Don’t Force Rape Survivors to Marry Their Alleged Attackers

Target: Ayaz Sadiq, Law Minister of Pakistan

Goal: Change laws that fail to punish convicted rapists to the fullest extent.

A woman in Pakistan is reportedly being forced to marry her accused rapist as part of a “plea bargain” approved by the courts. This female apparently had no input in the decision either; it was supposedly orchestrated by her family and a so-called council of elders. The man, meanwhile, avoids a life sentence while forcing his alleged victim to live with him every day, potentially for the rest of their lives. The court justified this decision as a compromise because the woman is deaf and the reported rape resulted in a child. These circumstances, however, only compound the lifelong violation the court has inflicted on an apparent rape victim and her defenseless child.

Unfortunately, such legalized abuses are nothing new in the country. While it has worked to improve women’s rights, social stigmas still remain around the topic of rape in Pakistan. The massive majority of sexual assaults go unreported, and even the cases that are brought before the legal system only carry a scant two percent conviction rate.

Advocates for women argue that the way rape is classified within the system is a sizeable part of the problem. Instead of approaching this crime as an offense against the state (as in other nations), rape is seen as a private crime committed against a person. Therefore, financial payoffs and other dubious “settlements” like in the aforementioned case are commonplace.

Sign the petition below to urge an amendment to laws that prioritize criminals over their victims.


Dear Minister Sadiq,

“The compromise was affected in the best interest of the child and his mother being a special person.” Reading this court document, one might assume that a peaceful plan of coexistence was reached by two loving parents. The incident this document does detail, however, involves an accused rapist, his deaf reported victim, the child that was born from this alleged crime, and the court that wants to potentially re-victimize this woman for the rest of her life by forcing her to marry said accused rapist.

This disturbing case out of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is tragically not surprising, but it does reinforce the need for an urgent change in Pakistan’s sexual assault laws. By not recognizing rape and other sexually based offenses as crimes against the state, victims are left at the mercy of intimidation, bribery, and horrific “solutions” signed off by the system that should be protecting them. The nation’s two percent conviction rate for reported sexual assaults speaks to the depth of the problem. And the ongoing incidents such as the seeming gang rape of a young woman at a public Islamabad park reflect accusations made by critics of a “rape epidemic.”

This government claims to want continued progress on equality and to quell protests from discontented citizens. Please prove your commitment. Support and enact an urgent revision to these lacking laws, for the sake of the most vulnerable Pakistanis.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Anete Lusina


  1. Dawn Richardson says:

    Pakistan is an evil regime. Impose sanctions and stand up for women.

  2. Staci Wade says:


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