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Victim-Shaming, Social Stigma, Poor Retribution: Is Pakistan Badly Failing The Rape-Victims?

The sorry state of policing as well as lawlessness has turned the hard-earned land of the pure into a stronghold for the abettors and criminals. Be it a crime of any nature, the historical evidence only favored the accused intentionally or unintentionally.

The legal history of Pakistan is full of incidents where the accused scot-free and the victim has to suffer even after the betrayal.

Mukhtaramai Case, Filmstar Shabnam Case, 1983  Jehan Mina Case, 1991 Farhana Hayat Case; all of these in one way or the other end up with safe acquittal of criminals either because of their influential status or due to weak prosecution.

The circumstances in the above cases favored the accused not the one who got mistreated. Whether the victim had to leave the country for good or made to stay with enforced silence about the committed offense. The circumstantial evidence apprises the societal acceptance for the perpetrators and their sympathizers not for the sufferer.

The cases related to sexual assault on women as well as children largely goes underreported because of attached social stigma, lack of awareness on the part of the victim, trust deficit on investigation procedures where even the officials have been found implicating the rape victims.

Those who still manage to report about the misadventure gets disappointed or demoralized due to a lack of bioethics in medico-legal as well as investigation officials.

Victim shaming is perhaps something beyond compensation that the person who suffers onslaught has to confront in cases related to sexual assault.

The sad demise of gang-rape victim, Momal Meghwar, who ended her life by throwing herself in a deep well in the village of Tharparkar shows that our country is badly failing the rape victims and becoming a safe-shelter for the abettors and culprits who remains at large despite the existence of stringent laws against such heinous offenses.

Loopholes in investigations and reliance on old and stereotypical prerequisites during the inquiry are some other predicaments attached to the cases related to the violence of personal integrity.

Another end where our civilian investigation agencies are failing miserably is the lack of integrated and coordinated efforts to tighten the noose around those involved in criminal acts as well as their facilitators.

The deep-seated patriarchal mindset along with victim-blaming for fornication invincibly discourages the conscience of the common man to follow the due procedure of the court.

Police official is considered to be the first person to interact with after such an untoward incident but the version of police high ups making irresponsible and misogynist public statements about the recent Motorway Case presents an abysmal picture of the sick-mentality and inefficient departmental training of these officials.

Moreover, gender equality even in policing plays a key role in protecting the community in general and women in particular. Had women official being the first person to get in touch with the victim, the state of affairs in the notorious gang-rape case would have been different.

The release of several high profile convicted criminals even after getting punished by courts hints the problem deep inside the system and a testament to the fact that there prevails a mindset that willfully commiserates the wrongdoers.

Until and unless there is a collective element of intolerance against such heinous acts in society, the removal of such transgressions would remain a dream unfulfilled.

About Noshin Bashir

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