Stories about sexual assault

Saudi Arabia: Holy hypocrites

I was born in Saudi Arabia and am very closely accustomed to the grossly odd laws that exist within the nation, namely, and perhaps most famously, that women are not allowed to drive, that women have to don the black abaya when in public and that there is strict segregation between men and women most stringently enforced by the muttawas or religious police.  I distinctly remember a muttawa once giving my mother a religious lecture over how she should contain her eight-year-old daughter and stop her from running around in case she attracted men. A complete absurdity indeed but my mother ...

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Will #HeForShe work for me, a man?

The recent HeForShe campaign by Emma Watson, the UN Women goodwill ambassador, has gained significant repertoire, with many men posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook with placards, articulating their support for the campaign. The campaign speaks against gender violence and inequality. It is particularly a feminist movement and although it realises the bias against men, it does little beyond recognition. Emma herself stated that: “The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” There is indeed a need for gender equality, and abuse against either should be equally condemned. Women are mostly ...

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When a rape victim is ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’

Outlawed in Pakistan won an Emmy this year for Pakistan and this is a triumph that must be celebrated on many levels. Pulitzer Centre grantees Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann spent five years in making this 45-minute-long short film, exposing the inherently flawed justice system of Pakistan. It’s another addition to the success spree of alternate filmmaking in Pakistan, two years after Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Academy award for her documentary. It’s also an endeavour to bring forth the severe violation of women rights and how women, from extremely opposite social and economic backgrounds, work together to empower women all ...

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In 2014, slavery still exists…

Children are beautiful, innocent, simple and sweet. Therefore, they are loved, cajoled, pampered and spoiled. They get special treatment, selected food, quality education, prompt healthcare and extra attention. But this is not true for every child. Not every child is considered beautiful, simple and pure. Some children are born to live as children while others are born to live as slaves. These slave children are neglected and forgotten. They are beaten day in and day out, humiliated and assaulted. They are the waiters, the maids and the mechanics. They are the ones you take one glance at and then look away, because they look ...

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Only morally rotten men rape: 8-year-old in Bahawalpur raped and killed

Terrible news crossed my path today first thing in the morning, as I nestled with my cup of tea. I opened my laptop to read about an assault and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Bahawalpur. I am a mother of two adorable children who are my lifeline, my pride. People feel that motherhood is a roadblock to one’s own aspirations but I feel quite the contrary. To me, my children inspire me to achieve greatness. The idea of a scratch or a bruise on my children is enough to botch a good night’s sleep for me. I obviously don’t even want ...

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The seven-year-old rape victim

As journalists, we are told to be neutral, to leave our emotions aside and not become part of the story. There comes, however, a point when you just cannot write the word-by-word account without getting emotional. Your fingers refuse to proceed with the story as if not writing it would somehow reverse time. My breaking point came when I was asked to edit a story about a seven-year-old girl raped in Dera Ismail Khan. When one works for a newspaper, one can argue that coming across rape cases can become a routine. But this case was different. Though the girl survived the gruesome act, was ...

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Rape: It’s not about sex; it’s about power, anger and violence

Public debate about ‘rape’ is always an emotional affair. I place ‘rape’ in commas as it is an out-dated word carrying incorrect perceptions about sexual violence; perceptions that blur the true picture and inhibit effective solutions. The first and most distracting misconception is that sexual assault is about sex. Sexual assault is no more about sex than assault with a weapon is about the weapon. Experts, such as Stephen Homes, Larry Seigal and Gene Ragula, are among a range who have published writing clearly stating that sexual assault/abuse is not about sex. It’s about power, anger and violence. Legal systems across ...

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Women are not treated as ladies even in developed countries

There is a country where, every six days, a woman is killed by her partner. It is a country where, on any given day, over 3,000 women with their 2,500 children live in emergency shelters to escape domestic violence. It is a country where in just one year, over 0.4 million women over the age of 15 reported that they have been sexually assaulted. Since only 10 per cent of sexual assaults are reported to the police, the actual number is much higher. It is a country where half of all women have experienced at least one incident of ...

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