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‘To Stop Rapes, Act Against Societal Behaviour That Enables Crimes Against Women’

Women rights activists from across Pakistan while voicing grave concerns over the gang-rape of a woman on motorway in Gujjarpura area of Lahore have demanded of the government to bring toughness in law on rape and ‘honor’ killing of women.

They said that such types of heinous crimes cannot be controlled until the government brings toughness in the law, improves the investigative process, and changes the behaviors of society towards women.

The rape survivor was travelling from Lahore to Gujranwala along with her children when her car ran out of fuel, and the crime took place while she was seeking help.

“There is not only need to amendment anti-rape and anti-‘honor’ killing bills but revamp the entire investigative process, particularly for such heinous and barbaric crimes,” said Sadaf Khan, an Islamabad based woman rights activist.

She termed the initial statement of the police officer that why the victim didn’t fuel before entering on the Motorway a reflection of the investigators behaviors towards such victims.

If the government doesn’t take measures and bring toughness in the law for the criminals, no woman will be safe from such incidents. From police station to hospital and then in the court, rape victims have to go through repeated traumas while handling of such cases is easy for the accused, she pointed out.

She added that there is a need to counter societal behaviour towards women and children due to which the ratio of crimes is growing. Until we don’t try to change society behaviors such crimes will keep growing, Khan said.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also expressed concern over the rape incident on motorway. In her tweet on Thursday, she said that the tragic rape incident on motorway is as traumatizing and heart-rendering for he as it is for the entire nation.

Maryam Nawaz said such incidents are indicative of a deeper malaise that warrants a national response so as to put an end to the curse that stems from a culture that encourages impunity.

Fahmida Yousfi, a Karachi based senior journalist, said Pakistani society is not safe for a three-month-old girl to a middle-aged woman, adding that even a dead woman is not safe here as in this society everything is counted as a woman’s fault.

Xari Jalil from Lahore said maximum punishment for heinous crimes should be life sentences depending upon the degree of violence and active intention. “Sometimes, it’s pretty much an act that is cold-blood and well thought out. Other times, a boy often goes along for peer pressure but regrets later,” Jalil said.

Rehabilitation of rapists

Xari Jalil, however, emphasized upon the rehabilitation of rapists. She said such people can probably be rehabilitated through mind molding programs, which should continue even after he is let out from prison. “I think that’s the only way out,” she suggested. The government should also invest in psychological research so that facts emerge, she further said.

Pakistan must have its own research for solutions as its socio-cultural context is different. We can’t take ideas and concepts directly from the US and Europe, Xari Jalil said.

Actress Ushna Shah, in her tweets, wrote: “The irony that I tweeted I am okay with this” to a video of a rapist being stoned to death an hour prior to news of mother raped in front of children on motorway and days after the news of five-year-old Marwah, show how deep in trouble we are as a society.”

Ayesha Omar tweets “ One day it’s a five-year-old child. A four months old baby. Today, it’s a transgender activists, who was asking for protection a year ago. What do we have to say about ourselves as a nation. We can’t protect anyone, expect our egos.

The Human Rights Minister said “For an officer to effectively blame a woman for being gang raped by saying she should have taken the GT Road or question as to why she went out in the night with her children is unacceptable and have taken up this issue. Nothing can ever rationalize the crime of rape.”

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