In the Name of Honor

A Memoir

In the Name of Honor

Foreword by: Nicholas D. Kristof / Translated by: Linda Coverdale / With: Marie-Therese Cuny
In June 2002, journalists throughout the world began to hear of the gang rape of a Pakistani woman from the impoverished village of Meerwala. The rape was ordered by a local clan known as the Mastoi and was arranged as punishment for indiscretions allegedly committed by the woman's brother. While certainly not the first account of a female body being negotiated for honor in a family, and (sadly) not the last, journalists and activists were captivated. This time the survivor had chosen to fight back, and in doing so, single-handedly changed the feminist movement in Pakistan. Her name was Mukhtar Mai, and her decision to stand up to her accusers was an act of bravery unheard of in one of the world's most adverse climates for women.

By July 2002, Mai's case was headline news in Pakistan and under international scrutiny, the government awarded her the equivalent of 8,500 U.S. dollars in compensation money (a historic settlement), and her attackers were sentenced to death. Mukhtar Mai went on to open a school for girls in an effort to ensure that future generations would not suffer, as she had, from illiteracy.

In this rousing account, Mai describes her experience and how she has since become an agent for change and a beacon of hope for oppressed women around the world. Timely and topical, In the Name of Honor is the remarkable and inspirational memoir of a woman who fought and triumphed against exceptional odds.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 192 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416542339 | 
  • October 2006
List Price $16.99 (price may vary by retailer)


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In The Name of Honor
Mukhtar Mai with Marie-Thérèse Cuny
translated by Linda Coverdale

In June of 2002, Mukhtaran Bibi, a young woman living in a small village in Pakistan was brought before her village council to plead forgiveness for a false charge against her young brother. In a shocking abuse of power, the council ordered her gang-raped by four men as retribution. Choosing not to kill herself, as many dishonored women would, she opted instead to fight back with the only weapon at her disposal - the truth. Speaking fearlessly to journalists and government officials, she was able to bring her attackers to trial and win a verdict that struck a blow against a barbaric tradition of violence towards women. Starting with money given her by the government, Bibi opened a school for both boys and girls in her native village, pouring her passion into educating those who would be otherwise powerless. She became Mukhtar Mai, "beloved older sister" to her students, and a hero to those who champion human rights throughout the world. Her struggles did not end there, however, and so here she tells her story, further empowering the women of Pakistan by continuing to spreading her truth.

Reading Guide
1) Mai describes her shifting thoughts after the rape, from numb devastation and plans for suicide into determination for justice. What were the personal and cultural factors that led to her suicidal thoughts? see more

About the Author

Mukhtar Mai

Mukhtar Mai is now a leading example for women in her native country and around the globe. With her compensation money she has opened two schools in her village, one for girls and another for boys. In August 2005, she was awarded the Fatima Jinnah gold medal for bravery and courage by the Pakistani government and was named Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine. In 2006, Time magazine listed her in their issue on the 100 most influential people in the world, and she was also awarded the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe.