Every now and then, we're reminded that the battle for women's rights still has a long way to go in some parts of the world.
A teenager from Pakistan's Punjab province was raped at gunpoint by her own relative, and then sentenced to either be killed or sold off by a local village court, the Express Tribune reports.
The 19-year-old is from Rajanpur, a district located in a rural area southwest of Punjab. She had been sleeping at her family's home when her cousin broke into the house. As he sexually assaulted her, the teen felt she couldn't fight him because he had a gun.
Unable to raise alarm, she may have acted out of fear of what he would do to her if she cried for help, and still, the informal village justice system in Rajanpur, known as Panchayat, refused to take her word for it. Instead, they declared she had had consensual sex with her relative and charged her with adultery, failing to take any action against the rapist.
According to the Express Tribune, the girl managed to escape after the whole ordeal, going to the police to report both the incident and what the Panchayat had ruled. At least four men were then taken into custody by the authorities, including the rapist's father.
The teen is now under the care of a government-run refuge in Rajanpur.
According to an early 2016 report, Pakistani political party Tehreek-i-Insaf's Punjab organizer Chaudhry Sarwar said that at least 14,850 cases of kidnapping and rape involving children, girls, and women had been reported in Punjab throughout 2015.
As we can see, teens and women in the region still struggle to be taken seriously by local authorities when they are the victims of sexual assault, indicating that, perhaps, many cases are going unreported.
Hopefully, this story will help others in similar circumstances by putting pressure on Pakistani officials to do more for the welfare of these women and children.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters