PM was not off the mark
PRIME Minister Imran Khan in a two-hour-long, question-and-answer interaction with the public on live television in reply to a question about the measures the government had taken to prevent sexual abuse remarked” in any society where vulgarity is prevalent, there are consequences and women should cover up to prevent any temptation”.
This did not go well with proponents of liberalism and he has been accused of being a ‘rape apologist’ blaming the victim instead of the rapist. The trolling goes on unabated.
I think the flak directed at the Prime Minister is not fully justified. What he said may not be the only cause for a heinous act like rape but it surely is one of the major causes of it. It has to be understood in the context of Islamic injunctions and Hadith.
Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, a religion which is a complete code of life. Islam sees modesty as a sign of respect for oneself and others. The Quran and Sunnah have laid down certain principles regarding the dress code of both males and females.
Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which necessarily appears thereof and to wrap a portion of] their head-covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women.
And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.
The Prophet (PBUH) classified obscenity as a branch of hypocrisy saying, “Indeed, Allah hates the indecent and obscene person.
Modesty is from faith, and faith is in Paradise; [whereas], obscenity is from severity, and severity is in Hell.
A woman is supposed to be concealed. When she emerges outside (without covering herself properly), Shaytan makes her adorned in front of men.” (Tirmidhi).
From the foregoing it can be safely inferred that vulgarity and obscenity are abominable sins and vulgarity does provide temptation to men to rape. It does have a co-relation to this heinous male indiscretion.
There can be situations where a person fails to resist the temptation and commits rape because they are not strong willed to resist it.
So the Prime Minister was not off the mark when he said that there were many people who could not keep their will-power in check.
Islam emphasizes Hijab and those who claim that one who observe purdah and one who does not is an individual’s choice, are actually trying to negate the Quran and Hadith.
Yes there are also many other factors responsible for rape and the victim is not invariably responsible for it. It also has something to do with the social conditions and the prevalent attitudes about women.
In our rural settings where feudal lords hold the sway rape is quite common phenomenon usually the women belonging to the tenet class become an easy prey for the rural elite. A colleague of mine once narrated an incident in his village.
According to him daughter of a tenet was raped by the son of the feudal lord and the poor fellow went to complain about the incident to him.
After listening to him the land lord said “If son of a landlord would not commit rape who else would?
Although rape is a universal phenomenon but it is more common in excessively male-dominated societies like ours where women unfortunately are regarded as sex symbols.
Ironically although the women are also regarded as symbol of family honour, the people often rape women of the enemies to heap insult on them and to extract their revenge. This phenomenon is quite common in rural settings of Sindh and Punjab.
We also often hear rapes ordered by Jirgas as a recompense for any crime or wrong doing committed by the sibling of the would-be victim of rape.
The case of Mukhtaran Mai and many others testify to the existence of this practice of enforced rapes.
The rape of a women on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway occurred not because it was a pre-determined act by the dacoits.
It was a case of taking advantage of a situation where a women was helpless and on their mercy.
Hostility and aggression towards women can also motivate men to express their prowess and hate.
Recently many cases of rape of innocent children have also come to light. It surely has nothing to do with how they dress.
It can only be explained in the context of the availability of porn material on the internet and its excessive watching by the young men whose sex desires are aroused by it.
I think the Prime Minister instead of saying that vulgarity was the cause of rape should have said that vulgarity was one of the causes of rape and probably the biggest.
To be honest the PTI government has shown remarkable commitment to dealing with the crime of rape by bringing in legislation prescribing severe punishment.
The speedy trial of the Lahore-Sialkot motorway culprits of rape and the award of death punishment to them testifies to the urgency and priority given to this detestable crime.
The government has also run a sustained awareness campaign among the masses in regards to how to protect their children from becoming rape victims.
— The writer is former Director General Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, based in Islamabad.