32 years after attack, Pakistani woman gets nose

continued from page 1

Shad Begum, a Pakistani right activists who received the U.S. International Woman of Courage award from first lady Michelle Obama this year, said firmer laws and better enforcement are the only solution to violence against woman.

“Our leaders need to take a firm stand,” she said. “If a man makes a woman a victim, or makes an ‘example out of her’ as he believes, our courts should also make an example out of him.”

Rakhi was attacked when she was 19, after being married at 13. Despite being illegal, child marriages remain common in parts of Pakistan.

Following the attack, she worked to support herself and her daughter, painting flowers on pots in a factory and buying and selling clothes in markets across the country, all the time hidden behind a veil.

“I died every moment,” Rakhi said in her three-room mud and brick house in a village hidden among the wheat fields of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Rakhi’s husband divorced her soon after he was released from prison, she said.

In a bizarre twist, the 51-year-old woman now lives again under the same roof as him — something she claims as a “victory,” but also perhaps points to her poverty and lack of alternatives.

Rakhi’s son persuaded her to return home, anxious for her to have a more comfortable life.

On a recent visit, the husband scooted out of the house as Rakhi welcomed a reporter, and he did not made himself available for comment.

She said she never stopped hoping for a new nose, but doctors were unwilling to operate because she suffers from hepatitis C, a liver condition that can complicate surgery.

It was her daughter who gave her the chance. She was working in the capital, Islamabad, at an institute that provides training for woman recovering from having acid thrown on their faces. She introduced Rakhi to the Acid Survivors Foundation, which put her in touch with a surgeon.

Dr. Hamid Hasan took her case for free. Asked why he would take the chance, he answered, “Her pleas. Her tears.”

At a follow up appointment last month, Hasan touched the scars where the stitches once were on her nose and forehead.

Rakhi winced slightly, and smiled as the surgeon took his hands away.

Hasan said her positive attitude was important for the other operations she must undergo in the coming months.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks