Sunday, July 31, 2005


Another Face of Terror

Another Face of Terror - New York Times: "Then on Jan. 2, Dr. Shazia woke up in the middle of the night, and at first she thought she was having a nightmare. 'But this person was really pulling hard on my hair, and then he started pressing on my throat so I couldn't breathe. ... He tied the telephone cord around my throat. I resisted and struggled, and he beat me on the head with the telephone receiver. When I tried to scream, he said, 'Shut up - there's a man standing outside named Amjad, and he's got kerosene. If you scream, I'll take it and burn you alive.' ... Then he took my prayer scarf and he blindfolded me with it, and he took the telephone cord and tied my wrists, and he laid me down on the bed. I tried hard to fight but he raped me.'
The man spent the night in her room, beating her, casually watching television, raping her again and boasting about his powerful connections. A 35-page confidential report by a tribunal describes Dr. Shazia tumbling into the nurse's quarters that morning: 'semiconscious ... with a swelling on her forehead and bleeding from nose and ear.' Officials of Pakistan Petroleum rushed over and took decisive action.
'They told me to be quiet and not to tell anybody because it would ruin my reputation,' Dr. Shazia remembers. One official warned that if she reported the crime, she could be arrested.
That was a genuine risk. Under Pakistan's hudood laws, a woman who reports that she has been raped is liable to be arrested for adultery or fornication - since she admits to sex outside of marriage - unless she can provide four male eyewitnesses to the rape.
Dr. Shazia wasn't sure she dared to report the crime, but she begged for permission to contact her family. So, she says, officials drugged her into a stupor and then confined her in a psychiatric hospital in Karachi."

Kristof goes on to tell about a gynecologist who tells women who have been raped not to go to the police because the police will rape them too. How absolutely ridiculous is it that she has to endure this merely because the sperm and egg that joined to create her happened to be in that god-forsaken place and the sperm and egg that created me happened to be here in a free and open country? How did I get so lucky? How could a God let her be left there with those people? What makes this all the more disgusting is that it is not rare or relegated to Pakistan. It is common all over the world. Aren't the "news" networks doing us a disservice by not making these things important to their viewers, or at least making the viewership aware of this stuff? Is Nicholas Kristof the only one who has the wisdom to continue to make us think about these things? As those that pray for Natalee Holloway (and other covered sad stories) continue lowering their heads, maybe they could take a moment for women all over the world who experience this or fear it everyday. Thank you, Nicholas.

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