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Condemned to death: Heartbreaking film documents plight of gang-rape victim

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Gang-raped at the age of 13, a Pakistani girl fought to bring her attackers to justice - and found that her society wouldn't hear of it. The subject of the heartbreaking documentary, "Outlawed in Pakistan" tells the sad story of Kainat Soomro, he was attacked through no fault of her own - and had to bear the brunt of her community's calls for her family to disown her.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kainat was labeled a "kari," or "black virgin." Her own family was ordered to kill her in order to rid themselves of shame after she said she was attacked by four men as a 13-year-old in 2007.

Kainat's relatives refused to turn their back on her, however, and vowed to support her as she took the extraordinary step of fighting for justice in defiance of moral laws that have been in place in Pakistan for centuries.

While many years have passed since Kainat's nightmare ordeal, her family was forced out of their village, Dadu, amid threats of violence and murder. In addition, her father and one of her brothers were beaten, while an older brother disappeared for three months before being found murdered.

Pakistan's legal system, which places the burden of proof on the victim ended with Kainat's alleged attackers being acquitted.

Her family now lives in a cramped two bedroom apartment in Karachi and say they have "lost everything."

A documentary, called "Outlawed in Pakistan," tells the story of Kainat's fight for justice against the odds. First unveiled at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, it was aired for the first time on U.S. television last week.
 
"They told me I am not a real man," Kainat's brother, Sabir, says in the documentary. "[that] you failed to follow your tradition, you failed to kill your sister."

In the documentary, Kainat hires a lawyer, makes television appearances and appeals against court decisions.

But despite her persistence, the film's narrator tells how the judge describes her accusations as "a product of her own fantasy." Following their acquittal, the men she accused wonder why she didn't just stay home "and keep quiet."

"Outlawed in Pakistan" while shining a spotlight on the plight Kainat faces - she insists that she will never give up.

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