Crime Scene - Lahore hospital
Two months ago, a supposed colleague and 'friend' raped a Christian nurse. Shiasta Samuel, a 27 year old nurse in the SIMS hospital in Lahore, thought she was friends with the chief perpetrator, Ali Adnan, who had an admin role at the hospital. He quite often visited her family. But then he started acting differently, criticising Christian women for not following Muslim dress codes and 'following their own religion'. He then told Miss Samuel that he liked her and she should convert to Islam and marry him, but she refused, citing the fact that she was married and they were of different faiths. Adnan then started harrassing her at home and work, including blocking her way at work, threatening her family if she did not marry him and then setting their house on fire.
Then on 21st of August 2011 he came up behind her and forced her into a car in the car park, saying not to make a fuss as it would be embarrassing for her and that he wanted to 'just clear up some misunderstanding'. As they came to the carpark an accomplice came and put a gun to her head. They raped her and videoed the assualt, and then brought her back, telling her that if she told anyone about the rape, they would send the film to her family and upload it on social networking sites. For a while she complied, to spare her family shame, but Adnan started ringing up to blackmail her. He said she had to convert to Islam, and only then would he 'forgive' her for refusing his proposal. When she refused, he started demanding sexual favours and again threatened to come and show the film to her family, which he then did when she refused.
He told her family that they had no other option but to 'hand her over' to him because he 'owned' her now. This presented the family a terrible dilemma and illustrates the situation faced by Christian women in perverse Pakistani society - in that it is victims of rape who are shamed and publicly pilloried in Pakistan, not the perpetrators. They bravely and commendably decided to report the incident to the police. Those of you who have read this blog for some time will not be surprised at what happened next. The police deliberately gave the perpetrators time to get 'pre-arrest bail' and they fled their homes, even though the victims family went to the police every day to press them to take the statements of the accused. They used delaying tactics and started asking the victim ridiculous questions, thus continuing the trauma she had endured. At work there were constant accusing stares, and eventually she took leave. The administration has set up a committee to probe the affair, but no-one from her work has contacted her.
First of all we would like to applaud the family for seeking justice and not remaining silent, a brave decision, especially since they had to know the police were likely to be difficult. This story amply demonstrates the depraved nature of much of Pakistani society, where Christians feel they have no choice but to put up with the kind of behaviour the rapist (so-called 'friend') displayed against them in their own homes even before the crime, and where the victims of sexual violence are treated as criminals and social pariah's and the perpetrators go free. We can also see how the massive power imbalance is used to try and use rape and shame and blackmail to coerce Christian women to convert. The fact that police so often mirror society's oppression of Christians means criminals feel they can attack Christians with impunity.
Edit - apologies, wrong link used, now updated 19:00 on 14-10-11. Story for other link to follow.