The rape of a 16-year-old girl in Pakistan has been ignored by police because she is a Christian, according to Assist News Service and Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Shakeela Siddique, a Christian from Fatewala village in the northeastern Gujranwala district, was reportedly raped by an influential local Muslim landlord in February.
According to the report, Siddique was traumatized and kept quiet about the attack. She later discovered she was pregnant and had an illegal abortion to avoid the social stigma. Subsequently, reports ANS, Siddique suffered from severe depression.
When the girl’s father attempted to confront the alleged rapist, he reportedly was beaten. He told Christian Liberation Front, a Pakistani human rights group: “My everything has been ruined as my daughter is now a living corpse. No Christian in our village dares to raise his voice against the Muslim landlords.”
There are about 150 Muslim families and 50 Christian families living in Fatewala, says the ANS report, and most of the Christians are poor peasants employed by Muslims.
In February 2001, Naira Nadia, a 14-year-old Christian girl, was kidnapped and gang raped by a group of Muslim men, apparently as a reprisal for sharing her faith with her school friends. According to the report, Nadia was forced to convert to Islam, and her parents were sent a certificate of conversion. She has been missing for nearly 17 months.
In Pakistan, women who have been raped are at risk of being accused of committing adultery, the penalty for which is death by stoning. According to the ANS report, to successfully defend a charge of adultery, the burden falls on the victim to prove rape, requiring four adult Muslim males to testify that they have witnessed the act.