Now This is Sisterhood

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Remember the Pakistani woman ordered gang-raped in 2002 because her brother had improper relations with a girl from another clan? Never mind that even that heinous justification was a frame job meant to hide the fact that he’d been gang-raped by that other clan—check this out.

Not only has this sister refused to commit suicide like most rape victims due to the associated stigma. Not only did she press charges and go on to live a very public life in which “she runs several schools, an ambulance service and women’s aid group while having written an autobiography. By marrying, she has defeated another stigma against rape victims” who live as outcasts. Until they kill themselves.  That’s right-I’m applauding her for marrying. As a second wife, no less. Well, I’m not applauding her for marrying (unless it was her choice) but for why and how she married.

From the NYT:

Mr. Gabol [her new husband] was one of a group of police officers deployed to protect her after she was threatened by the rapists’ relatives to try to stop her from pressing charges.

Mr. Gabol had a hard time persuading Ms. Mukhtar to marry. He had been calling her off and on since 2003 but formally proposed a year and a half ago, she said. “But I told my parents I don’t want to get married.”

Finally, four months ago, he tried to kill himself by taking sleeping pills. “The morning after he attempted suicide, his wife and parents met my parents but I still refused,” Ms. Mukhtar said…Mr. Gabol then threatened to divorce his first wife, Shumaila. Ms. Shumaila, along with Mr. Gabol’s parents and sisters, tried to talk Ms. Mukhtar into marrying him, taking on the status of second wife. In Pakistan, a man can legally have up to four wives. It was her concern about Ms. Shumaila, Ms. Mukhtar said, that moved her to relent.

I am a woman and can understand the pain and difficulties faced by another woman,” Ms. Mukhtar said. “She is a good woman.”

In the end, Ms. Mukhtar put a few conditions on Mr. Gabol. He had to transfer the ownership of his ancestral house to his first wife, agree to give her a plot of land and a monthly stipend of roughly $125.

Asked if she had plans to leave her village to live with her husband in his village, Ms. Mukhtar said no. “I have seen pain and happiness in Meerwala. I cannot think of leaving this place.” Her husband, she said, “can come here whenever he wants and finds it convenient.”

Something tells me he better not be expecting to get any.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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