Rape in Pakistan: Talk About It!

Tashan Fatima

Sexual ferocity remains highly stigmatized in all sceneries, thus levels of disclosure of the assault vary between regions. In general, it is a widely underreported phenomenon, thus available data tend to underestimate the true scale of the problem. According to lawyer Asma Jahangir, who is a co-founder of the Women’s Action Forum (Pakistan), up to seventy-two percent of women in custody in Pakistan are physically or sexually abused. According to a Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll, Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women in the world. It cited the more than 1,000 women and girls are murdered in “honor killings” every year and reported that nearly 90 percent of the Pakistani women suffer from domestic violence.

Pakistan suffers a big number of female sexual abuses. And the country is known among the 10 worst countries when it comes to rape cases.”

A journalist, Ayesha Hassan gouts that every year some 2,900 women are raped in Pakistan. With espionages of national newspapers, she noted that since 2008 the police had registered some 10,703 rape cases in country among which the highest number of cases are in Punjab which carried 8,806 between these years. During the end of 2014 and early 2015, a 6 years old girl was raped and dumped near a garbage in Quetta at the same period, a girl of 12 years was sexually assaulted and then burnt to death in Ghotkhi, Sindh.. The factors for rape cases nearly remain the same: poor laws for women’s right, to retaliate a vetoed marriage proposal, for religious and ethnic reasons or simply to satisfy the man’s desire, it causes numerous suicide of the victims, but the suspects in Pakistan  are rarely arrested, prosecuted or punished according to the law.

Although, the awareness on of the challenge sexual abuse is commonly known, but is deteriorating in Pakistan day by day. A problematic satire for women in Pakistan is that, should a victim speak up about physical or sexual abuse, she is seen as having lost her and her family’s dignity. Many rapes go unreported as the victim fears she will become worthless in the society.

It’s not entirely new for a woman to name her abusers, though it is rare enough to provoke hullabaloo. And given the prospective consequences to one’s career as well as concerns about safety, it’s even rarer for the victim to say so openly, under her own name. The organization WIDA: Women in Literary Arts, felt strongly enough about this issue to provide a space for victims to anonymously tell their stories. Although there is a lot of pressure to stay silent about sexual aggression, there is also some glimpses of growing support for the telling of the truths. In doing so, we empower other women to speak up. The goals are many, but they include healing, and changing the culture of sexism.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a deep-seated human response to threat – it is not just fight or flight, but fight, flight, or freeze. While we would all like to believe we would react with “fight” if faced with being clutched, touched unsuitably, or if we were the butt of a “joke” about gang rape, the truth is that we do not usually get to choose that instant response. Often, it is chosen for us as children, which is when many people, particularly girls, face their first sexual aggression.

Inaudibly, gradually, in piecemeal legal reforms, female enablement is coming in Pakistan. You meet inspiring women daily here. Sympathetic employers sometimes give protection and assistance, as do other women who have fared better. NGOs and charitable organizations try to help empower women, but not all women take advantage of these resources. They fear their husbands, attracting unwanted consideration, aching the integrity of their families, or, often, they simply do not know that help exists. With female literacy plodding around 36%, many women are too uneducated to know their rights.

On the other hand, the most known rape victim in Pakistan was Muktaran Mai the illiterate village women in Punjab who suffered a bloodthirsty sexual stabbing by up to 14 men in 2002. But it wasn’t taken achingly. She says, “I felt like the whole world was with me but I still found it hard to receive justice”

Women have to face discernment and fierceness on a daily basis due to the cultural and religious norms that Pakistani society embraces. In fact, a number of laws have been recognized by a few courts in their judgments as a form of domestic violence. The relevant provisions of law are varied and wide but mostly contain elements of domestic violence or can be interpreted to include domestic violence, as has been done so internationally. Violence can be criminal and comprises physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unsolicited or forced sexual activity). Although emotive, mental and monetary abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence. But are hardly ever talked about in Pakistani society.

We as women deserve to feel “like human beings” in our lives, professional and private. Women deserve to live a happy life in Pakistan but some intrinsic factors within people, the socio-economic-political and cultural system of Pakistan, and the influences of surrounding countries act as determinants of violence against women. A milieu of cultural change may be commenced to bring forth improvements in women’s lives, and none other than the women themselves have to take the leading steps in that direction.

Featured image courtesy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Essay images courtesy: http://www.wonderslist.com/, http://punchng.com/, http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/

Tashan Fatima


A political and women rights activist, Tashan tirelessly campaigns to increase public spaces for young women, and has long worked on minority women issues. A change-maker, she is furious at honor killings and harassment of women in the South Asian societies.

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