The Rape Continues: Kainat Soomro’s Family Threatened for Not Killing Her


When a Pakistani woman gets raped, not only is she held responsible, but any attempt to have the rapists prosecuted by the government is met with resistance.  The only retribution allowed is something called an “honor killing” and amounts to vigilantism.  When a woman is raped, she is designated “kari” or “black female” by the tribal elders, meaning a woman who has had sex outside of marriage.  Women are supposed to accept the abuse under the guise that they somehow deserved it by tempting the male.  Furthermore, the family who raised such a shameful female is also shunned.  And in many cases, unless they also shun their family member who was raped, the family is also subject to further abuse or even murder.

Several of my Pakistani students came to America for this very reason.  In fact, there are several countries from which a woman can seek asylum for this reason. Pakistan is not alone in this type of abuse. And I am very very grateful that I am not the family who had to send my daughter to a foreign country to keep both her and the rest of my family safe.  The stories of being Kari are horrific and I have read so many personal biographies about this that I weep whenever I hear of it.

Kainet Soomro’s story is particularly bad.  It has been going on for four years now.  When she was 13 she was in a store, had a cloth pressed to her mouth and was kidnapped, held captive and raped by four men.  She was held for days and finally escaped, whereupon the elders branded her Kari.  Her family was then pressured to kill her in the name of honor.  They refused and came under fire themselves.

“It is the tradition, but if the family doesn’t permit it, then it won’t happen. My father, my brother, my mom didn’t allow it,” says Kainat.

Because the family refused, and instead attempted to prosecute the parties responsible, their eldest son was killed instead.  In March 2010, 23-year-old Sabir Soomro went missing from the court’s premises when he was going to attend the hearing of his sister’s gang-rape case. The family alleged that the culprits, who were involved in the gang rape, kidnapped him with the help of local police in order to get the family to drop the case. They brought the body to where Kainat and her family have been living since the rape.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan noted that in 2009, roughly 46 percent of all female murders in Pakistan that year were in the name of “honor.” The report noted that a total of 647 incidences of “honor killings” were reported by the Pakistani press. However, experts say that actual incidences of “honor killings” in Pakistan are much higher and never get reported to the police because they are passed off by the families as suicides.

In June of 2010, all of the accused men in Soomro’s case were acquitted, even after the kidnapping and killing of her brother.  Even after the beatings of her father and second brother.  It seems like the rape never stops simply because Kainet is pursuing justice.

This family has suffered enough. The women of Pakistan have suffered enough. Honor killings are anything but.


Related Stories:

Libyan Rape Victims Murdered By Their Families

India’s Supreme Court Says Honor Killings Should be Punished By Death

Indian Women Bludgeoned To Death For Suspected Lesbian Relationship


Photo credit: Brajashwar


Trudy C.
Trudy C6 years ago

To shield rapists and to kill in order to help them escape justice is deeply offensive in the eyes of God/Allah/the Creator. It is the kind of evil that stains.

Carol C.
Carol Cox6 years ago

this custom is right up there with mutilation of genitalia... it must be stopped. stoning women must also stop... and yes, education is key. educated women are stonger. that is why most totalitarian governments prefer a poor, uneducated people.. they are easier to manipulate... Roger is right... VOA is very helpful... also Peace Corp - building schools and wells and houses. not just in Pakistan, but Afganistan and Eastern's one small planet we all share.

Lynda J.
Lynda J6 years ago

Not judgmentalism. There is no place for it amidst such ignorance and paternalism. The change comes with educating women. Pakistani women. And pakistani children in school. Historically that is how such change always takes place. Women will then rise up, march, blog, be arrested, die in detention. Others will follow. Still others will follow. And in the way of Ghandi's peacuful resistance, change will come.

But first, EDUCATION!!! It is the hinge on which all change comes about.

Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

A dreadful place to be a woman.

Kathleen L.
Kathleen L6 years ago

There are many atrocities commited in Pakistan against women. Honoring kiulling, disfiguring by throwing acid or slashing. This was a brave family to defend their daughter. Hope for the day that the women of Pakistan rise up againgst these awful practices

Anna C.
Anna Maria Co6 years ago

There is no honor in killing a victim of rape. A culture that murders is not a culture. It is just a cult. Just like a country who allows murderers to be free is not a country, it's a count... without the o.

Nancy Black
Nancy Black6 years ago

There must be some deep hidden fear and hatred of women lurking in the hearts of men in such a society. To allow rape and then to blame and even kill the victim is unspeakable. Obviously, Soomro's family was different; it took a lot of courage to stand up to that culture; in fact, it took more than courage; it took sacrifice. All of the world should condemn such behavior as Pakistan allows; we should shun such cultures, and we should try to educate the world about sexual equality.

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

I have to applaude the family. They could have taken the easy way out and handed her over but they didn't, which I'm sure took a lot of courage on their part. It's hard to imagine that these bastards not only got away with gang raping a 13yr old but they also got away with murdering her brother. It makes my stomach turn, sickening :-(

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

What is honourable about killing the victim and allowing the rapists freedom and opportunity to do it again?Soon there will be no women left and a a lot of men who are guilty of not only rape but continuing the violence and intimidation that leads to honour killings.

Joy Jin
Joy Jin6 years ago

Honor killings are murder. There is no honor to it.