Clutching a glass rectangular-shaped trophy, gang rape survivor Kainat Soomro smiled and said the possession is the first fruit of her struggle against her rapists.
A short film made on her life, ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’ recently bagged the Cinema for Peace Berlin 2014 award, making her one of the recipients of the award. Presented under the category of Cinema for Peace Award for Justice 2014, the award along with Soomro, was also given out to the two journalists behind the film.
The short film is produced and directed by Pakistani-Canadian journalist Habiba Nosheen and German Journalist Hilke Schellmann, who focuses on the survivor’s struggles in taking her four accused rapists to court.
The film also speaks about her life in Karachi where Soomro was forced to flee from her village in Dadu in 2007, only a teenager at the time – her brother murdered by the rapists and false accusations and cases registered against her family. All because Soomro decided to raise her voice, demanding justice.
Soomro, who was invited to the ceremony in Berlin last month but was unable to make it because her passport wasn’t made on time, said she was happy at the recognition. “I am glad that my life’s difficulties were highlighted therefore the whole world and that my struggle to get justice was promoted. However, I would be happier if all my accused rapists are punished for their crime.”
The award was initially sent to her lawyer Faisal Siddiqi, who handed it to her. Soomro said that the award has highlighted her plight on an international platform and hopes that this will motivate people to support her cause and help her. “I appeal to Bilawal Bhutto to consider me his sister and do something for me,” she said. “I have been living in Karachi for the last seven years, unable to go back home, and my rapists are still roaming around freely, threatening me constantly as they misuse their influence.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.