Because I'm a girl - Rape in Pakistan { 17 images } Created 23 Apr 2011

It's estimated that worldwide 1 in 5 women will become the victim of rape or attempted rape during her life.
Violence against women is prevalent all over the world and rape in particular has become a 'weapon of war' and tool to systematically oppress , control and marginalize women.

In Pakistan around 85% of women face various forms of gender-based violence.
Women and girls are being murdered, kidnapped, raped, killed for honor, have acid thrown on to them.
The Pakistani government rarely takes action and the perpetrators are hardly punished.

Rape and sexual violence is still very much a taboo subject in Pakistan.
Unreliable statistics hide the actual magnitude of the problem. Data gathered by the police is notoriously unreliable because of underreporting of cases or their refusal to lodge F.I.R.'s (First Information Report) needed to start criminal procedures.

A conservative country still largely depending on feudal customs, many people still live in the rural areas, where an informal justice system exists of tribal or clan-based jirga's (village councils of elders to settle disputes at the community level)
Settlements among families in these jirga's often involve money.
When there is no money, payment includes women and girls.
Raped or married off , women and girls are offered as compensation, treated like cattle.

Besides suffering psychological trauma and the attached stigmatization, the women and their families are often harassed by the families of the rapist.
They blackmail the victims and try to persuade them into dropping the case or settle out of court.

Bringing the story of their rape to the 'outside' brings disgrace to the community or even, as some say, the country.
Finding the courage to take these first steps of action in seeking justice is a huge step.
These are a few stories of some very brave women and their families who became victims of sexual violence and continue to fight for justice.
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