You’re travelling on a highway at midnight with 3 children and your car runs out of fuel. You call the police and they assure you help. What do you expect next? Well, that greatly depends on the context. If you are a woman and you are in Pakistan, do not expect any help and be prepared for the worst. In this instance, the worst outcome ever – gang rape.  

The Incident

This unfortunate event took place in the early hours of Thursday last week when this woman was travelling from Lahore to Gujranwala. A group of unidentified people attacked and raped the woman in a nearby field while the children were made to watch. They also took all the cash and jewelry with them. Then, these people had the audacity to use the woman’s ATM card just a couple of days after they raped her. This helped the police identify two of the rapists. Surprisingly, one of the two identified persons surrendered himself to the police and said he had nothing to do with the entire incident. The woman also failed to recognize him. How did his fingerprints get on the car then?

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Blaming the Victim

This has always been the problem with our society. We blame the victim. The same happened here too. CCPO Lahore Umar Sheikh blamed the woman for whatever happened. He said a woman should not travel alone late in the night and if she really needs to do so, she should take a less desolate route. This is where the problem lies.  Instead of finding the rapists and punishing them, the easy way out is to blame the victim. The insensitive remarks by the CCPO has got him in trouble as Pakistanis have come out on the roads and are demanding justice for the woman and removal of the senior policeman.

Takeaways from the Tragedy

Our law enforcement authorities really need to up their game. The woman nearly waited for 1.5 hours before she was attacked. What took the police so long? Our judicial system is also going through an all-time low. Judges are incapable of making tough decisions. They prefer keeping cases pending. What would the rapists be afraid of then? Not only the police and judiciary, but we as citizens of Pakistan need to step up. Eleven rape cases have been reported in last 4 days. Imagine the number of unreported ones. Is this the Islamic Republic of Pakistan we’re living in? Is this what Quaid intended for our country?

The Next Step

This horrible incident has resulted in the nation being on the same page; demanding justice for every rape survivor out there. Protests are being held and hashtags such as #KhamoshiAbNahi are trending on twitter since the past 4 days. Getting justice for this lady is not the only problem now. The problem is to empower law enforcing bodies and to make legislation which helps prevent any such cases in the future. What about the CCPO and his take on this case? Maybe he truly represents how this nation thinks. How a woman should stay indoors 24/7 and how dangerous it could be for her to step outside her home. What about the rapists? Hang them? The death penalty is too easy way out for a society and politicians.

It’s time we empower the women around us. It’s time we blame the culprits and not the victim. It’s time we change our mindset and end patriarchy.

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