From the New York Times:
Pakistani Woman Who Shattered Stigma of Rape Is Married
By SALMAN MASOOD
Published: March 17, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Mukhtar Mai, the resilient Pakistani who was gang raped in 2002 on the orders of a village council but became a symbol of hope for voiceless and oppressed women, has married.
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Anjum Naveed/Associated Press
Mukhtar Mai reacted to the Pakistan Supreme Court's decision in 2005, which overturned the acquittals of 13 men accused in her gang rape.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Mukhtar, 37, said her new husband was a police constable who was assigned to guard her in the wake of the attack and who had been asking for her hand for several years. She is his second wife.
She said the constable, Nasir Abbas Gabol, 30, and she married Sunday in a simple ceremony in her dusty farming village, Meerwala, in Punjab Province.
“He says he madly fell in love with me,” Ms. Mukhtar said with a big laugh when asked what finally persuaded her to say yes.
Pakistani rape victims often commit suicide, but Ms. Mukhtar, who is also know as Mukhtaran Bibi, instead successfully challenged her attackers in court, winning international renown for her bravery. She runs several schools, an ambulance service and a women’s aid group in her village and has written an autobiography. By marrying, she has defeated another stigma against rape victims in conservative Pakistani society.
The village council ordered her rape as a punishment for actions attributed to her younger brother. He was accused of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan, but investigations showed that the boy had been molested by three of that clan’s tribesmen, and the accusation against him had been a cover-up.
Mr. Gabol was one of a group of police officers deployed to protect her after she was threatened by the rapists’ relatives to try to stop her from pressing charges.
Mr. Gabol had a hard time persuading Ms. Mukhtar to marry. He had been calling her off and on since 2003 but formally proposed a year and a half ago, she said. “But I told my parents I don’t want to get married.”
Finally, four months ago, he tried to kill himself by taking sleeping pills. “The morning after he attempted suicide, his wife and parents met my parents but I still refused,” Ms. Mukhtar said.
Mr. Gabol then threatened to divorce his first wife, Shumaila.
Ms. Shumaila, along with Mr. Gabol’s parents and sisters, tried to talk Ms. Mukhtar into marrying him, taking on the status of second wife. In Pakistan, a man can legally have up to four wives.
It was her concern about Ms. Shumaila, Ms. Mukhtar said, that moved her to relent.
“I am a woman and can understand the pain and difficulties faced by another woman,” Ms. Mukhtar said. “She is a good woman.”
In the end, Ms. Mukhtar put a few conditions on Mr. Gabol. He had to transfer the ownership of his ancestral house to his first wife, agree to give her a plot of land and a monthly stipend of roughly $125.
Asked if she had plans to leave her village to live with her husband in his village, Ms. Mukhtar said no. “I have seen pain and happiness in Meerwala. I cannot think of leaving this place.”
Her husband, she said, “can come here whenever he wants and finds it convenient.”