The incident is all over the news. Terrible, inhumane and sick. A mother was gang raped on a highway in Pakistan. In front of her three small children. Her car was stranded on the motorway when it ran out of fuel. Why was she raped? According to the CCPO (Chief of Police, Lahore) she took the wrong road. Yes, you read that right. Obviously she should have taken GT road, duh! Also, who doesn’t check their fuel before getting out on a drive? There are a lot of other theories. She shouldn’t have been driving out late at night with her children at 1:30am. She should also have been with a man. She might not have been that religious. Why didn’t she call the police? Are you sure she wasn’t ‘asking for it’? Was she wearing the right dress, by right I mean covered from head to toe? The focus is on the victim. The blame lies with her. Never mind that women get raped inside their homes as well. They don’t have to get out on a street for it.
It’s time we stop protecting and hiding the real reason for rape: The Rapists. Because that’s what we’ve been doing; enabling them since eons. Victims are hushed up for the sake of their family’s false honour. You protect your sons/brothers for their perverseness, you make allowances for them, you grant them unlimited power, rights and privileges. Their whereabouts are not questioned. Their friends are not scrutinised. Their privacy is respected. They are allowed to stay out late. Their eve teasing is looked upon as a big joke, their language can be dirty, they are allowed to flirt, harass and stalk women at workplaces, educational institutions and public places. Why? Because they are men after all, red blooded young men. They can’t help themselves. It’s time we get up and take a closer look at how we are raising men around us. The men in our family, because all this starts from our home.
This is for men in general:
-When a woman talks to you whether online or in person, she isn’t asking to be flirted with.
-When a woman occupies a public space she isn’t asking to be assaulted or harassed.
-When a woman drives alone at night she isn’t asking to be raped.
Sorry to break it you, but these rapists are not demons who come from hell occasionally to wreak havoc on earth. They are human. They live amongst us. They could be related to us. They could work with us. They could be our best pals. They could be people in power, they could be your managers at work or they could be our house help. And you could be their next victim. The focus needs to shift to them.
A severe view must be taken on their punishment. They should be given the harshest punishment by law. They should be hanged. It’s a trending hashtag and I hope it has it’s required effect. But the real change is going to happen if men are as outraged as women for such crimes. It’s not a choice anymore. It’s a necessity. Men cannot distance themselves from this crime saying this will never happen to women in our family because of x y z reason. They cannot laugh at #metoo anymore. They cannot slut shame or victim blame assaulted women anymore. Because it’s spreading like a deadly virus and one day, it will come around to your door. It’s your wives, daughters and sisters that will be their next target. For many, that one day has already come and gone. Most women in the country, most women in your family may have already lived through that day and you may not even know because our society has put a lock on their mouth called ‘shame and honour’.
It’s time to break the silence. It’s time to stand up and speak up about crimes committed on women, even if they aren’t related to you, even if you see eve teasing or any harassment on the street. It’s time to fight against and report such heinous crimes. It shouldn’t be accepted as the norm that these predators and rapists can get away with it. We need to cancel this social acceptance and start a zero tolerance movement against it.