‘Life is such a blessing’: The incredible bravery of Pakistani women who suffered horrific acid attacks in the name of ‘family honour’

Daily Mail

By Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 16:12 GMT, 2 June 2012 | UPDATED: 16:20 GMT, 2 June 2012

After six years of abuse, Allah Rakhi was walking out of her marriage when her husband struck again. Snatching a knife, he sliced off her nose. ‘You’re no longer beautiful!’ he shouted.

He then slashed at her foot – brutal punishment for leaving the house without his permission.

‘A woman is only a woman inside the home, outside she’s a whore!’ he yelled at Rakhi as she lay bleeding on the dusty street just outside her home.

That was 32 years ago.



Years of abuse: Pakistani Allah Rakhi, 51, whose husband sliced off her nose and slashed her right foot with a razor in 1980, when she was 19. After marrying at 13, Rakhi suffered six years of abuse at the hands of her husband, right, she holds a photo of them before the attack

asdfSurvivor: Acid attack survivor, Shamma Maqsood, 24, holds a picture of herself before the vicious assault. Shamma was attacked by her husband on March 20, 2012, following an argument about him being jobless

All that time, Rakhi hid her disfigured face under a veil. Then in March, a surgeon took up her case. He cut flesh from her ribs and fashioned it into a new nose, transforming her life.

While the details of every case of violence against Pakistani woman differ, many are based on a concept of ‘family honor.’

Women can be targeted for suspicion of an affair, wishing to divorce or dressing inappropriately. Hundreds women are murdered each year because of mere suspicions.

asdfVictim: Pakistani acid attack survivor, Naila Farhat, 22, was attacked in 2003 by her teacher’s friend, after her parents refused his marriage proposal. She holds a photo of herself before the attack


asdfAcid attack survivor: Naziran Bibi, 25, shows a picture of herself before the attack, at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), in Islamabad, Pakistan. Naziran, who was treated badly by her second husband and his first wife, was attacked in 2008, by an unknown person while she was sleeping


asdfComing together: Rakhi, 51, fourth left, stands with acid attack survivors, outside Benazir Bhutto hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

The nose is considered the symbol of family honor in Pakistan – explaining why a woman’s nose is often the target of spousal abuse. A popular plea from parents to children is ‘Please take care of our nose,’ which means, ‘don’t do anything that tarnishes the reputation of the family.’

Rooted in tribal ideas that a woman’s chastity is the property of the man, honor killings are practiced in much of the Arab world and South Asia. They have also been carried out by immigrants from those regions to the West.

Pakistani courts have a history of letting off offenders or giving them only light punishment, assuming the cases get to trial at all.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

6 Replies to “‘Life is such a blessing’: The incredible bravery of Pakistani women who suffered horrific acid attacks in the name of ‘family honour’”

  1. Muslims do have a system of respect, mannerisms, conduct, some may call it “honour”. Its values we hold dear and we will hold onto. Go out on a friday night and look at how the English girls behave, drunk, vomiting on the streets, stumble around as they are so intoxicated, do you think this is how Muslims want to behave? Not at all. Its not just Muslims who live by this code of “izzet”, most south asians, orientals, africans hold similar values. I am proud of these values, and proud to say yes, honour is important to me and my family. As for honour killings, these are rare and completely unjustified. But when you talk of honour, trust me when I say honour and izzet is important to many.

    The number of ‘native’ British women killed by their native British husbands in domestic violence absolutely swamps the number of ‘honour killings’. But ‘honour killings’ in the Asian community is given all the attention. British families would give the same responses if you asked ‘would you be tempted to take action if someone had raped your daughter?’. Thus ‘proving’ that most Brits approve of honour killings. Violence against women in one form or another is cross cultural. One only needs to look at the domestic violence statistics. And not to forget that domestic violence against men is quite common too, but not spoken off. This is yet another bash the Muslims article and then everyone wonders why the community feels so alienated. All those who are making references to Islam with respect to honour killings I would just like to point out that it is not an Islamic issue. Honour killings have a cultural basis NOT RELIGIOUS!! the concept of bringing dishonour on the family is a cultural one totally. And honour killings are prevalent amongst all ethnic minorities amongst them are SIKHS, HINDUS, BHUDDISTS, etc!! Stop making Islam a scapegoat!

    The one in 5 (not two thirds) agree that they should live by ‘izzat’ which is morals and respect NOT honour based violence. Anyone who thinks this is wrong is a binge drinking, uneducated, moral-less fool whose opinions most Muslims couldn’t care less about.
    Living by honour is a good thing. Everyone has some honour in thier families

    To be fair, 1 in 5 people from any race, class, grouping or nation will probably be in favour of some sort of violence against people who break a traditional social norm, like wanting to remove the queen, enjoying recreational drugs, falsely claiming benefits. Just saying, every group of people has those that tend towards violence when everyone else thinks it’s a bad idea. Easy for English people to say all they do is sleep around and get wasted when weekend comes, majority of ur children are without parents. Filthy people don’t judge Muslims way of life.

    Also the term ‘honour’ can refer to a great many things ranging from not getting knocked up outside of marriage to living your life according to a set moral standards…respect, helping others, charity…these all fall under Asian honour code. As a muslim, we have a duty to preserve honour in the family in what ever means necessary. Violence should be last resort but can be done if no alternative. Honour allows family members and people to act respectfully and honorably and know the consequences if they didnt. Anyone who doesnt cannot love their family enough

    Honour killing and female infanticide come from Pagan-Hindu-Judeo-Christian traditions. Hindus idolise women as Goddesses on one hand, while downgrading them on the sly at the same time. There is nothing in the Holy Quran and the Hadiths that may encourage people to kill their daughters. Infact, Islam came to abolish the dark ages of Pagan- Hindu –Judeo- Christian traditions. Islam is a matter of choice and there is no compulsion at all. It is a misconception that forced marriage and honour killing are part of Muslim culture. Forced marriage, honour killing and genital mutilation are rare practices among migrant communities. Muslim migrants are worried about institutional racism, binge drinking, drug addiction, incivility, gun and knife crimes, high rate of abortions and teen age pregnancies. An average of 20 English girls under the age of 16 falls pregnant every day. Muslim parents do not want their children to be integrated into such barbarity. Muslim women feel torn between two cultures, thanks to the British education system with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. It makes their lives very confusing.

    Plenty of women have been killed in the UK by men and others, for various reasons. How many articles have been on here about men killing their wives and children for wanting a divorce? How many men have killed their girlfriends or wives for cheating on them? One too many. Those are also all the same. The skin colour of the perpetrator or victim doesn’t change the category of crime. ALL murders have a motive, and you’ve been dealing with domestic violence for centuries now. Why more outraged over this but not the others? Are the other victims less worthy of attention just because they were killed by “white British” people?

    A girl murdered by her boyfriend, happens all over the World, how is that a honour killing? Will you please stop calling murder honour killing

    Western media please do not use the term ‘honour killing’. Thee is nothing to honour in murder.

    • What of the women falsely accused and falsely punished? I as a Native American, in our culture women are respected highly. In some tribes women are the Chiefs. There’s no use for them to cover themselves. Under Gods eyes were all equal. He don’t see us by our sex, he is not a horny God. He sees us by our hearts. God is so powerful, why would he want us to serve a religion before him?

  2. Iftikhar Ahmad…Its very thoughtful about ur support for brutality in the name of honor killing or izzet…Lets talk about what u people ve wrought to our peaceful world..who are terrorists??…they all are muslim bastards like u…how ll u justify this…what about brutal animal slaughtering in the name of halal…u guyz are born hooligans….does the word HUMANITY mean anything to u….?u filthy bastards are inborn terrorists..u guyz dont know what it is to be benevolent..all u know is how to fuck ur allah and quaron…we ll destroy all of u from the face of earth…u ahmad son of a bitch…

  3. You can argue all you want about the relation islam has with these cowardly acts, but the law of percentages suggest what ideaology forms the mentality where someone feels this is justifiable punishment, let alone what’s given cause to warrant this punishment. The relation between the occurances of these acts and the social demographic where they occur, is irrefutable evidence of the ideaology that generates the behavioural characteristics responsible for this barbarism. It may well not be religiously sanctioned, however these acts are certainly condoned by islam, and that is demonstrated by the frequency, victims and perpetrators involved in this fact of islamic life. The difference between instances where it happens in the west is that society holds the perpetrator accountable and is usually (well we’d like to think so) punished accordingly. Punishment for a male seldom occurs in any society governed by sharia’h.

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