After being kidnapped at the age of 16 by a group of thugs and enduring a year of rapes and beatings, Assiya Rafiq was delivered to the police and thought her problems were over.
Then, she said, four police officers took turns raping her.
The next step for Assiya was obvious: She should commit suicide. That’s the customary escape in rural Pakistan for a raped woman, as the only way to cleanse the disgrace to her entire family.
Instead, Assiya summoned the unimaginable courage to go public and fight back. She is seeking to prosecute both her kidnappers and the police, despite threats against her and her younger sisters. This is a kid who left me awed and biting my lip; this isn’t a tale of victimization but of valor, empowerment and uncommon heroism.
“I decided to prosecute because I don’t want the same thing to happen to anybody else,” she said firmly.
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How come it’s the victim who has to bear the shame, has to suffer ostracism from her family and community, who has to commit suicide? Why aren’t the men who kidnapped, beat , sold, and raped her the ones who have to bear the shame?