“The new suffragettes”

Mukhtar Mai.
Mukhtar Mai.

I co-wrote a profile of Mukhtar Mai, the gang rape victim who became an iconic advocate of women’s rights in Pakistan. The piece is part of the Independent’s “new suffragette” series and was co-written with Charlotte McDonald-Gibson. You can read it over at the Independent.

When Mukhtar Mai walked into a police station in rural Pakistan in 2002 to report a gang rape, she felt completely alone. Her family shunned her; village elders who ordered the rape expected her to commit suicide, and there were no female police officers to help her through her ordeal.

But Mai did not give up, and now, 11 years later, she no longer feels alone. A whole generation of Pakistan’s women stands with her – inspired by the bravery of an illiterate women, from a poor community in Punjab province, who defied tradition and prejudice to take a stand for victims of violence and injustice.

I’ve interviewed Mukhtar Mai before. A transcript of that conversation is available at my New Statesman blog.


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