The policeman slapped her across the face. On TV. But we will blame the woman
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.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.