Other Than The Rapist, Who Else Is Responsible For Rape?

Other Than The Rapist, Who Else Is Responsible For Rape?

Women have always been degraded, humiliated and disrespected in almost every relation during their entire life in the form of honor killing, rape, sexual abuse, human trafficking or slavery. Despite the fact that this rape culture has become too frequent, even then, this has become a neglected crime which is either kept hidden from the society for the sake of honor and dignity or is taken nonchalantly just because it has attained the level of being an inescapable event in a woman’s life. The common perception of people is that, rape culture is more common in countries like India or the United States, where there is no concept of Islam and that leads to the growth of heinous crimes in society. But, here, we need to have a reality check and consider this fact that Pakistan is one of those countries that have been assumed to be dangerous for women. The only reason that Pakistan does not have proper statistics about this grave crime is that the law is horribly not in favor of the rape victims and rather mostly in favor of the rapist, for example, if a woman gets raped, she either doesn’t know the culprit or could not prove the crime and is thus considered to have committed zina (adultery). Eventually she becomes the one to be charged with adultery.

The story of a 19-year-old’s journey here is horrifying. In the spring of 2005 she was raped by her family’s neighbor, a postman and his teenage son. She became pregnant and later miscarried as a result. Her mistake was to tell her parents. With their consent, under Pakistan’s orthodox Islamic laws, she was charged with fornication outside marriage and sentenced to 100 lashes, later reduced to 50 and then 25 because of her age, and sent to jail. After four months her prison ordeal ended when a family friend secretly paid a bribe. Her plight is not unique.

Never can we blame one person or one party in any matter. It is not just the laws in the country that are being unjust to victims, but the society as a whole that is doing nothing or very little on its part. Society needs to understand that the victim is never at fault. The oppressed should not be the one to feel guilty no matter what the circumstances would have been. The body is our asset and nobody has a right to use it with force or for any other reason. We need to get out of the thinking that being a victim is pitiful and should be kept under the dark curtain of secrets. If we, as individuals, change our behavior towards one person who suffers from the pain of being used as an object of entertainment, a huge impact can be made on the whole society. It is not in our hands to change the law but changing our attitude towards a situation is surely in our hands.

If we cannot stop the crime, we should never be the reason for the enhancement of any crime. One such cruel example of the ill behavior of society is the life of Sadia* who was raped and filmed. The film was posted on social media and became the hot topic of discussion for every neighbor and the house. She was forced to discontinue her studies.

“”A lot of people are watching this video for fun, they see it as something interesting.” She says, despairingly.”
– DAWN

First of all, the responsibility lies on the family as they are the ones who can make the after-effects less painful for the victim. If a woman has all the support from the family, it is less difficult for her to cope with the situation she faces.  Here, we need to bring the change in ourselves and be the support for the victim who is already shattered and emotionally damaged considering in mind that the victim does not even know the reason for this damage caused to her. A woman should be mentally and physically examined as she suffers both mental as well as physical torture due to this unwilling act. Assistance starts from the home and along with that there should definitely be proper institutes for the betterment and reintegration of rape victims.

Merely NGOs cannot do this task entirely, in fact, we as a society have to take a step towards the eradication of the shame that has been attached to the rape victim. Why can we not set up a donation box for rape victims as daringly as we do for orphans or the poor? Yes, this is the little we can do on our part.

Moving ahead from the role of people around the victim, there comes the role of the police or the investigation team equally responsible for the deaths of so many victims because of their unfair treatment and negligence. One such case that recently occurred is about an eighteen-year-old girl who was raped on her way back home from her university. Even though the investigation team had all the proof, the culprit was released. This could be the result of being from an influential family or due to the corrupt police and investigation system in our country. Hearing about the release of her culprits, she set herself on fire in front of the police station! A renowned judge even said, “Oh why did she waste that petrol to set herself on fire?” The point here to discuss is not whether it was the girl’s fault, the point to consider is that she was raped and she was not provided justice even from the authorities in the country. Her death proved to other victims that nobody could get justice and that eventually it would be the victim’s life that would be at stake in any situation.

The whole discussion can be summed up in a sentence that rape victims should not be blamed in any way. We need to change our attitude and must remove this stigma from the society and the myth that they have become impure or are not entitled to live a normal life afterwards. Every person deserves respect and the right to freedom and they should not be deprived of these rights at any cost. Society has to collaborate to help these victims in acquiring their rights. The mindset needs to be changed about rape victims and productive participation is needed for their welfare. If the law does not do anything for them, the society can at least try mobilize change.

 

*The name of the victim has been changed to protect identity.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.

Rohama Riaz

The writer is a law student at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). She has interned at Naya Savera, Research Society of International Law (RSIL) and Courting The Law. She has also been part of a number of event managment committees and has keen interest in writing, photography and travelling.



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One Comment;

  1. Surender Singh said:

    I liked the article Riaz and it is good in content and in presentation. Things that I found missing are that you could have some more space explaining the central role of Quran, Hadiths and different Fiqh’s in creating, supporting and self perpetuating the ideas that almost all the Islamic societies have absorbed imbued with are. You should have spend some more time on theorizing and historicizing the argument as well, after all all this did not just popped out of nowhere. There is much more but that is all for now.

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