–Members of ‘Lahore Pakistani Men Against Rape’ vow to change society’s mindset
LAHORE: Rape is not a crime against women, but a crime against the society and it is important for all men to proactively take a stand and work with the women in shifting the mindset of the society.
These views were expressed by the representatives at the launching ceremony of Lahore Pakistani Men Against Rape (PMAR) here on Tuesday in connection with the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
A large number of responsible and sensible men condemn rape, express solidarity and extend support to women victims of rape and violence, but the important thing for them is to assert and vocalise this position with utmost clarity, the members said. They added that it is crucial for more people to take a stand and “there is no reason why we cannot rid our society of this heinous crime against women.”
Speaking to the media, Abdul Khaliq, the coordinator of the Lahore chapter, said the PMAR members realise the gravity of this heinous crime and want to do something about it.
“We have decided to join the national campaign against rape already started from Islamabad,” he added. He said that “men like us have always supported women’s cause” and stood by them.
“Rape, I believe, is not a crime against a woman, but a crime against our society. It is important for all men to proactively take a stand and work with the women in shifting the mindset of our society, starting with our selves first,” he added. “We have to stop protecting rapists and start holding them accountable. We have to stop blaming women for getting raped. We need to stop using phrases like ‘Izzat lut gaey’ for women who get raped. Why should she lose her Izzat, she did not do anything wrong”.
Nadeem Fazil Ayaz, a senior advocate who has been working on the issue for years and started ‘War Against Rape’ in Lahore said, “Sensitised men are outraged by the crimes against women and understand the patriarchal system. Not all men are rapists. Men like us are against such crimes, and we will now be fully active in fighting the crime.”
He said every citizen should fight against rape and we all have to support films like #Verna which are brave initiatives.
Mohammad Asger, a senior member of the group, said taking the issue of rape for wider debate is important. “Shoaib Mansoor is a man who has always raised women’s issues. We are inspired by him and his very brave initiative of #Verna. No producer would have taken the risk of choosing this topic, and making such a clean film that we can comfortably watch with our families,” he added.
The PMAR members further told that Pakistan Nari Tehreek, an alliance of women leaders from across the country, have already been working on this issue for a few years now. With PMAR joining hands, the work will move ahead with new vigor, they hoped.