Stories about rape

In Pakistan, does #MeToo come with a desi tarka?

The #MeToo campaign was initiated by activist Tarana Burke, after she had a conversation with a 13-year-old girl who opened up to her about sexual abuse.  The victim: A 13-year-old girl.  The purpose: To give her a voice.  The concept was to create awareness, and give a platform to the victims when their vulnerability had been taken advantage of. This was sexual assault, a highly sensitive matter. The international movement was bound to come home one day, and of course, in a country where the Chinese don’t recognise their own Manchurian and where pizza has seekh kebab layered over it, we gave the #MeToo ...

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Zainab Kay Qatil: Capitalising on the rape of a child in the name of raising awareness?

Four months ago, the news of Zainab Ansari’s rape and murder surfaced. The entire nation, our neighbouring country and international celebrities spoke out against child sexual abuse, especially showing sympathy for Zainab and her parents. There were several protests held all over the country in order to urge law and policy makers to bring the perpetrator of this act to justice; some even called for public execution. Feminist men and women alike organised vigils for the 7-year-old rape and murder victim, hoping that their prayers would bring her soul some peace. Even though the alleged perpetrator was sentenced to capital ...

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13 Reasons Why S2: Secrets will come out, lives will change, spirits will be broken

The first image that I think of when someone mentions ‘13 Reasons Why’ is an empty high school hallway. I don’t know what it is about empty high schools, but they always cause me discomfort. It makes me think of endings and the lack of something. I’m not sure what exactly. But that’s one of the feelings I got while watching the first season of the show. The show just announced its release date for season two and dropped the trailer. It was interesting watching Mr Porter (Derek Luke) playing a role in the trailer. We didn’t get much insight ...

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Divided by politics 70 years ago, India and Pakistan are still united by the cancer of rape

Imagine being a young woman who steps out of her house late at night. You hang around with friends, partake in merrymaking that stretches deep into the night, and then safely return home in the morning. There isn’t an ounce of worry in your mind as you go about this. Being wary of your surroundings never crosses your mind, and looking out for unwanted stares doesn’t either. You feel secure, safe and sound. If you’re living in modern day India or Pakistan, this scenario would never happen. Divided by politics 70 years ago, they are still united by the cancer ...

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Do Meesha Shafi’s allegations hold no value just because Ali Zafar “looks like a decent guy”?

I remember spending a whole day during school trying to convince my friend how good-looking this new singer was. She disagreed. But as an 11-year-old, I was very persistent, because not only was he good-looking, he was also ordinary. A boy who spent his days making portraits of others at a hotel lobby, who then suddenly went on to be known as Pakistan’s very own Kishore Kumar. But she still disagreed. So I convinced myself that since she was not a Pakistani, she knew little about the country’s beauty. But that was 2003, and today is a different story. Fifteen years ...

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The perversity of labelling eight-year-old Asifa as ‘the new Nirbhaya’

As India slowly wakes up to the horrors that were inflicted on eight-year-old Asifa Bano in January, collective outrage is gathering steam. New hashtags are trending every day. Horrifying details about the crime are emerging to shake us out of our consciousness. Armchair activists are leading the shout to get justice for Asifa. And rightly so. It is impossible not to be moved to tears after reading the terrible details about the Kathua rape case. From being drugged, to being gang-raped by men who wanted to ‘satisfy their lust’, to being strangled and bludgeoned to death in two horrific attempts, ...

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Pakistani dramas are romanticising rape and brothels but saying the word “talaaq” is the real problem?

Since our movie industry is still in its revival stage, Pakistani dramas have been at the core of our entertainment business. Whether they are our classics like Ankahi and Tanhaiyaan, which to date are fondly remembered, or the dramas loved by the masses in recent years, such as Humsafar and Yaqeen Ka Safar. However, as much as we love our dramas, there are plenty of subgenres that cause sheer cringe moments when viewed on national television. Recently, Malik Taimoor, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA from Rawalpindi, submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly. He believes the word ‘talaaq’ (divorce) is ...

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‘Revenge rapes’: Why are Pakistani women constantly paying for the sins of their men?

Toba Tek Singh is one part of the country that makes headlines quite often. So often, in fact, that I’ve become inclined to reading its name in print. This time, however, I didn’t skim over the content, as I typically do. This headline, after all, was not like the others. Ten people were taken into police custody for ordering the rape of a woman as revenge. Yes, that’s right. They gave an explicit order for a woman to be raped; for her ‘dignity’ to be snatched away from her. All for the price of revenge. We live in a society that thrives off of ...

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Sex rings, paedophilia, preying on white women – What is wrong with British-Pakistani men?

I am sick and tired of what the British Pakistani society has become – I really am. In recent news, it has been reported that the largest British gang of paedophiles, preying on young, vulnerable white girls, is of Pakistani descent. There is no need to sugar coat the fact that we clearly have an issue with women in our society. Telford, where this particular gang operated, was a town not too far from my own, in Ironbridge.  Telford was a sleepy town I happened to visit in 1999, as part of a school trip, of which I have many fond memories. Fast forward 20 ...

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“Dua karo iss dafa beta ho” – Is being a ‘beti’ really the curse it’s made out to be?

Being the fourth daughter my parents were blessed with, I always used to ask them if they had ever wished I had been born a boy. I spent a lot of time wondering if, after having three girls, they were disappointed to see yet another daughter instead of a son. To my relief, my parents always responded to this question with a resounding ‘no’. Rather, they would get surprised and question me instead on the kind of nonsense that fills up my brain with questions such as these.   It is true that I have never felt loved any less by ...

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