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Pakistan gang rape victim-turned-activist gets married

Mukhtar Mai becomes the second wife of a police officer who was assigned to protect her.

March 19, 2009|Associated Press

MULTAN, PAKISTAN — A Pakistani gang rape victim who shunned custom and rose to global fame by speaking out about her case has defied another local taboo: She just got married.

Mukhtar Mai is now the second wife of Nasir Abbas Gabol, a police officer who was assigned to protect her as her case gained notoriety. He said that she was reluctant to accept his offer and that he threatened suicide when she turned him down.

Mai was gang-raped in 2002 on orders of a tribal council in the eastern province of Punjab to punish her family for her brother's alleged affair with a woman from a higher-caste family. There were allegations that the boy had been molested by members of the other family, and that the accusations of the affair were used to cover up the crime.

Rape victims in Pakistan face severe social stigma and diminished marriage prospects, prompting many to commit suicide. But Mai went public and challenged her alleged attackers in court, attracting international attention and becoming a women's rights activist.

The case against her attackers is still in the court system.

Mai initially refused Gabol's offer because he was already married. Pakistan is a majority Muslim nation, and Islamic law allows men to have as many as four wives.

Gabol's first wife met with Mai and persuaded her to marry.

The wedding took place Sunday.

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