Thursday, 19 March 2009

Quick hit: Pakistani women's rights campaigner marries

From the BBC's South Asia news section:
A Pakistani gang rape victim who won international acclaim as a campaigner for women's rights has married.

Mukhtar Mai wed a policeman who is still married to another woman. He threatened to divorce his first wife if she did not marry him.

Ms Mai said she decided to do so to avoid family break-up.

Four men raped Ms Mai as punishment after her 12-year-old brother was accused of adultery in 2002, but she fought to have her attackers convicted.

She ignored taboos about her ordeal, becoming a champion for women's rights.

Click through for the whole article.

This all seems kind of odd - she has married this man because he threatened suicide and divorcing his first wife if she didn't. Ms Mai's staunchness over the issue of rape, in an extremely difficult cultural situation, is without fault.


Anonymous said...

"Ms Mai said she decided to do so to avoid family break-up."

I don't get it. If he's married to her isn't the original marriage broken?

Anna said...

Not necessarily, Anon - stargazer, if she's about, would be the best one to explain that.

I don't know what Mukhtar Mai believes (and I don't want to denigrate her courage), but anti-rape views and seemingly repressive views of marriage can sometimes go hand in hand.

I'm thinking of the Old Testament punishment for rape (according to my religious education teacher of many years ago). The rapist was obliged to marry his victim. This was to make amends to the victim's father for having made her unmarriageable. Woman as property is the underlying theme.

stargazer said...

yup, here. i've written about polygamy previously here:

so, no, the original marriage won't be broken.

but it's very sad that she's being psychologically pressured into marriage - an unacceptable position in islam. i really don't know much about pakistani society, but normally her extended family should have been strong enough to protect her from this kind of thing. obviously not the case here.

Anonymous said...

Oh I see..sorry I didn't even think that he'd stay married to the original wife. I didn't get it was a polygamy thing. I thought he would divorce the first wife to be with her.

Anna said...

She's obviously a strongly principled person, and it's sounds as though her new husband has manipulated that fact ... sigh.