Shaista Samuel, a 27-year-old Christian nurse at the Services Institute of Medical Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan, filed a police report on Saturday, September 3, alleging she was raped by a Muslim colleague who filmed the act in an attempt to blackmail her into renouncing her faith and marrying him, she and hospital sources told Compass Direct News.
According to the report, Ali Adnan, an assistant accounts officer at the hospital, and an armed accomplice abducted her at gunpoint from the government hospital on Aug. 21 and took her to a house in Lahore where Adnan’s accomplice filmed the rape. “[Adnan] was holding my arm tightly and forcibly led me to a white car in the parking lot,” Samuel said in tears, adding that as they approached the car, Adnan’s accomplice came out of the shadows and placed a handgun to her head. “Adnan said that they would shoot me if I raised my voice. I was in complete shock … my senses went numb, and I could not believe this was happening to me….They ruined my life completely.”
Samuel said she has worked several years at the hospital on good terms with Adnan, thinking of him as a good friend who visited her home and was known by her family. Recently, however, he began acting strangely toward her, criticizing Christians and finally telling her that “he had started liking me and that I should convert to Islam and marry him.” Refusing his “offer” drew his ire and he began harassing her at the workplace and by telephone, finally forcing his way into her house and threatening her and her family, “saying that he would not rest until they marry [her] to him.” He even tried to set the house on fire.
Disturbed by Adnan’s obsessive behavior, Samuel said that she tried her best not to come into any sort of contact with him. However, on Aug. 21, as soon as she entered the hospital, he approached her from behind and forced her to sit in a car in the hospital’s parking area, she said. “All this while he told me not to make a commotion as it would only create an embarrassing situation for me,” she said. “He said he just wanted to talk to me to ‘clear up some misunderstandings.'” While sitting in the car the accomplice appeared, then they drove off. Samuel said the two men held her for over an hour and then dropped her back at the hospital, telling her that if she told anyone about the rape they would send the film to her family and also upload it on social networking sites.
In Pakistan, a rape victim is generally considered too shamed to resume a normal life or pursue marriage. “I was devastated,” she said. “I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I did not share my ordeal with any person, not even my parents. I did not have the courage to tell them that their daughter had been dishonored, and decided to keep my misery to myself … I could not see my father and brothers face the shame brought by my bad luck.”
But Adnan began to blackmail her by phone, demanding that she convert to Islam so he would forgive her for refusing his proposal. He began demanding sexual favors and threatening to come to her home and show the film to her family, attempting to manipulate her through shame, a common tactic in the Pakistani culture. One evening he turned up at her home and showed the film to her parents. “He then told my shocked family that they had no other option but to hand me over to him … he told them that he ‘owned’ me now.” Adnan left the house, leaving the family, members of Church of Pakistan-affiliated St. Andrews Church, in deep anguish.
Christians have little legal or societal standing in Pakistan, and Muslim criminals tend to assume they will not be prosecuted if their victims are Christians. However, Shaista and her family determined to file a FIR (First Incident Report) with the police despite the shame. Persistence with the police on the part of her father and brothers have not resulted in any arrests. “The police deliberately gave them time to get interim [pre-arrest] bails,” Samuel said. Weary of suspicious and questioning eyes at work, Shaista has taken leave from the hospital. The administration has formed a committee to probe into the matter, but no one from the hospital administration has contacted her. The two-member committee includes SIMS medical Superintendent Muhammad Javaid and the hospital’s finance director. Javaid told Compass that the committee would record the statements of the complainant and the accused and would also examine the circumstantial evidence.
Father, we pray courage and favor for Shaista Samuel as she seeks justice from the Pakistani judicial system following the brutal rape that devastated her life. But even if those efforts are not rewarded, we give thanks that her life is in Your loving and just hands. Protect her heart from hatred and bitterness as she fights this battle. We call on You to lift the shame that has come upon her and place her, beyond all hope, into a loving marriage. Amen
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