Helping rape victims

17 Sep 2020

Email

PAKISTANIS find it uncomfortable to deal with sensitive issues like rape and sexual assault. This is also even more difficult for the victims and their families. The recent incident on the M-11 motorway is all the more shocking since her children were present when the sordid incident occurred.

The victims of such traumatising incidents who survive are forever tied down with never-ending dark memories. If left unaddressed the victims inflict physical harm on themselves.

This can be more disastrous in cases that happen in Pakistan where it is a norm that the victim is questioned like a transgressor while the perpetrators are treated with kid-gloves if they happen to be well-connected.

The victims spend years in trying to come to grips with the ordeal that they have been through. They worry about the public behaviour towards them and fear the reaction the people have towards them. This is the reason many victims prefer to remain silent, thinking their families’ honour is at stake.

I feel the Pakistani people should give more thought to what role they can play as a community. It is the little things that will matter: positive gestures, whole-hearted moral support and a friendly environment with no discrimination towards rape victims. The state machinery should introduce mechanisms to ensure the tragedy does not visit anyone else.

Fizza Zulfiqar
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020