Mukhtar Mai (Pakistan)


Mukhtar Mai was born in 1972, in a small village in Pakistan. She only knew Koran and she often taught children to read Koran. People in village was poor and they were often oppressed by the richer class. A serious tragedy happened when she was 30.


In June 2002, Mai’s brother Shakur was accused in sexual harassing a Mastoi woman called Salma (Mastoi people are Shakur was under house arrest by Salma’s male relatives. The tribal court decided that one of the women in the village should apologize to them and Mai was selected. Mai decided to bring the Koran as apology gift in order to redeem his brother back. However, she did not notice that it was a trap and she was raped by those male relatives. She went back to the village in nude but she did not go for suicide like other Pakistan woman did after the tragedy. She bravely told to the police and soon the tragedy received international concerns.


Later, she found out that Shakur did not rape Salma but he was the one who being raped. Pakistan government granted him a half million dollar cheque to encourage her to continue to fight for justice. She used the cheque to build a school and educate women who are illiterate in order to prevent them from being treated inhumanly.


The Pakistan Court started filing the case in 2002 but there was still no result until now and the case is still being investigated. In the same time, Mai has already been recognized as the Women of the Year.


The significance of Mai’s action is her bravery to break the silence and tell the world how class discrimination would cause severe influence to Pakistan women. She also advocated education on women to increase their sense of security. More important is, her act has promoted peace in Pakistan and the government has once corporated with her to implement Women Protecting Law. Her story has also been written as Deshonoree, warning people the serious problem in bullying and dominating of the patriarchy society in Pakistan. She has promoted peace a lot and raised international concerns.


Mukhtar Mai, Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year 2005 (From: Wikipedia)


Mukhtar Mai’s autobiography: Déshonorée




Written by Yip Pok Hei