In a shocking incident, two armed men raped a young woman in the F-9 park, sending shocks of horror and anguish across the country. Raping women and children has been so rampant in our society that now it rarely does stir any reaction. Nevertheless, from time to time, some stories happen to be of an extremely disturbing nature that compels us to sit back, take in the appalling reality and try to accommodate ourselves with the shudder. This incident of F-9 park was of that kind.
The audacity to rape a woman in a public space, in broad daylight, and afterwards schooling her for her “inconsiderate behaviour” leading to her rape, literally boiled my blood. As per the victim, the rapist raped her at gunpoint and later offered her 1000 rupees advising her to avoid staying outside that late, inferring that if she had been cautious, her rape would have been averted. “TYPICAL VICTIM BLAMING.”
Moreover, this specific belief system is not limited to a certain section or some people. In fact, a large chunk of our population believes the same thing. For instance, in the motorway incident, a mother was gang-raped. However, we watched an official voice objecting to women’s “inconsiderate attitude” for not taking precautions or travelling with a man. A great number of people equally endorsed his opinion.

This presumption that women should be careful to avoid danger stems from a specific thought pattern called the Rape Culture. Hearing this term, the Rape Culture, people get conscious or overly defensive, assuming the rape culture entails having a culture brimming with rape cases. Fair enough to get defensive. However, this implication of the Rape Culture is limited to its Literal Meaning. A bit of explanation of this term would be helpful to dispel the misconception.

The term Rape Culture, coined in 1970, describes the systemic and endemic nature of sexual violence to the extent of normalization of sexual violence. This means gender violence is trivialized and normalized to the degree that first, it’s considered something inevitable and bound to happen, and second, the potential victim, instead of the potential wrongdoer, is blamed for the wrong happening to one. The victim and, in most cases, women are expected to avoid getting raped when it should have been men to be not violating women. It’s Don’t Get Raped, instead of Don’t Rape, placing the entire burden of guilt on the victim.

Well, victim-blaming would not have been an issue either if only it was all-inclusive. For instance, have you ever seen a victim of robbery or gunshot being schooled by society for not being careful with his body or wealth? Nonetheless, in the case of sexual violence, somehow, women happen to be at fault. Whether it was Zahir Jaffer beheading Noor Muqadam, Mukhtaran Mai getting raped, or this incident of the f-9 park, if women had acted cautiously, “not being at the wrong time, at the wrong place with the wrong person”, the danger could have been averted.

Alas! Totally dismissive of the fact that rape has never been about the victim or its conduct. Even being at the right place, at the right time, with the right person did not save women from getting raped. Remember the robbery near Chunian bypass in Pattoki when two unidentified robbers allegedly gang-raped a minor girl at gunpoint in front of her father and other family members? Checking all the boxes of engrained societal standards, still getting raped.

Obviously, the solution to keeping women safe has always been confining them, keeping them in segregation, but why do we forget that confining women would let their lasciviousness unleash on children? Not even talking off the top of my head, as per a report issued by Sahil NGO, only in the first six months of 2022, a total of 2,211 cases of child abuse were reported across the country, suggesting that 12 children were sexually abused on average per day, in comparison to 10 children per day of year-2021.

If you confine children, family members would be at higher risk. I could quote hundreds of cases involving family members, but that’s not even a point. What I want to say is that victim varies, but the potential criminal is constant. And this is what Rape Culture refuses to acknowledge. Park that thought, now back to our main point.

This woman was raped in a PUBLIC PARK in the SAFEST CITY in our country. Imagine the situation of women from the rest of the country. Where do you think the audacity came from? First, the criminals are mindful of the pervasiveness of victim blaming. No matter how obnoxiously they commit a crime, there will be some voices excusing them of the blame. Second, the eroded rule of law, pumping audacity into the criminals.

These criminals were pretty confident that the law could not get its hands on them, or even if it did, they would soon be at large, considering our justice system, in an endless shamble. Hence, poking mullock at our law. Just think for a while. Men and women exist everywhere. However, not every man does rape a woman. Why? Undoubtedly, the thing that keeps criminals in line is simply the vigorous enforcement of the law. If there had been no implementation of the law, humans would have been beasts without any restriction. Morality is not the only thing to keep humans controlled. You must have a robust implantation of the law.

Second, this line, blurring morality from the issues of legal nature, must be located. In our society, most of the time, people have mistaken morality for legal issues. For instance, smoking is morally wrong in our society, not to mention health complications. However, using the same cigarette to burn property is a crime. You see the difference, right? You have agency of choice, but your choice is not supposed to be harmful to the other person.

Simple and straight. Once our people located the difference between the two, the majority of our issues would get figured out in a blink. The rest to dampen rape culture, we should discourage the fault lines reinforcing it, for instance, calling out explicitly rape jokes, the belief that men will be men, and resisting the temptation to look for an ideal victim (When a crime is committed, the ideal victim is someone who most quickly is offered the entire and legitimate status of being a victim) or shutting up jokes trivializing sexual assault.

These are the very basic solutions that common people will have to adopt; however, on a broader level, our institutions, for instance, the justice system and media, will have to discourage the flourishing aspects of the Rape Culture. Dramas and shows that glorify sexual violence and Stockholm syndromes will have to be demoralized. We need to wrest that space from potential criminals before they capitalize on it.

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