Atrocious sexual violence

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REGARDLESS of some important pieces of legislation passed recently which encompasses some strict punishment for the rapists, the incidents of sexual assaults are continuing unabated. And the recent one has taken place in the F-9 Park of the federal capital where a woman was raped at gunpoint.

Reportedly the victim woman and a colleague were at the park when two armed suspects took them hostage and then allegedly sexually assaulted the woman and threatened to kill her if she reported the crime. In another incident a day earlier, a private bus company guard raped an eighteen year old hostess in a bus in Vehari.

Cases like these are a scar on the face of our society and it is really important that these are checked through strict implementation of law.

While FIRs have been registered in the latest cases, these must be tried on a fast track basis as per the law and exemplary punishment be awarded to the culprits. Doing so is important to check the rising cases.

According to some estimates about ten cases are reported everyday in the country. We believe this is only the tip of the iceberg as many cases are not reported because of various reasons. The stigma attached with such cases is obviously the primary reason.

Then the conviction rate is very low – less than three percent according to Karachi-based NGO War Against Rape.

It is primarily because of faulty investigation, poor prosecution and out-of-court settlements. Threats and coercion by family and society in rape cases are commonplace and survivors and family generally settle the matter outside court which is nothing but amounts to legitimizing the rape.

We, therefore, will suggest that even if a law is passed after due process, there needs to be regular monitoring of its on-ground impact, including any success, weaknesses and potential areas of improvement to ensure that the process of reform is ongoing and continually improving. Those committing these heinous crimes deserve no mercy at all and strict punishment to them will only serve as deterrence.