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Heroes You Should Know: Mukhtar Mai

 At 13 years old, Mukhtar Mai was forced into marriage in rural Pakistan.  Within a few years she was divorced and living with her parents.  With no education, Mai made the best of her situation by working as a seamstress and within a few years had saved enough to purchase her own cattle.  But at 28 her world changed forever.  When her 12 year-old brother was wrongly accused of sexual relations outside of marriage, Mai was gang raped by six men on the orders of a tribal court as an act of “honor revenge”.  Expected to commit suicide, she chose instead to file charges. Although five of the six rapists were eventually acquitted, Mai’s story quickly gained both national and international headlines.  And Mai had a vision. In 2006, she established Mukhtar Mai Women’s Organization, which includes a school where 550 girls receive free education, books, and uniforms from nursery school to the beginning of high school. Additionally, the organization has established a women’s shelter for women fleeing domestic abuse, and a women’s resources center where legal, medical, and psychological support can be found. Although the Pakistani government has admitted to placing restrictions on her movements, and her safety remains in jeopardy because of her work, Mai continues to speak out on women’s rights in Pakistan. Her memoir, In the Name of Honor, has been translated into 23 languages and a movie about her life is in production. Muhktar Mai is a hero you should know. And I’m Dr. Ross Porter.

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