And the fight against it
The status of women in South Asia has perpetually been marred by heinous and violent crimes committed against them. In countries like India and Pakistan women face the fate of being treated like a chattel or less than human Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that in a country like Pakistan, where women comprise more than 50 percent of the population, their existence is still endangered by the corrupt and callous mindset of the patriarchy and ‘she’ is killed in the name of (apparent) honor, land or sometimes sheer sadistic joy.
In light of this, the landmark Anti Rape Bill (Criminal Laws Amendment) 2014, passed by the Senate last month, was welcomed with eerie silence and was rather neither signified nor rejoiced as a bold step in human rights and protection of women in Pakistan. The Senate passed four bills, amongst which was also the Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2014. This Bill actually provides to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and the Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order, 1984. Furthermore The Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2014 was also passed, which provides for the prevention of and protection of Pakistani citizens, and of all other persons for the time being in Pakistan, from all acts of torture, custodial death and rape.
With the Anti-Rape Bill being passed in the Senate, it is now to be seen how strong they hold up in terms of implementation. Much of the violation of the rape victim starts at the police station, where the police warden is either ill trained, corrupt or morally dubious
With the Anti-Rape Bill being passed in the Senate, it is now to be seen how strong they hold up in terms of implementation. Much of the violation of the rape victim starts at the police station, where the police warden is either ill trained, corrupt or morally dubious. Much of the character assassination of the woman is done by the police men who victimise them even more, hence one major reason why so many cases go unreported in Pakistan is fear of further stigmatisation and embarrassment for the entire tribe/family. It is ironic how reporting a rape/honour killing becomes a stigma for the family/woman more than the act itself committed by the perpetrators. One of the flaws that need to be catered to in the new law is the regulation of the treatment a rape ‘survivor’ faces in a local police station by a local policeman and the medical officers (all are male). The evidence collected by both of them that is crucial in a trial, but it is often tainted by corrupt handling which destroys the entire process of justice. This can be catered to by the government continuously providing training to the police prosecution force in dealing with sensitive cases of rape, honour killing, acid burning, etc.
India faces a similar mindlessness when it comes to treating women as mere property. The infamous Delhi gang rape of 2012 is a major case in point, of whose accused recently spoke about how the blame of committing rape rests completely with women
India faces a similar mindlessness when it comes to treating women as mere property. The infamous Delhi gang rape of 2012 is a major case in point, of whose accused recently spoke about how the blame of committing rape rests completely with women. Similarly in Pakistan a gang rape video was recently widely circulated, which once again showed the inferior and sadistic sub-continental flaw in the male mindset. However persistent efforts are being made to eradicate this ailment, such as the Indian government has made way for media campaigns against rape and violence against women such as “vogue empower” women empowerment project, whose videos targets the male mindset. It shows how a boy since his early years should be brought up as to not make a woman cry or hurt her in any way. This message was propagated in each and every household all over the world.
What we need in Pakistan is a similar anti-rape video campaign that illustrates a strong moral public message regarding inviolability of a woman and her existence. With the help of media and government it can be circulated widely and incessantly as a viable public message. This is one of the major ways to change the mindset of our patriarchal society and the way they view women especially in the rural belt. This is the kind of social reform that needs to be indoctrinated and entertained by the Pakistani media.