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Rape, It’s Woman’s Fault: Says PM Imran

It seems like as if slowly and gradually we are regressing with time. Horrifically, our global gender gap report 2021 puts Pakistan at a very low rating. Pakistan slipped 2 more spots since last year to rank 153rd out of 156 countries on the index. One can deduce such a bad reporting is a result of inadequate education, career opportunities, safety and security of women at large. All these factors play in synergy to through us down in the abyss of darkness.

Women, children as well as transgenders of our country are unsafe as sexual violence is on the rise and people of Pakistan are getting tired of this insecurity and want actionable steps to ensure safety and protection of transgenders, women and children.

Just yesterday, our PM Imran Khan was asked about the actions his administration is taking to ensure safety and protection of our children and women. If those actions had been taken, have they resulted in any fruitful results or not? In that telethon program even though he heavily condemned rape and sexual violence against women and children but his overall stance on these heinous crimes was terribly disturbing. Khan was of the opinion that even though Anti-Rape ordinance 2020 is passed but alone this law cannot combat this crime against women and children.

I expected a lot from Imran Khan that he would perhaps shed light on the implementation of the Anti-Rape ordinance, with respect to its various Key Performance Indicators, (KPIs) namely, #of crimes reported/month, how many are arrested? Is the DNA registry updated regularly? Are the rapists and sex offenders registered with NADRA? Are the cases resolved timely? Is the victim and his/her identity protected? Is the victim given adequate health care post trauma?

None of the above questions were answered. Instead, to my utter shock and disbelief, Mr. Khan moved the discussion to a different tangent altogether. He remarked that rape and sexual crimes can be contained if we as a society do our part in combating “fahashi” (obscenity), which is transported to us through the Bollywood and intense exposure to the West. Furthermore, he reiterated how Purdah (covering body; veiling) essentially protects a woman from getting raped. If a woman is in Purdah, a man is not tempted to rape her. This is an intensely dangerous stance that our PM is propagating.

This means that a young defenseless child that is raped and killed by maulvis, teachers, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers should observe Purdah. This means that a woman is raped because of her attire choices? Very conveniently, Mr. Khan relinquishes a rapist from this crime. He will not be able to control himself and will resort to rape if he’s tempted by a woman who is seemingly not observing purdah. Doesn’t Mr. Khan know that rape is primarily driven by control? Why else would a 30 something man rape a 70 plus old woman? Mr. Khan needs to show a lot more empathy and sensitivity towards the victims of this awful crime. His callous and irresponsible comments breed a victim blaming mentality and that totally destroys the purpose of getting justice for the victims. By putting the blame on the victim, one takes the focus away from the crime, the alleged criminal and the due diligence of investigation and subsequent arrest and trial.

If this victim blaming wasn’t enough, Mr. Khan further deviated from the subject of rape and led the discussion on “fahashi” in UK. How obscenity has played a role in increasing divorce rate in UK? By this time, I was so surprised to see his chain of thought, wondering how is rape even remotely related to divorce rate? The common factor between the two being obscenity. Divorce is not a taboo per se. It occurs when several marital dynamics are falling apart.

The whole flow of the conversation was so unrelated that I wondered that are we aiming to lower the divorce rates or rape cases? Apparently, there was no discussion as to how women and children will be protected? Will the state take any responsibility to reduce these crimes? What precautionary controls will be implemented to ensure women and children are safe on the streets, roads, colleges, schools, work places, malls, shops, public places etc?

Instead of telling us what kind of strategic and evidenced backed steps the state would take to ensure safety, Mr. Khan suggested a holistic approach to combating rape. By this time, I was further disappointed in his approach. In the end he further derailed from the topic by stating that by bringing Ertugrul (A very famous Turkish drama) to Pakistan, he brought decent entertainment to Pakistan. If we as a society watch less Bollywood and Hollywood laced with adult content, and watch more decent shows like Ertugrul then the incidence of rape and sexual violence against women and children would go down.

As a Pakistani, it pains me to see victim blaming in Rape and other sexual violence against women and children. I have a huge regard for our Prime Minister and I request him to please help our country in eradicating this growing pandemic of control and violence which is so not avoided by observing Purdah.


1 Comment

  1. Sumbla Khan April 8, 2021

    I saw the interview and I am sorry to say that mr. Imran khan is completely wrong here. Rape has nothing to do with Purdah, west influences, and Love for Bollywood content.
    If it’s a about Purdah how would you cover the animals, as they get raped.
    If it’s about Purdah why male prisoners get raped.
    If it’s fahashi from Bollywood and west that is feeding the Rape culture , then why are we forgetting Punjabi vulgar mujras that has ruined our youth at so many levels. His argument makes no sense to me. Faiza you are 1000% right in your article Rape is about “Self Control”… purdah or no purdah, if you are that psychopath who has lost it, you can dug out the body from grave and Rape.
    The religion and society card that he tried to play didn’t work for me either.

    However, this line ,”he reiterated how Purdah (covering body; veiling) essentially protects a woman from getting raped” from the article didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t hear him categorically talking about woman being the only victims and should do purdah.

    Thanks for writing about his interview, as it intrigued me to go watch the interview.


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