.
The victim often kills herself in shame. But Mai's outcry drew
international attention and landed her alleged attackers in the
national courts of Pakistan. A trial court in 2002 sentenced six men
to death and acquitted eight others in Mai's rape. In March, the
High Court in Punjab province acquitted five of the men and reduced
the death sentence of the sixth to life in prison.
After an emotional appeal by Mai, the acquittals were overturned in
June and the 13 men who had been released were arrested again. They
remain in jail while Pakistan's Supreme Court considers the case.
There were no telephones or police in ; the the police station
in Jatoi is 13 km to the south over dirt roads (Wikipedia)
Past winners of the Woman
of the Year award
include U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and
former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
"It is little wonder that rape is one of the least-reported crimes.
Perhaps it is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused
and, in reality, it is she who must prove her good reputation, her
mental soundness, and her impeccable propriety."
In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. That results
in 78 rapes each hour, 1872 rapes each day, 56160 rapes each month
and 683,280 rapes each year. 1 out of every 3 American women will be
sexually assaulted in her lifetime. The United States has the
world's highest rape rate of the countries that publish such
statistics. It's 4 times higher than Germany, 13 times higher than
England, and 20 times higher than Japan. 1 in 7 women will be raped
by her husband. 83% of rape cases are ages 24 or under. 1 in 4
college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape. 1
in 12 males students surveyed had committed acts that met the legal
definition of rape. Furthermore, 84% of the men who had committed
such acts said what they had done was definitely not rape. 75% of
male students and 55% of female students involved in acquaintance
rape had been drinking or using drugs. Only 16% of rapes are ever
reported to the police.
Source Freda Adler, U.S. educator, writes in her
book Sisters in Crime, ch. 9 (1975). http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~ad361896/anne/cease/rapestatisticspage.html
the age of 5, Malika Oufkir, eldest daughter of General Oufkir, was
adopted by King Muhammad V of Morocco and sent to live in the palace
as part of the royal court. There she led a life of unimaginable
privilege and luxury alongside the king's own daughter. King Hassan
II ascended the throne following Muhammad V's death, and in 1972
General Oufkir was found guilty of treason after staging a coup
against the new regime, and was summarily executed. Immediately
afterward, Malika, her mother, and her five siblings were arrested
and imprisoned, despite having no prior knowledge of the coup
were first held in an abandoned fort, where they ate moderately well
and were allowed to keep some of their fine clothing and books.
Conditions steadily deteriorated, and the family was eventually
transferred to a remote desert prison, where they suffered a decade
of solitary confinement, torture, starvation, and the complete
absence of sunlight. Oufkir's horrifying descriptions of the
conditions are mesmerizing, particularly when contrasted with her
earlier life in the royal court, and many graphic images will long
haunt readers. Finally, teetering on the edge of madness and aware
that they had been left to die, Oufkir and her siblings managed to
tunnel out using their bare hands and teaspoons, only to be caught
days later. Her account of their final flight to freedom makes for
breathtaking reading. Stolen Lives is a remarkable book of
unfathomable deprivation and the power of the human will to survive.