Stories about victim blaming

Miscarriage of justice: For Khadija Siddiqui, justice was delayed and denied

Shah Hussain’s May 25th ‘acquittal’ in the Khadija Siddiqui case has led to public outrage. People’s faith in the criminal justice system seems to be shattered yet again. In 2016, Khadija was attacked by a helmet adorned assailant multiple times, 23 times to be precise, with a knife. On July 29, 2017, a magistrates’ court convicted Shah, her classmate at law school, of attempted murder and criminal hurt (Sections 324 and 337 of the Pakistan Penal Code) and sentenced him to seven years in prison. In March, 2018, a session’s court reduced the sentence to five years, and last week, the Lahore ...

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#PunishSadatBashir: Are 80 voices not proof enough?

Online feminist campaigns such as #MeToo have brought down many titans of toxic masculinity. Famous international cases include James Dean, a famous adult actor who was accused by many women of sexually assaulting them. The House of Cards star and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey too was accused by a man of sexually assaulting him and is currently under police investigation, after having his contract with Netflix ended for his shameful conduct. The never-ending list of accused also includes other former legends like Bill Cosby and recent addition, Morgan Freeman. In all these cases, the allegations have been and are undergoing investigation by relevant authorities. Careers have taken ...

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“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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Victim-blaming, slut-shaming, parent-blaming, inappropriate memes – is this your way to demand #JusticeForZainab, Pakistan?

A tragedy has paralysed the nation once again, this time in the form of Zainab, yet another innocent child that we lost too soon. Emotions are high, and rightly so, as people demand #JusticeForZainab, and ask the government and the law authorities to ensure accountability, and for once do their job and deliver justice to the family and to the rest of the nation. Hopelessness and despair prevail at the moment, along with a certain sense of despondency at the state of the country we live in, especially in light of how we continuously fail to protect our greatest asset – ...

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Seeking #JusticeForZainab in a land where mindset might change but inherent nature will not

We all saw Zainab’s funeral on our television screens. Some of us were there as well, witnessing her cold body wrapped in a white cloth with a green cloth bearing verses from the Holy Quran. Then we read the ticker on all news channels that informed us of her burial in a local graveyard. All of this compelled me to envisage the pre-Islamic age of ignorance of which one of the prime features was burying newborn girls alive. Many believe that both of these are two isomers of the same ignorance that comprises philistinism, unawareness, barbarism, inhumanity and ruthlessness. Although ...

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A man raped a woman in public in broad daylight while bystanders did nothing but film it – where the hell is your empathy, India?

With the growing number of harassment cases, especially ones that involve men as the perpetrators, it has become relatively easier to identify them in online and offline spaces alike. Considering that nearly everyone, old and young, has access to smartphones with cameras, the probability of evidence being widely shared is now very high. A video surfaced recently in which a woman is seen being raped on a busy walkway in broad daylight in the city of Vishakhapatnam, India. While this atrocious crime was taking place, an autorickshaw driver managed to record a video from his phone, making evident not ...

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Why I choose not to speak up and say #MeToo

Social media is surreal most of the time; however, this past week has seemed more unreal than usual. My timeline on every social media platform has been flooded, or dare I say bombarded, with #MeToo status updates, tweets and posts. The hashtag went viral after American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it to encourage more women to come forward with their experiences with sexual harassment, in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that shook Hollywood. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017 My feelings on this hashtag, which ...

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Powerful sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein can get away with sexual harassment because our silence is their accomplice

I didn’t know who Harvey Weinstein was till I read the The New Yorker exposé on him. For those of you who live under the same rock as I do, he’s an Oscar-winning producer and the co-founder of Miramax. I read each and every victim’s story and felt disgusted to the core, but somehow I felt as if I had read these stories before, only this time the victims were different. The only common factor was a lecherous and sleazy man, making unwanted sexual overtures. My initial thoughts were, ‘why didn’t these women speak up earlier about these harrowing incidents’? I brought this up ...

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He flashed his private parts at her and told her that raping her would please him – no big deal, right?

The other day, I was randomly scrolling through Facebook when I came across a long post by girl who had been harassed on her way to work by a guy on a bike who flashed his private parts at her. So common, right? Let us just keep scrolling, my brain hinted. There was a video attached to the post as well, and it automatically began playing before I could scroll past it. As I watched the video, I realised that the car looked oddly familiar, and then I realised that the girl was in fact my own sister. I ...

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Set aside that male privilege and stand up for your women, Pakistan

Being a Pakistani man myself, I would like to think that most Pakistani men are as appalled at instances of sexual violence as I am. I would like to think that most Pakistani men would not engage in sexual violence. I would like to think that there is a small minority of sexual predators who commit these terrible acts. However, the truth may be a lot more horrifying than my mistaken beliefs. I am not going to limit this to sexual harassment as I do feel a lot of people do commit sexual harassment without even realising they are ...

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