(HH here: I am not sure what to make of this. On the one hand it is a great thing that this woman is so strong and is actually being admired in her country for her stand. On the other hand her casual acceptance of the evils of the “ownership” of wives is rather disturbing. There was no mention of how he treats her. Only her concern that the first wife will be pushed aside by him over her. How many types of unfair pressure did the man and family exert that were NOT mentioned? This man, a police officer, takes sleeping pills in a fit of depression because she will not marry him? Well, I am glad she has overcome the “dishonor” of being raped that her society holds. But I can’t happy for how she was persuaded to be married.)
By Salman Masood Published: March 18, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Mukhtar Mai, the resilient Pakistani who was gang-raped in 2002 on the orders of a village council but became a symbol of hope for voiceless and oppressed women, has married.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Miss Mukhtar, 37, said her new husband was a police constable who was assigned to guard her following the attack and who had been asking for her hand for several years. She is his second wife.
She said the constable, Nasir Abbas Gabol, 30, and she married Sunday in a simple ceremony in her farming village, Meerwala, in Punjab Province.
“He says he madly fell in love with me,” Miss Mukhtar said with a big laugh when asked what finally persuaded her to say yes.
Pakistani rape victims often commit suicide, but Miss Mukhtar, who is also know as Mukhtaran Bibi, instead successfully challenged her attackers in court, winning international renown for her bravery. She runs several schools, an ambulance service and a women’s aid group in her village and has written an autobiography. By marrying, she has defeated another stigma against rape victims in conservative Pakistani society.
(HH: I think this might be the saddest part of this situation: the idea that to her and her society this is a progressive and reforming evolution! That she was manipulated into marrying instead of being killed or encouraged to commit suicide may be good to them but try selling that to an American woman who thinks non-equal pay is an evil.)
The village council ordered her rape as a punishment for actions attributed to her younger brother. He was accused of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan, but investigations showed that the boy had been molested by three of those clan’s tribesmen, and the accusation against him had been a cover-up.
(HH It IS truly amazing that she was able to fight and win. I can see why the author wanted to bring this amazing woman to light again. Even though there is tragedy in this “triumph” she must be allowed her due. In her society she IS a winner. So far. IF this guy gets violent with her I hope she cuts his …. off.)
Mr. Gabol 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 Miss 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,” she said.
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,” Miss Mukhtar said.
Mr. Gabol then threatened to divorce his first wife, Shumaila.
Shumaila, along with Mr. Gabol’s parents and sisters, tried to talk Miss 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 Shumaila, Miss Mukhtar said, that moved her to relent.
“I am a woman and can understand the pain and difficulties faced by another woman,” Miss Mukhtar said. “She is a good woman.”
(HH: So she is a slave who has a human heart and can be manipulated thereby out of concern of another slave’s fate. This story hold her up to honor but puts her family and husband and society in a gloom of pure evil. I feel sorry for the writer of the article. Having to somehow spin this so a Western audience sees that to HER this is something of a victory must be very hard. We need to encourage evolution in totalitarian societies. But some are so backward that even a good thing looks horrific to Western eyes.)
In the end, Miss 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.
(HH: She is not dumb! She knows that once she is married to him he owns her and might change his mind and divorce the first wife. She held him up until he basically guaranteed that no matter her marriage status the first wife will be taken care of and have a place to live. IN other words the new wife has forced him to guarantee the he will fulfill his own duties as a husband!! This lady certainly has will AND a conscience!)
Asked if she had plans to leave her village to live with her husband in his village, Miss Mukhtar said no.