Stories about rape

#IBelieveHer, and so should you

Throughout her advocacy for sexual assault survivors, Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, has mentioned how action being taken in any particular case does not bring her personal joy. She repeatedly reminds us how this is not what the movement is about – it is about healing for the survivors. Burke is not delusional with the idea that sexual harassment will disappear from the world over the next decade, but she believes a shift in narratives – how we talk about it – is possible by then. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as ...

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Before chanting ‘Geneva Convention violations’, India should look in its own backyard

Last week saw tensions between India and Pakistan escalate further, as India launched an attack on Balakot and Pakistan responded the next day by downing two Indian jets and capturing an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. Soon after, a video circulated on social media in which the captured pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, can be seen blindfolded, his face bloodied as he shares his name, rank and service details on camera. The video was later taken down, but the Indian forces, in a joint conference, began to allege that Pakistan had violated the norms of the Geneva Convention. The same Indian ...

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Silent cries and whispers

She looked through the box as though she were looking for something, some specific piece of information, but couldn’t seem to find it. “Amitriptyline 25mg” it read, bold and vivid. The name seemed daunting enough to prevent her from swallowing the capsule, but she knew she had to. So she unfolded its packaging, fetched a glass of water and finally placed herself on the couch with the medicine in one hand and the glass in the other. She kept the capsule on the tip of her tongue and tried multiple times to gulp it down. It just wouldn’t work. Her body felt ...

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5 reasons why Cheekh is unlike any Pakistani drama so far

Bidding adieu to 2018 with some great Pakistani dramas, our local industry has welcomed the new year with even better ones. Thankfully, we are finally over the typical and redundant saas-bahu sagas, and show runners are venturing into arenas that have remained untapped thus far. The latest attempt to bring something new to the palate of drama lovers is the drama serial Cheekh. Starring the stunning Saba Qamar and heartthrob Bilal Abbas Khan in the lead roles, this new show is something very out-of-the box as we have not seen anything similar coming from our drama-makers in the recent past. Intelligently ...

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Does judicial bias really favour women who cover themselves?

The tendency to judge others is a widely prevalent phenomenon in humans. Unfortunately, judicial bias may have significant consequences for the alleged perpetrator, especially in sexual assault cases. After all, neutrality and impartiality are of utmost importance in such cases in order to ensure a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Pakistan defined bias in Asif Ali Zardari’s case, reported as Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD) 2001 SC 568, as: “‘Bias’ has been held synonymous with ‘partiality’, and strictly to be distinguished from ‘prejudice’. Under particular circumstances, the word has been described as a condition of mind, and has been held to ...

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Even Karan Johar, who calls himself a ‘feminist’, doesn’t understand that ‘no means no’

Karan Johar is the king of love triangles; perhaps even ‘love squares’ at times. After all, most of the movies he has directed, including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Student of the Year, have the same elements at play and this formula seems to work for Johar. However, it seems too much to expect his movies to also make sense, as very rarely do they possess an actual plot that doesn’t include a Rahul falling in love with an Anjali. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, his most recent directorial success, became known for many things but unfortunately, its story wasn’t one ...

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Dishonoured

For every person, there is one emotion they can never handle with ease. For me, that emotion is anxiety. As I stand amidst the neon lights and blaring music, my hands are sweating profusely and my eyes dart from corner to corner in search of a means of escape. My heart is clogged with a lump that threatens to emerge in the form of tears. The atmosphere around me is so loud that I feel my own personality melting into the beats of the drums. But no matter how much I wish to, I can’t drink away the troubles of ...

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Haiwan: When will our dramas stop misrepresenting rape and child abuse?

While highlighting social taboos and evils through local dramas is a bold initiative that our entertainment industry has been taking for around two years now, it doesn’t always hit the mark. At times, our serials normalise things that ought not to be, sometimes in the wake of ratings and sometimes because the makers want to portray situations as close to reality as possible. Recently, the much-hyped drama serial Haiwan, that kicked off the trend of #MyChildMyResponsibility on social media, concluded on a deeply unsatisfactory note. A drama that was meant to give a strong message of protecting children from the predators that ...

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The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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In conversation with Faysal Manzoor Khan, the man behind Pakistan’s dramas and its culture

Unsung heroes often work behind the camera, working relentlessly to ensure everything is on point. It starts with a paper and pen and ends with a compilation, a script. It is about time I shine the spotlight on Faysal Manzoor Khan, a talented Pakistani producer and content creator responsible for the entertainment we regularly witness on screen. He has made a mark nationally with many successful and acclaimed dramas that Pakistanis hold dear to this day. As Faysal unveils his personal side, he speaks to me about his past achievements and future projects. Tell me about yourself! I was born on ...

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