Every other rape story in Pakistan

Published: February 23, 2013

Sometimes, the family of the victim(s) demand justice. Story ends. No follow-up. PHOTO: REUTERS

In a small town or village in Pakistan, victim X (perhaps Y and Z too, who may be sisters, mothers or relatives) has [allegedly] been raped, gang-raped, often tortured, sometimes murdered and dumped in a ditch, a well, or close to their home.

The actual rape lasts hours, days, weeks or even years.

A few lurid, but contained details of the sexual assault go here, with large chunks cut out so as to not offend and/or titillate the readers.

Additional details may be dropped because the district reporter’s English is atrocious, and his embellishments are suspect.

In fact, the whole story may be dropped right here.

The body or bodies of the victims (alive or dead) have been shifted to a local hospital, where rape is confirmed, or will be confirmed soon by a doctor.

Meanwhile, an FIR may or may not have been registered against a number of accused, who have generally fled the area.

An arrest or two may or may not have been made in the case, but the police are always investigating the incident.

Sometimes, the family of the victim(s) demand justice.

Story ends.

No follow-up.

Placement in the paper:

  • A one to two paragraph brief, somewhere far away from the ‘real news’.
  • A single column story, depending on where the rape took place (urban centers get more traction) and whether it was ‘more violent’ than usual.
  • Nowhere. Other ‘important’ news knocked the story right off.

This is the fate of hundreds of rape cases that actually make their way to the print media each year. Most never go beyond the immediate family of the victim(s). Fewer still get to the registration of an FIR.

Perhaps this is all for the best – at least this way Pakistan’s rape statistics remain lower than those of ‘immoral western’ countries, and our honour is preserved.

Read more by Jahanzaib here or follow him on Twitter @jhaque_

Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

News buff and Web Editor, The Express Tribune. Jahanzaib tweets @Jhaque_ twitter.com/jhaque_

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • MKD

    Considering the number of rapes that happen in Pakistan and around the world every day,
    I don;t blame the editors for not putting those as headline story everyday.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Raising an awareness of this crime, like other heinous crimes, is the responsibility of the media, but this is not the answer, possibly it is a partial answer. The answer lies in better governance, more sincere law maker and better policing, introducing proper values, a code of ethics and simple character building at the grass root level in schools and most importantly regulating and educating the voice from the pulpit. Recommend

  • Fidak

    My view is k media shudnt be blamed
    directly of nt depicting all the crimes bt its actually
    the government controlling it. Nd tht is to be strongly blamed for
    Nt nt showing it publicallyRecommend

  • Insaan

    Search for “police rape Pakistan” on youtube. One tape I saw clearly shows how Police arrests men from “poor” families and let the men go in exchange for sex with their women.Recommend

  • gp65

    This is very familiar to me as an Indian. 10 yeas back this is precisely such news were covered in India also. Now though things have reached a tipping point. There is more visibility and much greater outrage when such incidents occur.No matter which country rapes may never go away, but the 2 things one must strive for is
    1) punishment for perpetrators (which requires trained and adequate policing laws that do not work against the victim etc.)
    2) The victim is able to live a normal life after rape (not referring to the trauma of the incident here but really how society perceives her and her family).Recommend

  • http://www.baahirezaman.wordpress.com Ali Rahman

    Indeed a sad situation… Onus lies on people at large. If we continue to not take a stand, our women will always be butchered like this. We can have movements for restoration of Judiciary, which hardly brings any justice to the common man. But lets not ever get out to protect the honor of a woman. On a different note, I fail to understand the purpose of this piece. Is it to highlight an evil which must be uprooted, or is it a counter argument for the “immoral west” proving we are more immoral. Didn’t understand this allusion.Recommend

  • Norma Estrada

    Everyone who is against sexual assault should stand up and take action. It does not matter if you are female or male. With all of our voices, we can cause a loud roar, but I think we are also scared as a society to stand up. Make your voices heard through elections, writing to congressmen etc. BUT, we chose to ignore the elephant in the room and continue with our day. We are all humans and need to understand how to interact with others and oppressing them by using sexual violence is utterly disgusting. We need to toughen our laws for sexual predators of any kind and provide services for our victims. We need to stop making victims of sexual assault feel like it is their fault…Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez


  • Sane

    What about those who have a concocted ‘rape’ to get US visa or nationality or have an NGO for minting money out of the ‘rape’.Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    not that I am a big fan of them but I can assure you that under Taliban rule there will never be a rape again !!! there never was in Afghanistan … yes check the records please !!!Recommend

  • gp65

    @Baba Ji:
    No reported rape is not the same as no rape. When they will punish the woman for zina for reporting rape without 4 witnesses, who will report rape? That does not mean no rape occurred.Recommend