Need awareness campaign to teach humanity | By Tariq Mehmood Khalid


Need awareness campaign to teach humanity

WHEN there’s a growing global concern about the protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan post Taliban’s recapturing of the country, the mob of four hundred barbarians celebrated the ‘Independence Day’ in Pakistan by sexually harassing and torturing a girl in broad daylight.

The said incident is perhaps the most horrific example of a society where women are considered to be a piece of meat that vultures must gnaw.

It might not have been shocking enough for the world as the said incident happened in a country which already ranks six on the list of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

Still, there are some rotten-minded individuals who have viciously condemned the victim — that she had provoked the mob for her own brutal molestation.

As usual, despite having received a couple of SOS calls from the victim, the police force could not reach the crime scene to rescue the girl from those monsters. That, once again, testifies to the fact that the authority of the state is in a shambles.

Regrettably, in the aftermath of every sexual assault against women, there’s a horrendous tendency to justify such ignominious attacks – without taking into consideration the causes that lead to such ignoble incidents.

Joining the bandwagon of victim-blaming has become our national responsibility. After every incident, there stirs a debate over the choice of clothes the women are ought to put on.

Even the Prime Minister Imran Khan lately remarked that men are not supposed to act like robots in a society like ours if the women choose to wear shorter clothes.

Some vile-headed individuals consider this as their ‘moral’ duty to molest or rape women who don’t clothe according to men’s established standards of morality.

A society which is so polarized merely on the basis of gender, can never flourish in a positive manner.

Such acute gender discrimination has put Pakistan at the bottom of the global gender index of the World Economic Forum, ranking 153 of 156 countries, ahead of only Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.

One of the most prominent reasons behind such heinous crimes is perhaps the government’s callous approach towards the legislation for curbing these evils.

There’s no denying the fact that most of cases of sexual abuse go unreported in Pakistan, most of time owing to victims’ desire to avoid the humiliation that follows for raising their voice.

Even the family members remain reluctant to pursue the cases because of the legal hardships and in some cases fearing the consequences from the opponents despite the involvement of the law enforcement agencies.

Sometimes the families tend to take revenge from the culprits – causing an unending violence consequently.

There are also the instances where women feel haunted to share their stories with the family members, fearing that they would rather be held responsible. In such a repressive social circumstances, victims bear the burden of responsibility for being tortured and raped.

There’s a general behaviour in every male-dominated society that men possess the higher standards of moral values thus having the legitimate authority to impose their versions of morality on women. Pakistan is no exception either.

People here, carry a general behaviour like that of Victorian society that women have to be blamed and penalised for rapes. Such attitude is rigorously engraved in their deteriorated brains.

There is an urgent need for some drastic measures to be taken in order to rid the society of the rising trend of sexual harassment, femicide and misogyny.

An effective prosecution is required to ensure cent percent conviction of the criminals in such cases. The lowest rate of convictions in the said cases has been fuelling the rising trajectory of these iniquities over the years.

An extensive awareness drive is also paramount to change men’s insensitive behaviour against women.

That’s the key to curb the increasing rate of sexual crimes against them. Pakistan is already suffering tremendously for its notorious rankings in these social issues.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Sargodha.

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