Mai's life began to unravel in late June, when her 14-year-old brother Abdul Shakoor was seen walking with his lover, an older girl from the more powerful caste. According to police, the girl's uncles kidnapped Shakoor, beat him up, sodomized him and held him captive in a family compound. The next day, Shakoor's uncle tried to get him released by proposing a formal panchayat. A council was formed by three members of each clan group. After hearing testimony it came to a decision: that Shakoor should marry his girlfriend, and one Tatla girl should be given to a Mastoi son for marriage, along with a parcel of land. The Mastois didn't feel that was enough, so they convened their own council made up of Mastoi men, many of them armed with Kalashnikovs, and demanded that Mai be raped. After her ordeal, she was forced to walk home through the town almost naked.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf condemned the incident and ordered $8,200 to be given to the family for immediate relief. On receiving the money, Mai said she wanted it to be used to build a school in the village. "For the girls," she told a government minister, "because they must no longer remain enclosed in darkness."