“They told me I am not a real man, because you failed to follow your tradition, you failed to kill your sister.”
In Dadu in southern Pakistan Kainat Soomro faced the death penalty.
A crime most foul! Only the most perverse of crimes could be satiated by death and that perversity was rape.
Kainat, aged 13 was raped by four men. And for that she must die by the hands of her own family.
Kainat didn’t die that day. Kainat’s family did something remarkable. The stood firm by their daughter. Real men kill teenage girls after all and sadly the aftermath means that the village of Dadu doesn’t consider the male members of her family to be “real men” any more.
To Je Skoda.
Kainat’s story premiered on US TV as “Outlawed in Pakistan”. And what of the slighted in this altercation? Why the four men who were seduced by her 14 year old charms and tempted into raping her pretty much got away scott free. She faced isolation, fear, intimidation from the men she victimised. With Her Lady Parts.
Her family are isolated and that’s a terrible thing within the tiny village where isolation can mean death. The mere fact that Kainat accused someone else of raping her makes her an outlaw. And it’s not just her who suffered physical threats. Her entire family has been threatened. Her brother was killed to make a point and her other brothers beaten. That’s right.
Someone killed her brother for her demanding justice for a horrific gang rape for what may be a minor.
I mean it’s for honour right? What’s more important than what a bunch of rapists and murderers think about you?
Meanwhile the family hides out in Karachi where 18 off them have to live in a two bedroom apartment living off charity and what little money they can earn.
And all through this is the court case… You see, Pakistan’s reports extremely low rape rates. Not because rape is rare but because rape is rarely prosecuted. The “horrible perpetrator of the crime” needs to endure a barrage of questions, no empathy and an unsympathetic judicial system. Needless to say, women would rather shut up about it than bring their rapists to justice.
To point out how unsympathetic? The movie mentions that she is asked around 300 questions, many of which have no role in determining the “guilt” of those involved but are designed to denigrate. In fact if someone asked those questions, Who raped you first? Okay I can see that… How did he rape you? What clothing did you remove? Why did you remove your own clothes?… None of these are pertaining to the issue of rape. Rape is sex against a person’s will or with a person who cannot give consent (simplified). Even if you take your own clothes off it doesn’t mean rape is acceptable.
And the stab in the heart is the presiding judge who thinks Kainat is wasting his time. Why? Gang rapes “simply don’t happen in Pakistan”! And that this is “a product of fantasy”.
The men who were horrifically induced to rape this machiavellian minx (Is I a Good MRA?)? Well they got justice! They were acquitted. In fact if you watch the movie you can see that they are genuinely puzzled as to why Kainat kicked up such a fuss. And worst, people see the acquittal as proof of Kainat’s “slutty ways” that tempt men into fucking her against her consent.
After all, if she was a decent woman she would have just stayed at home and shut up.
Okay, Sarcasm Aside…
What do we blame for this. Well firstly we have to look at Pakistani/Pashtun culture where women are not treated well as it is and are treated as property. This is compounded with religion. Islam even among it’s liberals has a poor track record with treatment of women and these are fanatics. Thus you have a double pronged assault against women.
But there is a third problem. And that is “Pride”. You see, Pakistan “prides” itself on it’s low rape rate. Many staunch supporters demonstrate it as an example where superior Islamic law beats secular law. Many Pakistanis consider the streets of UK or USA unsafe compared to Pakistan.
In their minds these horror stories don’t happen. Because to admit that they do means to admit that they have a serious problem. A problem that simply cannot be fixed overnight.
It’s a three fold problem of Islam, Culture and Blind Pride. And that’s why it cannot be fought easily because when you attack one the other two pillars come to the aid of the first. If you attack Islam then you have to face the culture of Islamic Pride and Pakistan’s pride in being “one of the pillars of the Muslim World”. If you attack Culture then pride and Islam protect it.. If you attack Pride then you have to wage a war against men who would kill you for insulting Islam.
See it’s this that prevents the traditional panacea for fundies from working. We cannot educate because Culture mixed with Pride = Propoganda. The people who wish to educate have to face down the people who don’t want to educate people about a problem because it means admission of a problem.
And that is why Honour Killing takes place. To destroy it Pakistan and Afghanistan must change what they are. They must stop listening to men in beards who only read one book and think it explains the world. They must realise that their culture is not infalliable. And they must lose blind pride and be proud of real achievements rather than cover up real failings. Your pride is a badge not a shield.
And then and only then we can we stop this culture where “real men” rape and kill women.