Pakistani women risking all to fight for their rights


The attack Kainat Soomro suffered is more than any 13-year-old should endure, but sadly, her victimization didn't end there—and she's not the only one to suffer sexual violence followed by victim blaming, in a troubling trend that makes victims afraid to come forward. Read an excerpt below, and click through to read more about the bravery Soomro and her family have shown in the face of stigma and tragedy; as well as the stories of other women who survived their attacks, even saw their attackers sent to jail, only to be treated as outcasts themselves. - KARACHI, Pakistan — Kainat Soomro was 13 years old and on her way to buy a toy for her newborn niece when three men kidnapped her, held her for several days and repeatedly raped her.

Eight years later, she is still battling for justice. She sits on a steel-framed bed in her parents' three-bedroom home and holds her blue shawl tight around her body. When she describes the horror of her captivity, her voice is barely a whisper, but it gains strength when she talks of the fight she has been waging: going to Pakistan's courts, holding protests, rejecting the rulings of the traditional Jirga council, taking on the powerful landlord and politician who she says are protecting her attackers.

The Associated Press does not usually identify victims of sexual abuse, but Kainat has gone public with her case. Her battle for justice has inspired an award-winning 2013 movie, Outlawed in Pakistan. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage Nobel Peace Prize winner who was shot by the Taliban, invited Kainat to the Nobel award ceremony, and her fund has given Kainat financial help.

Yet Kainat's family has paid a high price for her bravery. One sister remains unmarried, and another was divorced because her in-laws were ashamed to be associated with Kainat. In 2010, her brother was killed over his sister's refusal to stay silent.

Read the rest here.