Gang Rape Of Woman, 4-Year-Old Daughter In Kashmore Sparks Outrage
Police have arrested Rafiq Malak, the prime suspect in the case of gang-rape of a woman and her four-year-old daughter in Kashmore, Sindh on Tuesday. This was followed by a medical examination of the survivors which confirmed that they were gang-raped.
The woman was tricked into meeting the suspects who had falsely promised her a job with a salary of Rs. 40,000 in Kashmore. Upon their offer, she travelled with the men and her four-year-old daughter to Kashmore where they were both subjected to rape. The FIR stares that the woman and her child were confined at Malak’s house where the accused gang-raped both mother and the minor girl. After the gang-rape, the woman was released but the rapists did not let her daughter go. They told the woman that her daughter would be released only if another woman is brought to them. They also threatened to kill the four-year-old child. The woman reported the incident to the police at Kashmore after which Malak’s house was raided and he was taken into police custody.
Women rights activists have strongly condemned the incident, calling on the authorities to act against the perpetrators.
Activist Nayab Gohar Jan says it is important to recognise how much state action and discourse is rather paternalistics and apathetic towards women’s agency and bodies. She referred to earlier comments made by members of State including Prime Minister Imran Khan about how sexual violence is caused by promiscuity. “Such discourse is skewed against women’s agency and becomes extremely limiting,” she says.
Academic Tania Saeed comments that it is very important to question critically what actions have been taken after the rape case in Kasur, because violence towards women and children continues and it’s time policy and action should be critically analysed.
Activist Maheen Ghani says that recurring incidents of rape and sexual violence also show that the men of the country hate women and children. She tweeted, “I can’t even comment on the #Kashmore incident without breaking down every time. I have a daughter of my own. And all this does is make me feel hopeless. In this country and our leaders. Our men truly hate our women and children. How do we continue to live like this.”
I can’t even comment on the #Kashmore incident without breaking down every time. I have a daughter of my own. And all this does is make me feel hopeless. In this country and our leaders. Our men truly hate our women and children. How do we continue to live like this.
— Maheen Ghani (@maheenghani_) November 12, 2020
Lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazaari says that one rape incident after another shows that the state has to do more to address the deeply-rooted factors which are enabling violence and sexual aggression towards women and children. She also stresses on how important it is to see what action or awareness campaigns the state has led towards addressing gender-based violence in the last 15 years in rural areas. She also comments that there have been hardly any initiatives to empower women of rural areas to ensure they do not end up in vulnerable situations like this one for financial security. The state has been failing to ensure that women in rural areas are protected and empowered, and even the initiatives that have been taken did not prove to be so sustainable quite clearly.
Anthropologist Samar MinAllah Khan tweeted that it is time to stop making claims that women are respected in Pakistan when such incidents point to a quite opposite reality.
Time to stop making tall claims that we 'respect our women'. Quite the opposite! We are a society that victim-shames, while criminals go unpunished. State and society have failed to protect children and women. #Kashmore #Rape #Children #Women pic.twitter.com/RXIGXte4eV
— Samar MinAllah Khan (@SamarMinallahKh) November 12, 2020
It is time to not only ensure arrests of rapists but also address patriarchal aspects which enable such brutal violence towards women.
Last month, female activists, journalists, academics and professionals got together to draft a letter of demands urging the state to address the rape culture and violence against women.