Tue 20 Feb 2018, 09:58
The story of Saba, the 19-year-old survivor of an attempted honour killing in Pakistan, is now on Showmax.
“I slowly regained consciousness and got out of the river.”
A remarkable sentence, especially because the woman speaking is talking about the night her father and uncle took her to the banks of a river, beat her and shot her in the face and the arm, and then put her in a bag and threw her into the water, leaving her for dead.
But Saba did not die. She walked to a gas station and made it to a hospital, and now she tells her story in the chilling HBO documentary A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.
Winner of the Oscar in 2016 for Best Documentary: Short Subject and the coveted World Cinema Award for Best International Short, the 40-minute film gives an eye-opening perspective on the tradition of men murdering young women in their family who bring “dishonour”, usually by disobeying their family’s wishes for their arranged marriages. Around 500 women are killed in Pakistan in “honour killings” every year, though there are cases reported all over the world, including India and the United States.
“The world should see this,” Saba says. “Brothers, sisters, parents, uncles and aunts. So this doesn’t happen again.”
With her father and uncle at large, where could Saba go after being discharged from hospital? Would she ever be able to live with Qaiser, the man she married against her family’s wishes? And what about her father and her uncle - could they be brought to justice under Pakistani law, which favours men over women, no matter what crimes they commit?
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