When a heated debate over whether or not rape is the victim’s fault, in a class where, by the way, around 70% of students are female, my (male) teacher thankfully raised this question;
How provocatively can a five year old possibly dress to first, get raped by a couple of males, and then get killed and thrown in a water tank?
Thankfully, no one could refute this argument.
Incidents of rape are on the rise in Pakistan, with a special increase in the number of reported child rape cases.
After every day or two, we come across yet another headline reporting yet another case of rape; of another person violated, and another life stigmatized. It has become on of our many ways to cage women. Here’s why the headlines won’t stop; our ‘blame-the-victim’ mentality. The mindset has created a vicious cycle through which we unconsciously promote rape through actions and statements that apparently seem insignificant. Moreover, it has become so internalized that most Pakistani females harbor this notion too.
Provocative clothing, or being out in the streets at odd hours isn’t a cause of rape. The cause is, simply put, the rapist himself.
Every time you tell your daughters to cover themselves up, you automatically tell your sons that if a woman doesn’t do that, it’s okay to rape her. You also tell implicitly tell your daughter that she mustn’t speak up against this atrocity if this were to happen to her, because it isn’t the rapist’s fault.
Every time a TV drama portrays rape as the fate of a corrupted woman (who obviously wears jeans), and you solemnly agree to it, you’re telling your children that some ‘immoral’ women deserve to be raped.
This is the reason that our society collectively places a taboo on a raped women. She’s ridiculed and stigmatized to the point of social isolation.
It is due to this misunderstanding that incidents like the most recent one in Larkana occur, where a 13 year old girl was continually raped by her school teacher over a period of 3 months, and only divulged the reality to her parents when she, along with her family found out that she was expecting. In many cases, very young children are unable to comprehend what’s happening to them when they are made a target of sexual molestation. It isn’t many years later that the full reality finally dawns upon them, and the emotional, psychological and physical trauma leaves them debilitated.
We do our level best to mute the TV, or switch channels hurriedly for fear of our children hearing the r word. What if they ask us what it means? What will we tell them?
And there exactly, is where the heart of the problem lies. We’re not willing to talk abut it, we’re not willing to raise our voices against the problem. We aren’t willing to tell our sons what an abominable crime this is, and we aren’t willing to tell our daughters to not become passive victims to this crime.
Let’s break the silence. Let’s talk about rape, let’s address it, and let’s eliminate it.