Stories about rape

“Girls expose their bodies only when they don’t have beautiful faces”

Recently, we touched a nadir in our short history; even though some might argue we were already there. In a city where the infamous tag of being the ‘rape capital’ has overridden its stature as the national capital of the largest democracy in the world, an eight-month-old baby was raped. A toddler, who perhaps could barely stand, let alone walk, was left in a pool of her blood by a relative who had offered to babysit her. Around the same time, a biology teacher in the city of Raipur offered her students some twisted advice about being female, allegedly telling them not to ...

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For men, there might be a difference between a rapist and a sexual harasser, but for us women, it’s one and the same

I was astonished to read “When #MeToo Goes Too Far”, an essay by Bret Stephens in The New York Times, in which he harangued women for not knowing the difference between sexual harassment and violent rape. His bottom line was that if you don’t treat sexual harassers more gently than you do rapists, everyone’s going to get tired of #MeToo, and leave you out in the cold. Well, and here I was thinking that being violently raped is exactly the same and as bad as sexual harassment on the street, or at work. Thank you for pointing the difference out to ...

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For Pakistan’s women, the false promise of safety in return for compliance is a double-edged sword

When it comes to living in this part of the world, Pakistani women have long been presented with a causational dictum. Comply and you will survive. Sacrifice in patience and the reward will come to you. Our parents worry when we step out of our homes, pursue higher education, or when we want careers, as the first reaction always is, “Beta, it’s dangerous.” It is dangerous to be out after dark, to be opinionated, or independent – because independent “awara” women are the ones who are assaulted and harassed. Yet, the statistics speak otherwise: – In November, a seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered by two brothers. – In November, a ...

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Verna: A story powerful and lucrative on paper but fails at its execution on screen

Rape is a serious issue that is prevalent in the society. Even talking about rape openly takes a lot of courage, let alone making a movie about it. Shoaib Mansoor is known for making thought-provoking movies on social issues that turn out to be a cinematic delight. His previous movies have been pieces of art for movie-lovers and film students. Verna is his third and recent instalment, so expectations obviously had to be soaring high. His previous movies starred big names like Shaan Shahid, Fawad Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Imaan Ali, Atif Aslam and Humaima Malick. However, this time, Mansoor does not ...

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Happy Children’s Day, Pakistan! BTW, child sexual abuse increased by 10% since 2016

Child abuse is one of the most prevalent social issues in Pakistan. A 2017 report suggests that there has been a 10% increase in cases since last year alone. The issue is only made worse by the fact that neither do we talk about its prevalence, nor do we take any preventive or rehabilitative measures to deal with it. Topics of importance, such as child abuse, rape, sexual assault, honour killing, forced marriage or mental illness, all are considered taboo and often brushed under the rug. The fear of being shunned by society and victim-shamed is perhaps what keeps some of the victims from speaking up about the issue ...

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In Pakistan, rape might go unpunished, but a movie on rape cannot

I recently came across the news regarding the ban on Verna, Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film, and was shocked, to say the least. Mansoor has played a monumental role in the revival of Pakistani cinema, delivering masterpieces like Khuda Kay Liye and Bol. Not only were both great films, they were also centred on very important issues that plague our society today. Bol highlighted the practice of having innumerable children in the name of religion, especially when you cannot even feed them, giving us the legendary line, “Jab paal nahin saktey, tou paida kyun karte ho?” (When you cannot provide for them, why do you give birth to them?) Likewise, the movie Khuda ...

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She was forced to parade around naked, but instead of helping her, we photo’d her and shared it on social media

Recently, a 16-year-old girl was forcefully stripped and paraded around the streets of a village in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province. The reason given was that she was ‘paying the price for her brother’s crimes’. Her brother had allegedly gotten involved in a relationship with a girl from the village. To resolve the matter, he had already been fined by the local jirga and the tehsil nazim. But obviously, some hot-blooded relatives were not satisfied and decided to pay back in the same coin. While the news itself was both saddening and infuriating, it reiterated the bitter truth that ...

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No, my ripped jeans do not allow you to believe that it is your right to harass and rape me

They are just clothes, I tell my father, when he passes a comment about my ripped jeans. He doesn’t understand – perhaps he never will. I run my hands along the tiny rips, feeling bits of skin and wondering if the freedom I feel is the oppression they want me to see. I see my legs in a pair of jeans, they see skin that is fighting the patriarchy. I see my choice, they see my rebellion. On November 3, 2017, Egyptian lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, stated that any woman wearing ripped jeans deserves to be harassed and raped. He ...

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What if Kevin Spacey’s accuser had been a woman?

Something strange has happened amid the recent allegations levelled at Kevin Spacey by actor Anthony Rapp, who claims Spacey assaulted him – then aged 14 – at a 1986 Hollywood party. Oddly, nobody has asked Rapp what he was wearing at the time. Nobody asked why it took him so many years to report the abuse. Nobody asked if he were being paid to speak out, was a gold-digger, or just wanted attention. Nobody asked if he had a grudge against Spacey, or was a man-hater. Nobody asked why he freely went to Spacey’s house, or said he shouldn’t have been there. Nobody ...

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Yaqeen Ka Safar is honest and original, and has changed the paradigm of Pakistani dramas

Drama Yaqeen Ka Safar is currently basking in the success of being Pakistan’s most popular drama at the moment. The plot of some TV serials begins to drag towards the middle, but in Yaqeen Ka Safar, each episode is a rollercoaster of emotions, leaving the audience at the edge of their seats, curious to know what happens next. Personally, this is the first time that I have watched all episodes of a Pakistani drama without fail. It is hard to come up with just one reason to explain the popularity of this incredible story. The drama begins with Daniyal (Shaz Khan) returning from London to Islamabad to try and serve as an ...

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