Sexual harassment and violence case
Arooj Bibi aged 17, was sexually harassed by a local at gunpoint, while alone at home on April 21, 2022. Mohammad Abbas s/o Allah Rakha and facilitators (Unknown) invaded the house of Munir Masih in Faisalabad and attacked Arooj Bibi and assaulted her sexually. She cried for help, and neighbors responded immediately to her screams and saved her from being raped.
Munir Masih is aged 50 and his wife Seraphine Bibi aged 45 lived in a small village namely Bilal Town Chak no.266 Khurianwala district Faisalabad. They have six children including Arooj Bibi Munir Masih is a laborer and works on daily wages, earning Rs.700 rupees (€3.27) per day whereas Seraphine Bibi works in a factory and earns Rs.500 rupees (€2.33) per day. Munir’s elder daughters are married and settled with their families whereas his elder son Shahzad Masih lives in Lahore for work.
Arooj Bibi was a student in grade 5 in a government school where she was the only Christian among the Muslim students and faced discrimination for her Christian faith. She was forced to drop out of school and lived at home along with her younger brother Zain Masih.
On April 21, 2022, Arooj’s parents went to their work routine. Bibi was washing clothes on the terrace when a man in vail jumped over the rooftop and began harassing Arooj. The man dragged Arooj towards a store room on the terrace, she screamed and cried for help even though he pointed a gun over her and threatened to shoot her dead.
Arooj Bibi reported to the Christians’ True Spirit – CTS that she was scared after seeing the weapon but kept trying to ask for help and cried loudly. The man slapped Arooj and asked her to keep quiet otherwise she will face consequences. He arrogantly said that no one can stop him from harming a Christian girl (Churi). He kept saying for being not afraid of the police because a friend of his was at the local police station.
Arooj Bibi struggled hard to be saved from bad touches and meanwhile, her shirt got torn from the front. He touched her private parts to fulfill his lust and dragged her down for sexual intercourse. Arooj kept crying and pleading with him to leave but all in vain.
Arooj’s brother Zain Munir heard her cries and rushed towards the rooftop. He became surprised when saw a man in vail fighting with Arooj. Zain tried to set her free from the custody of the accused. Therefore he also slapped Zain and pushed him down the stairs during that commotion accused’s vail dropped off and suddenly Arooj recognized him as a local Muslim named Mohammad Abbas.
Zain managed to go outside and requested neighbors for help as his sister was facing hard. Mohammad Abbas escaped when he saw people coming up to the roof to save Arooj Bibi.
Abbas was the one who harassed Arooj sexually for the last six months. He confessed his love for her and asked Munir Masih for getting married to Arooj Bibi. The proposal was rejected by Munir Masih because of religious differences. Later Mohammad Abbas tried to convince Arooj Bibi to marry her. He became furious when Arooj also refused to do so because of her Christian faith and because she can never embrace Islam.
One of the neighbors named Asghar Din made an emergency call to the police helpline to report the incident and also informed Munir Masih over the telephone. Police arrived in an hour to inquire about the matter but remained failed to get the accused arrested due to the influence.
The parents approached the local police station in Khurianwala district Faisalabad and logged against Mohammad Abbas but the police refused to file the First Information Report – FIR.
Legal assistance and rehabilitation
The distressed family approached CTS on April 28, 2022, and reported the matter. They requested legal assistance for the registration of the case FIR against Mohammad Abass for harassing Arooj Bibi sexually and attempting rape.
While talking to Katherine Sapna Executive Director of CTS, Arooj Bibi showed her grief as she wants justice but due to the police behavior, she was very disappointed and felt helpless when no one heard her cries and punish the accused for this wrongful act. Sapna assured Arooj Bibi that justice will be done so far.
CTS legal team helped the family to get registered a case FIR no. 556/22 offense under section 376, 511 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) through a writ petition in the session’s court Jaranwala on May 1, 2022. Later Arooj’s parents faced a lot of pressure and life threats from the accused and have been forced to withdraw the case.
Shelter and rehabilitation:
Because of violence Arooj Bibi was in trauma and needed psychosocial support for rehabilitation. Her parents requested CTS for her admission at “Panah” – Shelter Home for her safe living and well-being on July 08, 2022. CTS helped Arooj Bibi by providing psychosocial support to get rid of trauma. In “Panah” she has a chance to attend regular Bible classes, spiritual counseling, and mental relaxation exercises. Besides that, she is getting technical skills for her secure future. She is learning male and female tailoring happily with confidence and dignity.