Stories about sexual violence

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, a documentary exploring the widespread sexual abuse of children in the streets of Peshawar, is something one wishes every Pakistani would take time to watch, while imploring his or her own eyes to un-see it. The practice of ‘bachabazi’ (child prostitution), as it’s known around the country, is something most of us are aware of. It is an ignominious fact of life in Pakistan that has blended seamlessly among all the other facts we don’t like to talk about. The statistics are hair-raising. Of the estimated one and a half million street children in Pakistan, 90% have suffered sexual abuse. And for every 10 ...

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For the last time, Germany did not “rape” Brazil!

The whole world watched with a mixture of great shock, glee, anticipation and disappointment as Germany beat Brazil by an impressive 7-1 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final. As a long-time fan of Brazil, I too was quite appalled. However, my dismay wasn’t because Brazil lost (it’s only a game after all, and countries win and lose all the time; it’s nothing new), it was more so due to the reaction elicited among many fans, especially over social media. They went so far as to state the most despicable of all metaphors in existence, ‘Germany raped Brazil’. This inappropriate metaphor was especially ubiquitous over Twitter, ...

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Go ahead, beat up the woman, they do it in Indian movies too!

The incident, in which a female bus conductor in India was beaten up, on June 6, only proves that the country has learnt from history that it has learnt nothing from history. Even after the global hue and cry over the gang rape of the student in 2012, the Indian male populations’ attitude towards women hasn’t undergone any significant transformation. In fact, it has gotten worse where even the politicians are desensitised to the extent of calling rape ‘right in some cases and wrong in others’, as stated by Babulal Gaur, the home minister of Madhya Pradesh. Given that caste ...

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Feminism will never work in Pakistan

Rebecca West, a famous author, once said, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” These are powerful words, indeed. Everyone has a different perception of what feminism entails but, universally, it espouses equality and freedom from discrimination, degradation and sexual violence. However, feminism is a concept that sits at odds with a fiercely patriarchal, deeply religious and culture-obsessed society like Pakistan. This is not to say that feminism doesn’t exist in Pakistan; it’s just not given much emphasis or is ...

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Accuse and abuse

Expect, An elaborate depiction, Of maternal incest, For a giddy evening, Should not be blandly left. Paint the picture, And then, pervert it well. Really, what good is an abuse If not aimed below her belt? Accept, The just Jirga has finally said, For an honour to be reclaimed, Residential access of it, Must be gained. Hold her down, as you spread her around, Snatch it from, where it used to belong. Really, what good is an accusation, Without some perks, Deflowering virgins, For the privileged ones? The post first ...

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Male sexual abuse: A myth or fact?

There is a common myth about sexual abuse. Many people believe that boys cannot be abused and even if they are, they argue that sexual abuse is less harmful to boys than to girls. This myth also implies that boys and men cannot be sexually abused because they are better able to protect themselves. Men are not considered vulnerable – psychically or emotionally. However, one must understand that boys are not men; they are mere children who are as defenceless as girls and can too be weak whence trying to protect themselves against predators. According to the Rozan Annual Report 2011-12 2,303 children were abused ...

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Nigella Lawson: One of the many faces of domestic violence

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released this week, physical and sexual violence now affects a third of women worldwide. The consequences of this includes a myriad of health problems including broken bones, bruises, pregnancy complications and depression coupled with the harsh reality that many of these women may possibly spend their lifetime in such a relationship.  In the last year, a host of high-profile rape cases in India have helped shed the spotlight on the pandemic of sexual violence against women. Though we have a long way to go and much responsibility to bear, as a society, the immediate result ...

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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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Item songs and flirting with danger

Item songs have an interesting history. Our parents still remember item numbers such as, Eena meena deeka and Kaho ji tum kya kya khareedo gaay from the 50s for their catchy tunes, interesting lyrics and non-situational placement in films. The trend continued in the 50s with hits like Main kaa karoon Ram mujhey Buddha mil gaya and Honton pe aisi baat. These were songs with all the characteristics of a good item number except one – they were not cheesy. In the 60s, the situation began to change when sexual themes were introduced in item songs. Aa jaane-jaan, piya tu ab to aaja and Raat baaqi were called trendsetters in such content. The ...

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