Last week, eight men grabbed a 14-year-old girl as she was retrieving water with her cousins in a rural village in Pakistan. As punishment for her brother’s extra-marital relationship, the men kidnapped and beat her.

While her family initially reported that their daughter had been stripped naked and forced to walk through her village, the family has now revised their statement.

But regardless of the specific means of her torture, this is clearly another case of honor-based violence.

The incident is the most recent example of how Pakistani villagers — often led by local councils known as jirgas — routinely force girls and women to pay for perceived misdeeds, either their family members’ or their own, with their bodies or even their lives, the Guardian reported.

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Though Pakistan has tried to establish laws to protect girls and women from such violence and honor killings, these laws often fail to change the culture in rural villages where local councils — called jirgas — hold sway and a culture of honor-based violence persists.

In July, an informal council ordered the “revenge rape” of a 16-year-old after her brother had raped another young girl. Pakistan police later arrested at least 20 members of the council.

In one province, at least 94 women have been murdered by family members in 2017, including a woman who was decapitated by her husband when she refused to quit her factory job, Human Rights Watch reported.

Read more: Honor Killings: Everything You Should Know, and Why They Aren’t Honorable

A 2011 Thomson Reuters Foundation study ranked Pakistan 3rd on a list of most dangerous countries for women because 90% of women experience domestic abuse and at least 1,000 are murdered in so-called “honor killings” each year.

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Read more: Honor Killings in Pakistan Will Now Carry Mandatory Prison Time

“Unfortunately, despite pro-women legislation we see that in remote areas women are still being bartered as inanimate objects,” human rights activist Samar Minullah told the Guardian.

“We consider girls or women as the honour of a home or a community, yet we dishonour them, barter them and hand them in compensation to end disputes? This is not only illegal but un-Islamic too,” Minullah continued. “I am glad police has taken action, but what about the girl? She will end up living a life of stigma for the rest of her life.


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A 14-Year-Old Girl in Pakistan Was Kidnapped, Beaten for Her Brother’s Affair

By David Brand