A Pakistani jirga (village council) ordered the rape of a 16-year-old girl in retaliation for a rape on a 12-year-old committed by the girl’s cousin, according to police sources.
I’ll just let the BBC tell the story.
Some 20 people from Multan, Pakistan, have been arrested for ordering the rape of a teenage girl, in revenge for a rape her brother allegedly committed.
Police said the families of the two girls are related.
Members of both had joined forces to decide what should be done.
“A jirga [village council] had ordered the rape of a 16-year-old girl as punishment, as her brother had raped a 12-year-old,” police official Allah Baksh told AFP.
He said the village council was approached earlier this month by a man who said his 12-year-old sister had been raped by their cousin.
The council then ordered the complainant to rape the sister of the accused in return – which police say he did.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that the girl was forced to appear before the group and raped in front of them and her parents.
The mothers of the two girls later filed complaints at the local police station.
Medical examinations have confirmed rape in both cases.
Another officer, Ahsan Younas, told BBC Urdu that the first girl to be raped was aged between 12 and 14. The victim of the revenge rape is said to be 16 or 17.
He said police had registered a complaint against 25 people, and that the suspect accused of raping the 12-year-old was still at large.
Can it get any worse? BBC’s own sources report something shockingly different:
While some reports say the group that ordered the rape was a jirga – or village council – BBC sources said it was actually formed by members of the two families.
Jirgas, a kind of council formed of local elders, often settle disputes in rural Pakistan. However, they are illegal and have been condemned for a series of controversial rulings – including ordering so-called “honour killings” and past incidents of “revenge rape”.
This isn’t typical of Islam. You’re an Islamophobe if you try and connect what happened to the little girl, whose family agreed to watch her being raped, to the Islamic faith. Islam is a religion of peace and love. There’s nothing in the Koran to justify this.
At least, that’s the argument that will be made by Islam’s apologists. Indeed, I have no idea if such behavior is sanctioned by the Koran. But no reasonably informed, rational person can deny that Islam informs and animates the lives of these people and even if there isn’t a specific passage in the Koran that justifies it, Islam has its stamp all over this outrage.
It may be a purely cultural attitude. I know it was not uncommon for the U.S. military to pay families when their innocent loved ones were caught in the crossfire of battles with the Taliban. The same holds true for murders in many places in the world. The murderer can escape jail or execution if he pays the family of the person he killed.
But this goes beyond culture, beyond religion, beyond barbarism. The “payback” here is part of the attitude of Muslims toward women. Girls and women are expendable creatures. Violating them is all about the honor of the family if a female has had sex outside of marriage and shamed the male members of the clan. Never mind the little girl has lost her childhood and been told she’s a worthless sack of meat.
It appears that Pakistani authorities are not tolerating this behavior. That’s good. But how hard do they work to stop this inhumanity? How often do things like this go on in Pakistan and other countries that are stuck in the 8th century?
The answer is far too often and with little pushback from governments.