The Pakistani family of a teenage girl is being persecuted for their failure to conform to Sharia law. Kainat Soomro, 17, has been declared kari (literal translation is black female) by tribal elders for losing her virginity outside of marriage by way of gang rape. She has been sentenced to death by stoning.
"These are matters of honor and the leaders call a jirga and they declare that the woman or the couple should be killed," said Abdul Hai, a veteran field officer for the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan. These acts of violence are most commonly labeled as "honor killings."
Thankfully, Kainat’s family has refused to kill her, and is actively trying to prosecute her rapists.
The teenager was shopping for gifts for her niece when a man grabbed her and put a handkerchief over her nose and mouth, causing her to pass out. She was held in captivity for three days, during which time she was brutally gang raped by four men, before she managed to escape.
Instead of receiving justice, Kaitnat got a death sentence. When her family refused to participate, they had to flee their home in fear of their lives. The entire family now lives in a one-room apartment in a run down building, and goes hungry for days at a time. Even in their new home, they’ve been attacked several times by militant adherents to Sharia law.
It is unlikely that the Soomro family will ever triumph over young Kainat’s attackers. In a written decision, a local judge declared, "There is no corroborative evidence available on record. The sole testimony of the alleged rape survivor is not sufficient."
If the testimony of the survivor is not sufficient to conclude rape, did the sex ever even take place in the eyes of the law? If the law cannot determine if rape ever occurred, how can it determine if any sex happened at all? Isn’t this picking and choosing rules? If the court won’t conclude that a rape occurred on the testimony of the victim, it should not be able to conclude that any sex occurred at all.
This story breaks my heart, and is added to the long list of reasons I’m grateful to live in America, and will never be ok with Sharia law being practiced here.
Image via psd/Flickr