The word itself suggests evil: baad, the practice of making daughters pay for others’ crimes. A young girl becomes a slave and target for the rage that one family feels toward another. In the end, greater wrongs are committed than the original crime.
Baad is practiced in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The most well-known case is Bibi Aisha whose disfigured face shocked the world on an August 2010 cover of Time.
Assiya was sixteen when a “family friend” sold her to two Pakistani criminals who beat and raped her over the next year. Eventually the criminals traded her to the police in exchange for pinning one of their robberies on the girl.
Assiya had thought her troubles were over. But instead, the officers took their turn beating and raping her for several days before letting her go.
The police weren’t worried Assiya would tell. She was expected to commit suicide, as sexually assaulted girls had always done to rinse the dishonor of sexual assault from their families.
But instead, Assiya did the inconceivable. She accused her attackers.
This story is shocking. Why would anyone, or any culture, expect a raped girl to commit suicide? As though the shame were hers.
Yet sometimes America doesn’t seem so very different.
Cut to the U.S. where fourteen-year-old Samantha Kelly’s mother told police that her daughter had sex with eighteen-year-old Joseph Tarnopolski. He was arrested, though it’s unclear whether the charge was statutory or forcible rape.
After a local Fox News affiliate identified Kelly by name, she was bullied so much at school that she finally committed suicide. Yet another reminder of the stigma victims can face when they report this crime.
It’s sad to see that even today, in Pakistan and in America, rape victims can be shamed into killing themselves.
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