Thursday, May 02, 2013

Shame - The Story of Mukhtaran Mai

Incredible courage from this Pakistani woman - this documentary, Shame (2006), tells the story of her rape and her decision to stand up and seek justice for herself, and eventually for other women as well.
Mukhtaran Bibi (Punjabi, Urdu: مختاراں بی بی‎, born circa 1972,[1] now known as Mukhtār Mā'ī,[1] مختار مائی) is a Pakistani woman from the village of Meerwala, in the rural tehsil (county) of Jatoi of the Muzaffargarh District of Pakistan. In June 2002, Mukhtār Mā'ī was the survivor of a gang rape as a form of honour revenge, on the orders of a tribal council of the local Mastoi Baloch clan that was richer and more powerful as opposed to her Tatla clan in that region.[2][3]

Although custom would expect her to commit suicide after being raped,[4][5][6] Mukhtaran spoke up, and pursued the case, which was picked up by both domestic and international media. On 1 September 2002, an anti-terrorism court sentenced 6 men (including the 4 rapists) to death for rape. In 2005, the Lahore High Court cited "insufficient evidence" and acquitted 5 of the 6 convicted, and commuted the punishment for the sixth man to a life sentence. Mukhtaran and the government appealed this decision, and the Supreme Court suspended the acquittal and held appeal hearings.[7] In 2011, the Supreme Court too acquitted the accused.

Though the safety of Mukhtaran, and her family and friends, has been in jeopardy[8] she remains an outspoken advocate for women's rights. She started the Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization to help support and educate Pakistani women and girls. In April 2007, Mukhtar Mai won the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe.[9] In 2005, Glamour Magazine named her "Woman of the Year".[10] According to the New York Times, "Her autobiography is the No. 3 best seller in France , and movies are being made about her. She has been praised by dignitaries like Laura Bush and the French foreign minister".[11] However, on 8 April 2007, the New York Times reported that Mukhtar Mai lives in fear for her life from the Pakistan government and local feudal lords.[12] General Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan, has admitted on his personal blog[13] that he placed restrictions on her movement in 2005, as he was fearful that her work, and the publicity it receives, hurt the international image of Pakistan.


This stun­ning Special Emmy winning doc­u­men­tary tells the true sto­ry of in­ter­na­tion­al hu­man rights icon Mukhtaran Mai, a Pak­istani peas­ant who was gang-raped and pub­licly shamed in her vil­lage, but used her trau­ma to spark a le­gal rev­o­lu­tion that ex­posed cen­turies of bru­tal trib­al con­flict and gov­ern­ment mis­man­age­ment.

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