Kainat Soomro says that when she was 13, she was kidnapped and gang raped. The authorities won’t prosecute the case, but that’s isn’t even her biggest problem. Her family was expected to commit an honor killing, but instead they tried to help her prosecute the rapists. Now they’re being attacked and getting death threats.
The Atlantic reports that Kainat, who is now 17, has become a local celebrity for her efforts to have her alleged rapists prosecuted. However, the notoriety has also made her family a target. She says that in 2007,
“I was walking home from my school and I went to the store to buy a toy for my niece … While I was looking at things a guy pressed a handkerchief on my nose. I fainted and was kidnapped. Then four men gang raped me.”
After days in captivity she was able to escape, but once she got home the police refused to investigate. Then tribal elders declared her kari, or “black female,” for having sex outside of marriage.
Despite the pressure to commit an honor killing, her family they refused. “It is the tradition, but if the family doesn’t permit it, then it won’t happen. My father, my brother, my mom didn’t allow it,” says Kainat. She escaped a fate that’s disturbingly common in the country. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in 2009 about 46% of all female murders in the country were done to preserve the family’s honor. It’s believe that the real figure is even higher, as families often say the girl committed suicide.
The family says they’ve been attacked multiple times, and last year Kainat’s older brother was killed. Her family believes he was murdered for speaking up about her rape. The most recent incident happened earlier this month. Kainat says her family was attacked by men affiliated with her rapists. After damaging her family’s car and apartment they beat her father and brother with iron rods and threatened to kill her. They want her to withdraw the appeal of her case against the men. Kainat already lost her case in a local court due to lack of evidence (which authorities refused to collect), but she says she’ll take the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She says, “I want justice, I will not stop until I get justice.”