Pakistan: Christian women fear rape & torture

religion | Jun 06, 2009 | By Spero News

A study conducted by the University of Birmingham, UK, in 2006 revealed that Christians women in Pakistan faced discrimination. Christians were called with a derogatory name which is used commonly in Pakistan is “sweeper” which refers to the “worst of all” – a dalit Christian.

Both educated and uneducated Christian women admitted that they had been asked numerous times by others if they would convert to Islam. Some also experienced reverse discrimination when they befriended someone Muslim, as some of their Christian friends criticized them. One student said that her marks at school were lowered when her teacher realized she was Christian.

Those who come from much greater disadvantaged backgrounds, on the other hand, shared much more serious grievances. Women from disadvantaged backgrounds described how legal and police protection systems in Pakistan had failed minorities. For a few, this included their own experience or someone they knew who had experienced rape, assault or torture as Police forces did little to nothing to help them.

“The general attitude in Pakistan is that if you are rich you are respectable and if you are poor you are not,” said a woman. Consensus in attitudes among all the women pointed to feelings that the less educated and “poorer” Muslims were, the more like they were to act from a “habit of discrimination.”

For protection, minority women and their families, whether poor or middle class, often try to hide or mask their religious beliefs for safety at work and in public. Under reported cases of rape and torture of religious minority women and girls presents an ever present human rights crisis. Police corruption, along with abysmal Pakistani prison and jail conditions, creates an atmosphere of intimidation and non-accountability.

Source: Minorities Concern of Pakistan.

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