The tail of a salmon and the words of a girl are the slipperiest things on the planet.
“All I want is to marry the man who raped me.”
She buys biscuits when she has a little money over and cries when her mother is not around. When the baby cries she becomes angry. Shazia is perhaps 15 years old, she is not really sure. She started working when she was very young, and two years ago she began to work as a maid in a family of jewellers in Lahore. There were four sons; two of them raped her. First the older one, then the younger. Shazia didn’t dare to protest. The boys threatened to report her to a police officer who lived in the building if she told anyone what they had done, and she was afraid of the police.
Her brother and some of the other villagers threatened to kill her.
When Shazia started being sick, she realised she was pregnant. It was too late into the pregnancy to do anything about it. Her employer threw her out and she went home to the village, but she couldn’t stay there. Her brother and some of the other villagers threatened to kill her. Then her mother took her into town, where they reported the rapes to the police. The police arrested the boys but soon released them.
When the trial started, the baby was four days old. The boys’ mother claimed that Shazia had been given money even though her sons were innocent. Shazia offered to withdraw her police report on one condition – that one of the boys marry her. It doesn’t matter which one. Shazia can’t go back to the village as an unmarried woman. It’s too dangerous, both for her and for her daughter. And she’s hardly likely to get a job.
Is that what you want? To marry the man who raped you?
The girl nods slowly and looks at the baby lying on her lap. Yes, she does. It’s her only option.
Now they are going to do a DNA test to determine who the father is, but in Pakistan the person who has money usually wins, even in a laboratory.