The policeman slapped her across the face. On TV. But we will blame the woman

Published: October 21, 2016

In a shocking display of aggression, a police officer assaulted a media person. Since then, social media has exploded into a plethora of arguments as to who is more to blame: the woman who was assaulted or the man who assaulted her.

You can clearly see that the attack was unprovoked – she merely tugged at his shoulder, and even though whatever she said was verbally charged, no words or actions of hers warranted the attack by the policeman. According to the news channel, the LEA personnel shoved her as well and in later videos, there were sounds of gunshots as well.

Most people seem to conflate the argument that ‘the media should be taught ethics’ or ‘the woman was being aggressive!’ but conveniently seem to forego how nothing that that woman did or the level of her physical engagement with the policeman warranted the violent assault.

The policeman was at first accosting the cameraman at which Saima Kanwal showed to her viewers that,

“If this is how they treat media persons, imagine how they must treat the regular public.”

She asked the policeman to leave the cameraman alone, then asked him if he didn’t have ‘mothers and sisters at home’ so that he knew how to behave with them. Then she tugged at his uniform – after which the policeman turned around, glared at her angrily and slapped her. Violently.

The question here really isn’t about media ethics at all – rather it is about the unwarranted and the unchecked authority that these law enforcement agents have while dealing with anyone who is apparently powerless in front of them. The question here is how people justify violence against women and how it is frighteningly ingrained in our mindsets.

You can see from the video that at no point during the whole altercation was the LEA personnel in any danger of physical harm or being subjected to actual violence. Yes, he was annoyed, but his initiation of violence cannot be justified in any way. There were various legal resources available that the LEA personnel could have taken in order to take action against the reporter if he felt that she was out of her bounds.

It is clear that the LEA personnel did not act out of self-defence or to save anyone surrounding from any kind of harm; it was simply out of the sheer irritation and annoyance of being harangued by a female reporter that he resorted to this kind of untamed violence.

What do you think the case of the policeman slapping a female news anchor proves?

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Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (

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

  • Malik

    Who gives media persons the right to barge in anywhere and irritate people. These media persons have had it a long time coming. Look at the insulting tone she is using for the guy, pointing fingers trying to talk down to him. She deserved this.Recommend

  • Hassan Tariq

    Do u know what is the penalty for grabbing the uniform of a soldier on duty.
    I guess not and the lady didn’t either. Recommend

  • Deems

    He was not a police constable. He belongs to FC. Always fact check your write-ups!Recommend

  • Aarij Khan Yousufzai

    It was her mistake u know what if he did the same thing to the women touching her like she was doing … just see the agression in her tone and constantly provoking the police ……… i think media should know their limitssss..Recommend

  • PatelPara

    No we blame both. You can’t just pull an FC guards shirt and accuse him of something.Recommend

  • Aarij Khan Yousufzai

    something bad happens with women the feminist joins the party,men should behave properly men dont have ethics etc etcc what about having some of them in ur self as well….Recommend

  • Mr Obvious

    Moral of the story – you can yell at police but don’t ever touch them. With that said – hitting women for such a minor offense is pretty lame.Recommend

  • Zaki

    Just read two paras and couldn’t finish.
    You got to see the both sides of the coin. Being a woman doesn’t allow you to forget etiquette, manners and journalism. Having said that, I condemn his act and the FC officer should not have behaved like that. He must be reprimanded. But the media persons should also need to learn a lesson here!Recommend

  • Numan Huzain

    our religion and society has justified the violence! these comments would be the outcome. Who will tell them that there is no justification for violenceRecommend

  • cabalco

    Officers are here to serve protect and be patient, including nagging reporters, who in this case happens to be a woman. Her mistake was she forgot its the subcontinent which has a particularly savage attitude towards their women. Look at the vicious misogynistic “how dare you, you a woman who cannot question me a man” filled slap. Being born a woman in this part of the world is worse than a prison sentence. Officers have to be trained better, this kind of savagery is unacceptable from people kept to uphold the law, but then what can we do, our culture doesnt teach us any betterRecommend

  • MR.X

    these feminists are hypocritesRecommend

  • Guest41203

    I dont understand the logic of feminist, in general they are fighting for women rights and equality that should be appreciated and supported but technically they are craving for superiority. FC trooper action was wrong and should be condemned but how can you ignore the fact that the lady had grabbed an official personnel from his uniform or as the blogger mentioned “She tugged at his uniform” making it sound like this level of physical contact is acceptable … Anyways Both of them were equally wrong and their actions are not justifiable…Recommend

  • Soul Speek

    I would request the author to remove the glasses of a feminist and see the real picture. This so-called reporter was constantly nagging and shaming this Policeman. He tried to avoid her but then she started pulling his dress. Do you even know that its a crime to grab the uniform of a law-officer on duty?

    Had this reporter been a man, he would have been given multiple slaps by then. She should consider herself lucky that she got away lightly. I fully side with the policeman who was simply there to do his duty.Recommend

  • Cobrajock

    You try it sometimeRecommend

  • stevenson

    Don’t know if officers need to be trained better but people in South Asia definitely need to be trained better ! If a reporter screamed and grabbed a policeman in the US the way this woman did, she would be tazered and put in hand cuffs and taken to jail – right away and period; No questions asked.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    then women should keep their hands to themselves…you want to act like a man then be prepared to be treated like one.

    The women should act as women and not act like the police man who has acted outside the law and proven to be a palin coward.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    No one in the media, male or female has the right to harass police or military personnel doing their duty,

    And what one might ask Sir is the duty of the police or military personnel?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Parvez

    So in your mind if one slaps a woman… shows he’s a man ?
    I would not even like to dignify that with a counter argument.Recommend

  • Parvez

    – What he said was very clear…..and I have replied.
    – The woman was not trying to act like a man…..she was put in a situation where she overstepped and what she did in the course of her work, WAS GRONG…….but did that give the man the license to slap her ?……absolutely not.Recommend

  • farhan

    see the comments…and youll see whos laughing..Recommend

  • Rasheed

    You call that “prodding”? Apart from that, lets switch the sexes. You’d be popping your brains out on how vile men in the media yet you make such audacious statements.
    This article was a waste of time.Recommend