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Sexual Abuse Can’t Be Solved Through Social Media

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I find it so weird that people who are most concerned about the cause of women abuse and suffering, rarely we want to listen to actual stories and the mindset of women who were abused and actually suffered! And, rarely ever do we want to reach out and try and help victims of abuse! Stories presented by the media are palatable, even if they are horrific. But eyewitness accounts are considered lies, fabrications, met with statements like “this can’t happen in an Islamic country’. Women have been abused in Pakistan, men have been too, but women and children get abused in significantly higher numbers!

Go to interior Sindh and talk to women belonging to the lower class. Those who are under the yoke of domestic rulers, a lot of them fall prey to mob justice, getting humiliated and even severely sexually abused for crimes they didn’t even commit, that were committed by male members of the household, who fled their punishment and let their women fend for themselves. Go to any metropolitan city, talk to women who have been betrayed by guys they thought loved them, yet suffered the ultimate betrayal.

I’ve travelled and lived in various areas of Sindh and Punjab. I have seen firsthand things that might shock you, things that are considered the norm in communities you are alien to. Customs, traditions, and a crude type of justice that focuses on the subjugation and humiliation of women. It’s systemic, it’s endemic… and it stems from carnal urges and primitive mindsets in our rural communities, and the desire to gain sexual notoriety in our urban communities.

Yes, men are to blame, not all men, but yes men are the problem. The media they are inundated with since birth, the culture they grow in, free access to porn, no healthy discussion about sexuality in any household, the vast difference between the classes and how parents approach the topic of sexuality with their children, the fact that we don’t teach our children anything about appropriate or inappropriate touching, the fact that we don’t tell our daughters how to better protect themselves and how to spot good men from the bad men, the fact that we don’t teach our boys to be gentlemen. You won’t believe the number of boys/men I have known who have leaked intimate pictures of their so-called “loves” after their breakups.

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Finally, we have cybercrime laws against men like this, but most don’t even know how to get justice in this case. Our legal system on top of that punishes the victim more than the perpetrator.

How in the hell is anything going to change if we don’t talk about what we’ve faced, what our friends have faced? How will things talk if we aren’t willing to lend a hand to those who are even right now as I type this, suffering, being abused, have their rights taken away? Where are the 24/7 hotlines to report rape and abuse? Where are the response teams on the ground, the rehab centers?

We need a nationwide framework for this problem, and every one of us using the tools and the framework to bring justice to those who commit violence! How long will we continue to rely on social media and mob justice to find and arrest perpetrators, forcing women and men to embarrass themselves, publicize their abuse and lose their dignity publicly to get the justice they deserve?

Change starts with individuals. But it needs systems to be sustainable.

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