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Life as a woman

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 15th February, 2022 02:32:29 PM
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We have four stories of women from four different parts of Pakistan. The first story is about a woman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who is said to have arrived at a hospital with a two-inch nail hammered into her head. She has said that a local ‘pir’ had hammered in the nail, claiming that would ensure she gave birth to a boy. Previously, the woman had given birth to three girls. Her husband has denied that a faith healer was involved and claimed his wife suffers psychiatric problems, and is also haunted by supernatural forces. Many miles away, in Lahore, a young woman who had chosen to marry of her own free will was attacked by her father in court. She was rescued, and the father arrested. In the same province, in Kot Momin, a young girl who had been gang-raped was murdered by her brother on the grounds of ‘honour’. Far away in Mirpurkhas in Sindh, two girls, both teenagers, have stepped forward stating that they were raped by some influential persons in the area and initially prevented from telling their story. They have now reported it to a local magistrate and a medico-legal exam has proved rape.

These four stories in one week is life as many women know it in Pakistan, burdened under concepts of honour and shame. We have in this space previously reiterated as well that rape is a crime of power and not lust, which is why what we really need is a justice system that upholds justice in rape cases and a society that doesn't view women merely as objects to be abused at will. What we need is to make sure that those in positions of power and responsibility are not allowed to get away with validating regressive and violent mindsets that see women and girls – and boys – as easy prey for sexual crime.

Even now, from the police to the family to the rest of society, literally everyone shames a woman who has survived rape or domestic abuse and then has taken up the unnerving and terrifying process of reporting it and asking for justice. In all this, shame is the biggest weapon used to silence women. For women to be protected against rape and other kinds of sexual violence the state must ensure consistent punishment for those guilty of rape; for it is not severity but consistency of punishment that needs to be the goal. Women do not need protection that insists they cover themselves up even more for fear of being attacked. They need thorough implementation of laws that will give them the right to safety, no matter where they choose to go, or how they choose to dress. At the end of it all should be the goal of a justice system that does not require women to make extraordinary efforts just to see rapists and violent and abusive men behind bars.

 

Source: The News