The Dastak Charitable Trust in Lahore, Pakistan, has given shelter to more than 6,000 women in crisis since 1990. Those served include women who are escaping domestic violence, state torture, forced marriage, rape, or sexual abuse. The facility offers temporary safe haven during which women can receive medical aid and legal counsel. When I visited Dastak last month with a group of U.S. journalists, 29 women and children were living at the shelter, which has a capacity of up to 40. Three of the Urdu-speaking shelter residents agreed to be interviewed through a translator, and each asked that their names be changed to pseudonyms in this report to protect their privacy.
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