Victim Blaming

The recent surge in cases has made victim blaming all the more unacceptable

Over the past few years Pakistan has witnessed a phenomenal rise in rape, assault and abuse cases. Some cases are reported by the victims or their families while most of the cases remain unreported. The reason behind that is pressure from the family and society. Also a big reason that stops victims from reporting is the lack of trust in the judicial system. However the reported cases are mostly pending in courts and the culprits get away due to weak prosecution.

Pakistan is a country with an approximately 49 percent female population. Here, women play a vital role in the economy and progress of the country be it in the fields of politics, journalism, business, education, or others,  but this is one side of the picture.

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The other side has been quite horrific and devastating. On 14th August,  a mob of 400 men openly abused and assaulted a female TikToker, who was filming a video in front of Minar-e-Pakistan which happens to be the national monument of Pakistan.

A stable and balanced society is built only when women are safe, respected and honoured by all. There should be no space for misogyny in our society. Pakistan needs to work on creating awareness and implementing strict laws to punish the culprits and encourage the victims to report any sort of assault. The impact of recent horrific assault cases will be severe on women and children of our society. They need a safe and protected environment to live and most importantly there should be an end to victim blaming once and for all

Nobody came to rescue the victim from the mob of vultures. There was rage in social media for her justice, and many influential political leaders like Bilawal Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto raised their voices immediately for the victim and demanded justice for her. The civil society, human rights activists, and social activists, have largely condemned the barbaric act but unfortunately in this same society  there are some sadistic minds who believe in blaming the victim for being assaulted, this was one of the many cases that infuriated the society.

Noor Mukaddam, a 27-year-old girl, was recently beheaded brutally in Islamabad by an acquaintance who is currently under trial; the civil society and the entire nation condemned this barbaric act but as usual some insensitive souls started to blame the victim by giving bizarre reasoning and justification for the murder.  This polarization in our society is somehow suppressing humanity and haunting the victims and their families who need support and healing after being traumatised. This is the reason why most of the rape cases are not reported; the problem lies is the justice system and disturbing social behaviour for the victim.

Prime Minister ImranKhan in an earlier interview had blamed victims of rape for wearing skimpy clothes; and that it had an impact on men unless they were robots. This statement backfired and later he had to take a U-turn on this, but the damage was already done. Such an insensitive statement coming from the head of government was a shock for the nation. Also, his earlier statement gave a feeling to the assaulters that they could get away with any sort of molestation or abuse as the Prime Minister himself had put the burden of assault on the victim’s shoulders.

Recently a horrific case of necrophilia wrenched the hearts of the country when some beasts dug up the grave of a 14-year-old girl who had died of natural causes and raped the corpse.

Such  incidents show the ugly side of the society we live in. The victims are never at fault, rather they are the ones who need empathy, care and respect from the society and especially from the government.

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Any insensitive comment can cause them extreme psychological trauma as they suffer isolation after assault, it is important for the society to treat the victims with the same honour as they treated them before and not isolate them.

A rotten theory is advocated by some misogynists that wearing provocative clothing stimulates sexual aggression in men. This theory must be dumped in the garbage bin as no victim ever asks to be abused. Even the victim of the Motorway rape case that sparked national outrage was blamed by a senior police officer for not chosing a busy road and not checking her fuel.

Victim blaming and judging a woman’s character is a deep rooted dilemma of our society which needs to be removed. If the society acts responsibly and the justice system solves such cases on priority basis then many other women who face domestic violence would get hope to register cases against the assaulters.

A stable and balanced society is built only when women are safe, respected and honoured by all. There should be no space for misogyny in our society. Pakistan needs to work on creating awareness and implementing strict laws to punish the culprits and encourage the victims to report any sort of assault. The impact of recent horrific assault cases will be severe on women and children of our society. They need a safe and protected environment to live and most importantly there should be an end to victim blaming once and for all.

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Mustafa Abdullah Baluch
The writer is a columnist and member of the PPP,and tweets @MustafaBaloch

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