Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  2008
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; Arabic / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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The story of Mukhtar Mai, whose demands for justice after being raped, led to an historic series of legal proceedings in Pakistan, and media coverage worldwide.


In June 2002, a dispute involving a question of honor between the Mai and Mastois clans in rural Pakistan was judged by a local tribal council. When Mukhtar Mai pleaded on her family's behalf, the local imam consented to her punishment as honor-revenge, and she was brutally gang-raped by four men from the Mastois clan.

Although local tradition presumed that Mukhtar would commit suicide because she had been dishonored, this strong-willed peasant woman reported the rape to the local police, and when they refused to do anything, a local journalist published her story, which soon erupted in a national controversy over the oppression of women under Islamic law.

DISHONORED documents the remarkable story of Mukhtar Mai, whose demand for justice received media coverage worldwide, and which over the next few years led to a dramatic series of legal proceedings through Pakistan's lower court system, with successive controversial decisions being appealed, to a final ruling by the nation's Supreme Court, which led to changes in the legal system.

Over a period of four years, despite death threats, Mukhtar Mai persisted in her search for justice, and was also instrumental in establishing a Crisis Relief Centre for abused women and a new school where girls as well as boys can be educated, had her autobiography published in 21 languages in 45 different countries, and traveled on behalf of women's rights throughout Europe and at the UN in New York

DISHONORED features interviews with Mukhtar Mai as well as a variety of human rights and women's rights activists, lawyers, government officials, politicians and journalists, all of which serve to illuminate the widespread abuse of women throughout the region.

'Astounding... takes the viewer through the legal system and cultural system that suppresses women's rights... Excellent sound, photography and editing... A story of conviction. A story of changing reality. A must see.' -Educational Media Reviews Online

'The film's focus...does an exceptional job of showing the intricacies of legal proceedings in Pakistan and how gender inequality, politics, religion, and activism influence these proceedings.' -Asian Educational Media Service (Spring 2011)


** 2008 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival


Main credits

Norderval, Sigrun (screenwriter)
Norderval, Sigrun (film producer)
Norderval, Sigrun (film director)
Andreassen, Gard A. (film director)
Qureshi, Nasrullah (film producer)
Pendry, Kate (narrator)

Other credits

Music, Dreamscores, Elias.

Distributor credits

A Film by Sigrun Norderval and Gard A. Andreassen

Docuseek2 subjects

Women's Studies
Women's History
Human Rights
Law and Legal Studies
Comparative Law

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Criminal Justice
Human Rights
Social Movements
South Asia
Women's Studies


Women's rights; Pakistan; Pakistani; women; abuse; justice; Justice; law; Legal system; rape; documentary; film; video; Mukhtar Mai; DVD; women in Pakistan; "Dishonored"; Icarus Films

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