“I heard the most piercing scream. I left what I was doing and ran towards the cry for help.”
These were words of Sabrina Iqbal Khan as she retold of the events a fortnight ago, when she saved a woman being pursued by her enraged former partner in Lautoka City.
Ms Khan, a Human Rights lawyer, was in the middle of locking up the law firm she manages, when she and her staff heard a woman’s distressing cry.
Beating on the road
“I just got up and ran. The fact that I was in my heels did not deter me. I ran to where she was and by the time I got there, I saw a man beating up a woman. They were surrounded by a crowd of onlookers who had gathered to watch the whole thing,” she said.
“I called out to the predominantly male onlookers who were around 25 to 30 in number and asked them to help, but they all seemed fearful of the perpetrator.”
Ms Khan, a petite and elegant lady, pushed her way through the crowd and commanded the man to stop punching the woman who was, by now, lying on the road, bleeding, injured and shielding her face from the beating.
“I got through the crowd and I yelled out to the man to stop what he was doing.”
He asked me: “What authority do you have to stop me, who are you to tell me what to do?!”
“I told him that I come with the authority of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and commanded in His name that the man stop beating the woman.
“He was enraged. He cussed and yelled at me demanding to know who I was.”
“I informed him I am an Officer of the Court and a human rights lawyer and he needs to back off. I stood my ground and placed myself between the woman and him. He advanced towards me and I put out my hand as a gesture to stop him.”
The lawyer was a trained martial artist in Shobu Kai Karate, Mixed Martial Arts and Krav Maga and was ready to execute it on the man if the need arose.
“I was not going to hesitate to defend this woman physically if he tried to cause further harm to her or tried to inflict harm on myself. By this time the woman was clinging onto me.”
He backed off in rage.
After speaking to the man, Ms Khan led the woman through the crowd and took her to the law office until the Lautoka Police arrived, and who she said were excellent in their response and duty.
“They were at my office in six minutes. It was amazing and a blessing to see their response to our call for help. My heartfelt thanks to Lautoka Police,” Ms Khan said.
She said that women in Fiji needed to stand up, speak and take action against domestic violence.
“Seriously, we need to encourage our women to know that any form of abuse is unacceptable. There are men who are also survivors of domestic violence. The message is the same for you too. Nobody should tolerate such behaviour,” she said.
Ms Khan continues to support the woman she rescued and has struck up a good friendship with her.
The above report, edited by Jonathan Bryce appeared in Fiji Sun (January 27, 2018) has been published here under a Special Arrangement with the Publication.
Human Rights Lawyer Sabrina Iqbal Khan