Pakistani officials victim shame rape victim

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Kathleen DeSouza, Staff Reporter

On the night of September 9th, a young mother and her two children ran out of fuel on their way out of the eastern city of Lahore in Pakistan. While waiting for help the mother was gang-raped in front of her children and is now being blamed by law enforcement for this crime.  

Capital City Police Officer, Umer Sheikh said “she should have checked her fuel tank because there were no petrol pumps on that route,” and continued to question why a mother and her kids would be out so late at night. 

Within Pakistani society, women are obligated to be covered up everywhere they go and need to have a man with them. Which was also something else that they brought up. The police questioned, too, why didn’t she go on a safer road or why wasn’t she with a man at the time when this happened. 

“Victim blaming is disgusting and it puts the blame on the person who suffered a traumatic experience rather than forcing the rapist to take accountability for their actions,” said Britney Amankwah, a junior at Naugatuck High School

“People tend to victim blame a lot by saying that maybe she wanted it and was asking for it because of what she decided to wear, crazy what showing a little skin can do right? Wearing something a bit shorter or too tight doesn’t mean anything because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what is being worn. You either learn how to control yourself or don’t go out in public simple.”

Many protests have been held and the police have been receiving backlash because of the fact that no actions are really being taken. Instead they were trying to justify a rape. The capital city police officer was receiving the most backlash, especially for the statement he was making towards this woman’s case. 

All these rape cases would go on to trigger many women and lead to many protest marches being held across the country demanding change by the government and safer workspaces. 

Unfortunately, in Pakistan not many rape cases are prosecuted and it’s even rarer for one to end successfully. Statistics in Pakistan even show that 5,000 rape cases are reported every year and only 5% lead to any kind of conviction. 

There was one case in 2002 who made international headlines when this woman decided to take legal action against the men who gang-raped her. Ultimately, after a long 9 years, five out of the six men were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Not only that but thousands of women are killed every year because of the honor system that exists in which they call, “honor killings.”

Majority of the time these killings are committed by relatives for bringing shame onto the family. 

Luckily,  many women today are expressing themselves more and more on the media, reshaping the conversation.