After Girl's Death, Evidence Suggests a Serial Killer of Kids

Pakistan rocked by brutal rape and killing of Zainab Ansari
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2018 2:38 AM CST
Child's Murder Galvanizes Pakistani #MeToo Movement
In this Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 photo, a Pakistani girl lights a candle during a memorial for Zainab Ansari, in Islamabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

(Newser) – The brutal rape and killing of Zainab Ansari, a 7-year-old girl whose body was left in a garbage dump, has unleashed a wave of revulsion around Pakistan, revealing a string of child abductions and killings by a suspected serial predator and generating outrage at a culture of silence surrounding sexual abuse. Zainab's death has even given birth to a nascent Pakistani version of the #MeToo movement, the AP reports. A number of prominent Pakistani women have come forward with their own stories of sexual assault, saying they want to change traditions that consider abuse as a mark of shame for the victim. Those traditions, they say, help predators get away with abuse and encourage an already corrupt police force to ignore such crimes. Following the outrage, a suspect was arrested Tuesday outside Zainab's native Kasur, reports the AP; her father publicly demanded he be hanged.

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Maheen Khan, a legendary Pakistani fashion designer, tweeted that she had been sexually abused as a child by an Islamic cleric. "We are now saying enough is enough. We should have woken up long ago," the 73-year-old says. "I am ashamed to say it has taken this one little girl's death." It was only after the shock over Zainab that news emerged of other children abducted and raped in the city of Kasur. Amid the uproar, police did testing on the victims and found the same DNA on eight of the children, all but one of whom was killed. Zainab's father, Mohammed Amin Ansari, denounced police for failing to warn residents about a serial killer in the city. "People don't talk about sexual abuse," he said. The AP has much more on the young victims here.

(Read more Pakistan stories.)

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