Former Pakistani girl disfigured with acid takes own life
Pakistani woman highlighted ongoing spousal abuse issues in Pakistan
A former dancing girl disfigured with acid has ended her life after more
than three dozen surgeries failed to improve her appearance. Fakhra
Younus of Pakistan, jumped from the sixth floor of a building in Rome
where she had been living and receiving
The horrific story highlights the horrible mistreatment that many women face in Pakistan's conservative, male-dominated culture and is a reminder that the country's rich and powerful often appear to operate with impunity.
Her death came less than a month after a Pakistani filmmaker won the country's first Oscar for a documentary about acid attack victims.
The horrific story of Younus highlights the horrible mistreatment many women face in Pakistan's conservative, male-dominated culture and is a reminder that the country's rich and powerful often appear to operate with impunity. Younus' ex-husband, Bilal Khar was eventually acquitted. Many believe he used his connections to escape the law's grip - a common occurrence in Pakistan.
According to The Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organization, more than 8,500 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in 2011. Since the group relied mostly on media reports, the figure is likely an undercount.
"The saddest part is that she realized that the system in Pakistan was never going to provide her with relief or remedy," Nayyar Shabana Kiyani, an activist at The Aurat Foundation. "She was totally disappointed that there was no justice available to her."
Younus was a teenage dancing girl working in the red light district of the southern city of Karachi when she met her future husband, the son of Ghulam Mustafa Khar. The unconventional pairing was the younger Khar's third marriage, who was in his mid-30s at the time.
The couple was married for three years, but Younus eventually left him because he allegedly physically and verbally abused her. She claimed that he came to her mother's house while she was sleeping in May of 2000 and poured acid all over her in the presence of her five-year-old son from a different man.
"So many times we thought she would die in the night because her nose was melted and she couldn't breathe," Tehmina Durrani, Ghulam Mustafa Khar's ex-wife and his son's stepmother. She wrote a book about her own allegedly abusive relationship with the elder Khar. "We used to put a straw in the little bit of her mouth that was left because the rest was all melted together."
She said Younus, whose life had always been hard, became a liability to her family, for whom she was once a source of income.
"Her life was a parched stretch of hard rock on which nothing bloomed," Durrani wrote.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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