Courage Through Danger (Season One)

I started working as a stringer for different media. The era was rich in events. There was enormous flooding in 2010. I covered bomb attacks, criminal stories, camel or dog fights. I also covered the story of Mukhtar Mai, the victim of a gang rape who sought redress in court and became a symbol of hope and resistance. That’s the one I preferred. I heard her voice condemning the rape she suffered and spreading to the world from her small dusty village in central Pakistan. What was the experience of seeing a village become a source of inspiration in the fight against rape, launching schools and shelters for girls and women victims of violence from their families or husbands?

A few years after I started working as a camerawoman in the Pakistan region where I live, the men attacked me because I was filming. They pushed me and jostled and broke my camera. My mother and my worried relatives tried to persuade me to change jobs, to find work in an office. I refused.

“There is no really safe place for a woman in Pakistan”

“There is no really safe place for a woman in Pakistan,” I told them. “The danger is everywhere, wherever I am. I know and love my work. When I work in danger, it makes me stronger. I feel more alive. “

Working as a photographer and camerawoman is a real challenge in my country. It is very socially conservative and the city where I live, Multan in Punjab, has a reputation for violence against women. We hear of only “honor killings”, collective rapes approved by village councils, or young girls given to a rival to close a different one.

It’s even harder if you do something that breaks with tradition: a woman filming an event. I always have one eye in the viewfinder and the other on the men who come near to look at me. When I go to the south, to cover, for example, the activities of extremists in rural areas, I am even more cautious.

I started at the age of 18, in a very simple way, when a neighbor asked me to film a wedding in the traditionally reserved area for women. He put a big VHS camera in my hands and gave me some advice. The result was not too bad.

The neighbor encouraged me by offering me a new job.

I was very excited to be able to help my family by adding a little to the modest income from my father’s goat business.

The next time I tangled the brushes in the settings, and the result was all blue. The customer was so unhappy that he did not pay my neighbor.

I dropped out to finish my schooling, with the equivalent of the baccalaureate. But I had to interrupt him to take care of my mother, who fell ill and was hospitalized.

Then I had to take care of the household.

I then asked my neighbor, Iqbal Butt, to teach me the job of videographer and editing. Very quickly I earned 400 rupees (about 40 dollars) a day by filming wedding videos. I started taking care of the office as well.

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