Kashmir: The shock beyond measure

Views from Srinagar

What is happening around us. How is innocence getting outraged.

Sabeeha Shaheen

IT was a routine late night internet surfing session; I rested my back against a pillow, when a sudden notification beep alerted my sub-conscious mind. Notification was about a 7 year old girl from Pakistan who was abducted, raped and murdered.
A minor clad in yellow sweater and pink jacket went missing for several days until her body was found in a garbage heap. After reading the story I was shocked; a seven year old girl who didn’t even know what rape is was outraged and strangulated.
It was followed by Asifa Jan’s rape and murder case in our vale. There is a trauma that stabs me every time I wake up to hear the news of such inconceivable crimes against women. Unfortunately, we live in an era where these things seem normal.
Hundreds of women are being carjacked, raped even murdered every single day. We are used to these news stories, aren’t we? Every day our television sets and newspapers carry news about sexual assaults, rapes and domestic violence. Nirbaya rape case witnessed a long procession; whole country came out in support of her. They marched, protested even demanded for probe. What happened after that, case got closed and people forgot.
Recently I kept a status on my messaging application against few rape cases which took place recently, a friend replied and said, “achi se news rakha kar, ye sab to roz hi hota hain”(You should try to keep good news stories, these things happen every now and then).
Such a reply from a dear friend astounded me. These cases of patriarchy, rape culture, male entitlement, sexual abuse and harassment has left me enraged. Rape is a heinous crime and particularly raping a child. How can anyone justify it? Our society does little to combat these stigmas that promote rape culture. Violence against women especially against minors is endemic worldwide.
Ramifications of sexual assault are severe; the victim of a rape is victimized all over again. Men are physically stronger; it is a fact and genetic inequality that we can do nothing about. This physical strength has gradually evolved into domination within our society. And this domination has led to rapes.
Patriarchal values and patriarchal mindset has encouraged men to commit such crimes. Whenever we discuss rape we discuss attire of the victim. Which revealing dresses Zainab and Asifa wore? Women are being preyed by predators who aren’t outdoors but among us. From whom we need protection, Father, Brother, Uncle or a Friend.
Five years back Kishwar Desai an Indian author and a columnist wrote about Nirbaya’s rape case in The Guardian, she said, “Anger at the Nirbaya rape case should lead to reform not revenge”. She said hanging the accused isn’t a solution. Condemning or calling for a reform will never provide us a rape free society.
Rape is a felony; such issues cannot be resolved through education and development alone. Perpetrators must be severely punished. We should reserve no mercy for them. We must stand together to get rid of this dark shadow that lurks over us all.
—Courtesy: Greater Kashmir

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