Half the Sky- Ch. 4: The Start of Change

Half the Sky When you think of books that get assigned in a class, you immediately think that it will be a dry, monotonous book, that no one besides the scholars truly enjoy reading.  This is what I thought was going to happen when we were assigned Half the Sky, but I could not have been more wrong.

Half the Sky is a book about women standing up for what they believe in and how they overcame extreme tragedy and torture throughout their lives.  Without the will that these women have and the faith that they have towards the people of the world, there would not be any positive change in the world.

The women in this book overcome trial after trial, yet they continue to stay strong to make a change that they wish to see in the world.  They know of the unfairness that can happen to people, and they are working their hardest to stop the abuse that they suffered from occurring to other women.

One of these women was Mukhtar Mai.  She is a girl that lives in Pakistan.  In July of 2002, her brother was kidnapped and gang rapped by the Mastoi, a high-status clan.  When the village meeting took place, Mukhtar went and tried to apologize for the allegations against Shakur- having illicit sex with a Mastoi girl.  When she made the apology, the Mastoi, who dominated the council, thought that the apology was not enough and they ordered Mukhtar to be gang raped.  This is a sentence worse than death because after you are humiliated in this way, it is almost assumed that you will commit suicide to stop the disgrace against your family.  When Mukhtar got home, she was going to go through with the suicide, but her parents stopped her and they watched her until they thought that she would not go through with it.  As the days passed, Mukhtar got angrier with the situation and she decided to go to the police to report the rape. The police arrested the people that had raped her and sued for compensation- the president of Pakistan gave her $8,300.  half-the-sky1

This shows the strength that Mukhtar had in herself and also in those that had supported her, such as her parents and siblings.  However, this was not the only thing that she did to show her strength.  With the money that the president had given her as compensation, she started a school to educate the youth of the area, so hopefully becoming educated would allow the people of the area to stand up for what they know is right.  She went to the school herself and got the education that she always wanted.  As she got her message out, she was getting harassed by the local police on orders from the president.  Because of how people in Pakistan are treated, the president felt that Mukhtar talking was giving Pakistan bad press.  Even though she was being harassed and she thought that they would eventually kill her, she pressed forward so that she could get the message out about what had happened to her and to educate the world about how women are treated in different areas.

Women like Mukhtar are rare in this world.  She comes from an area where women are looked down upon as property and she rose above all of the outside pressures and made the conscious choice to be the change that she wished to see for women.  It is women like her that make a difference and can begin the change of cultures.

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