Pakistani gang rape victim walks the fashion runway
Gang-raped and paraded naked in public 14 years ago, Mukhtar Mai walked the fashion runway during Pakistan's fashion week. A red-carpet reception in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, attended by the country's fashion elite, served as the forum for Mai's symbolic fashion debut - something she said she's doing as a model of courage and hope for other Pakistani women.
“If one step I take, if that helps even one woman, I would be very happy to do that,” Mai told The Associated Press. In 2002, Mai was sentenced by a local council of tribal elders to be gang raped and publicly humiliated as punishment for her brother's perceived insult to a rival family. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they choose to identify themselves.
Rather than commit suicide, as many Pakistani women in her position have done, Mai went public and fought all the way to the country's Supreme Court to have her attackers jailed. Fourteen men - the alleged rapists and the tribal council members - were put on trial, and six were handed the death sentence.
But all of them were eventually released on appeal. On Tuesday night, surrounded by Pakistan's top models and wealthy designers, Mai appeared slightly shy and nervous when faced with the blitz of cameras. Mai, now 44, wore a light green embroidered bridal shirt and silver, silk pajama pants, designed by Rozina Munib, with a scarf covering her hair.