Blaming the victim in cases of sexual violence may be a global phenomenon, but it is particularly endemic in Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan once again makes a rape apologist statement in an interview with “Axios on HBO” with Jonathan Swan, which aired at 3 am PST on Monday morning.
When discussing the ongoing sexual violence in Pakistan, PM Khan was blatantly quoted saying, “If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on the men, unless they are robots”. He emphasized, “It is just common sense”.
The very leader we were counting on to save the law and order from further deteriorating rather threw the victims of sexual violence under the bus with his unsolicited victim-blaming. Earlier this year, in an interview, PM had made similar comments, stating that sexual violence was a product of ‘obscenity,’ which he described as a Western import.
Swan asked him about his previous comments pertaining to rape and vulgarity. Justifying his absurd remarks, PM said that it is “such nonsense”.
“I said that the concept of purdah is to avoid temptation in society. We don’t have discos here, we don’t have nightclubs. It is a completely different society, way of life here. So if you raise temptation in the society to the point and all these young guys have nowhere to go, it has consequences in the society”.
Pakistanis disagree with PM Imran
When Swan prodded if a woman’s clothes can provoke sexual violence, PM responded, “It depends on what society you live in. If in a society people haven’t seen that sort of thing, it will have an impact on them. If you grow up in a society like yours, maybe it won’t have an impact.”
Resorting to the rampant victim-blaming culture, our PM once again framed the narrative of sexual violence in a way that places the responsibility of doing more on women. He did not make any reassuring remarks about the efforts by his government to look into the problems of people. Instead, he blamed the women.
Pakistanis fume with anger
Unfortunately, PM does not seem to understand just how unsafe women and children are in this country. Such statements coming from the PM only give impunity to those involved in heinous crimes. It is the prevailing culture of impunity that makes women more insecure.
PM’s views on rape are not very different from the callous comments made by a former Lahore police chief about the Motorway gang rape last year. He blamed the victim for driving late at night. His comments also reflected the thinking of a large segment of society that prefers to blame the victim.
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