In December 2011, UAF received a request from DDS to organize a media and public awareness campaign around a recent case where two young minority women were raped and the perpetrators were not being brought to justice. Although this is unfortunately a common occurrence, the case is particularly symbolic and ironic given that on the very same day, Pakistan’s president had signed into law two new bills specifically addressing violence against women. The WEP, a women-led program within DDS, sees this as an opportunity to highlight the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of violence against women, especially minority women, and proposes to expose the details of these two rape cases in order to raise awareness of systemic corruption and discrimination faced by women. Although the rapists were arrested, they have not been found guilty, and they are threatening the families of the victims and bribing police to release them. Being part of the Muslim majority, the rapists are also being defended by powerful local authorities, who are exerting pressure on the families of the women to settle the case out of court.
DDS requested funds to conduct a media campaign targeting print and electronic media, to organize a march to the shrine of a local poet who is a symbol of women’s rights, and to organize a conference in the town where the young women were raped. The march aims to engage women from all walks of life and give public visibility, while the conference aims to engage local police, lawyers, journalists, and activists with the goal of building a framework for responding to situations of violence against minority women.