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May 11 , 2008

In the Name of Honor

A Memoir


In June 2002, journalists throughout the world began to hear of the gang rape of a Pakistani woman from the impoverished village of Meerwala. The rape was ordered by a local clan known as the Mastoi and was arranged as punishment for indiscretions allegedly committed by the woman's brother. While certainly not the first account of a female body being negotiated for honor in a family, and (sadly) not the last, journalists and activists were captivated. This time the survivor had chosen to fight back, and in doing so, single-handedly changed the feminist movement in Pakistan. Her name was Mukhtar Mai, and her decision to stand up to her accusers was an act of bravery unheard of in one of the world's most adverse climates for women.

By July 2002, Mai's case was headline news in Pakistan and under international scrutiny, the government awarded her the equivalent of 8,500 U.S. dollars in compensation money (a historic settlement), and her attackers were sentenced to death. Mukhtar Mai went on to open a school for girls in an effort to ensure that future generations would not suffer, as she had, from illiteracy.

In this rousing account, Mai describes her experience and how she has since become an agent for change and a beacon of hope for oppressed women around the world. Timely and topical, In the Name of Honor is the remarkable and inspirational memoir of a woman who fought and triumphed against exceptional odds.
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