SPEED NEWS

Rape survivor walks the ramp for Pakistan fashion week

Speed News Desk | First published: 2 November 2016, 20:38 IST
Mukhtar Mai
Twitter/@JadirahSarmad

Mukhtar Mai, a rape survivor walked the ramp on 2 November for Pakistan's fashion week show. Mai was gang-raped and paraded naked in public 14 years ago.

The fashion show, which was attended by the country's fashion elite, served as a platform for Mai's symbolic fashion debut -- something she hopes will be a model of courage and hope for other Pakistani women.

An international news agency quoted Mai as saying, "If one step I take, if that helps even one woman, I would be very happy to do that.

When her brother insulted a rival family in 2002, Mai was sentenced to be gang raped and publicly humiliated by a local council of tribal elders as punishment.

Following the sentence, Mai went public and fought all the way to the Pakistan Supreme Court to have her attackers convicted. The tribal council members and six of the fourteen men were handed the death sentence. However, all of them were released on appeal.

According to media reports, Mai went on to become an international advocate for women's rights and later founded a women's shelter in her rural hometown of Meerwala.

The annual fashion showcase was started in 2009 in defiance to religious fundamentalists in Pakistan. An intentional news agency quoted Mai as saying, "I want to be the voice of those women who face circumstances similar to what I did. My message for my sisters is that we aren't weak. We have a heart and a brain, we also think."

 
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