aneka.chohan

Aneka Chohan

The author is a freelance journalist and human rights activist. She tweets as @anekachohan (twitter.com/anekachohan)

Can a 12-year-old consent to rape?

A young child, no older than 12, lies unconscious in the hospital. She has been picked up by her family from her employer’s place of residence and taken to the hospital after repeated episodes of the child falling in and out of consciousness. The doctor’s diagnosis? The child, a 12-year-old girl, has been sexually assaulted. As I sat with my friend scrolling through my phone reading the news story, I sighed running my hand through my hair. When she asked what the matter was, I showed her the story, letting her read it rather than me telling her. She shook her head and said that ...

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“If a rape victim marries her rapist, she will not have a bleak future”: Well done, Malaysia

“The thing is, they have an opportunity – with a marriage they can lead a healthy and good life.” These are the words of Shabudin Yahya, a Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) for the ruling coalition party, when referring to rape victims. The outrage doesn’t stop there, however, since the MP went on to say, “For a woman that was raped, if she can marry (her rapist) she would not go through such a bleak future. At least she has someone who can become her husband. So this will be a remedy for social problems.” Shocked as I was, I pushed the laptop to ...

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Is child sexual assault or rape, in this day and age, still excusable?

Right across the Turkish capital, Istanbul, countless people are huddled together clutching boards and posters in a form of protest. Turkey has been struggling with a number of political problems and most of them are associated with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in neighbouring war-torn Syria. But this time, unlike the others, this problem doesn’t have anything to do with ISIS but is triggered by troubling issues inside the country. A new Turkish bill has been proposed which pardons men from crime and punishment if they marry the victim they raped. Thousands of women were outraged. Human rights groups were ...

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What happens when your 12-year-old surfing the internet is exposed to porn?

“The boy had told her if she didn’t have sex ‘she wouldn’t be his sister any more’”. That’s what the prosecutor said; standing in a British court room during the trial. The young girl – aged under nine – suffered these disturbing acts one after the other and kept her silence – pressurised and blackmailed like nearly all victims are. Her next decision? She went and confided in her mother after which he used the same defence tactic that she had ‘consented’ for sex. Many victims find their stories go unheard and ignored when the possibility of ‘consensual sex’ begins to loom around. ...

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“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?”

“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?” Those are the words of Filzah Sumartono from AWARE – a group dedicated to women’s rights – when she tries to talk about the taboo subject with members of her community. It is astounding that people avoid this topic with a wave of the hand, branding it as a “small cut” especially when the effects of such a procedure can be damaging – both physically and mentally. According to Orchid Project, girls and women can suffer from emotional distress throughout their lives, not to mention having feelings of fear, helplessness, ...

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I’ll wait for you

The look of anguish on your face, As you ran away from my embrace, My mind and heart cannot forget, And yearns for the affection I deserve to get.   The way you left; the car drove away, My days became dark and grey. My eyes desperately searched and followed you, And the desire for a loving look grew.   My whispered goodbye; you did not hear? Nor the way my heart began to tear? Hot tears burning in my eyes, you did not see? Nor the desperation I held in my plea?   Your smile, I yearned to receive, But watched, helplessly and reluctantly, leave, Their argument ripped us apart, The painful moment piercing me like ...

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Israeli persecution: History’s ironic repetition

A young man – a Palestinian national footballer – lay on a bed in hospital. His weak face partially hidden with an oxygen mask while the machine continues to beep every second, matching the thumping of this heart beat; zigzag lines on the screen drawing each second of life left within him. He is critically ill and fighting for his life. His diagnosis? A serious illness caused due to a prolonged hunger strike. Why was this hunger strike more important than his own health, you ask. The hunger strike was carried out as a form of protest against his detention at the brutal ...

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How much killing is too much?

The Pakistani flag  is an emblem of freedom and independence for all Pakistanis. The star and the crescent symbolise light and progress respectively. The dark green represents Pakistan’s Muslim population, and since this is a majority, the green covers the greater amount of the flag. The white strip on the side represents the country’s minority groups. For a moment, dear reader, just imagine the green side overlapping and taking over the white until the entire flag is green. Bold and unimaginable isn’t it? However, this image isn’t far from the truth. It depicts what is happening right now in Pakistan, where every minority ...

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Killed twice: Marrying the man who raped her

A young girl lay dead across the bedroom floor, and a small open bottle lay just mere inches from her hand with the words ‘rat poison’ printed across the label. She had just committed suicide – an act forbidden by the laws of God and nature. Her reason? She was ordered by a judge to marry the very man who had raped her. Amina Filali was just 16 when she ended her life. Only last year, Amina’s parents filed charges against their daughter’s rapist who was 10 years older than the teenager. The judge, in the Moroccan city of Tangier, concluded that rather than punishing him, the ...

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Why porn is popular in Pakistan

It’s late at night and the hands of the clock signal that it is just past midnight. The whole family is sound asleep with the sole exception of a young man sitting on the bed, with the laptop right in front of him. To anyone, including his family, it seems as if he’s studying, or working on an important project, or checking out the latest headlines online or watching innocent, comical clips on YouTube. All it takes is a peek over the shoulder and all is not what it seems. This scenario is part of an average, everyday lifestyle for ...

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