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Good luck with Aurat March

Salima Bhutto

The writer is a student of mass communication.

As a Pakistani woman, I am fed up with pretending that I support ‘Aurat March’, stepping out onto the streets and fighting for our fundamental rights. That’s too much! What rights are we demanding? Haven’t men already provided us a home to live in, a kitchen to cook food, and children to complete her as a ‘woman’. What else does she need?

The Pakistani society is built on tradition and customs but I am afraid that women are ruining it by speaking our minds, coming out on the roads, and chanting ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’ because we oppose marital rapes and support abortion, harassment, having a right to choose a husband or oppose physical assault. Who asks for these rights when men are providing us everything? What’s wrong if we get beaten or our face is burnt by acid? But men do provide us two times supper. 

I am ashamed we have asked too much from society. After all, it is our fault. Why do we oppose marital rapes when he is our husband. Why abort a child even if delivery complications can end up in our lives. Women only exist to bear a child. Is being a mother, wife, and daughter isn’t enough? I am afraid the day if women ever manage to obtain the right to choose their husband will be the end of times. Have you seen Pakistani men? Who will choose to marry them? And I guess that’s why there is a need to continue suppressing women to protect the basic foundation of marriage.

Always remember never ever speak what is right because no man ever said a woman ‘looks beautiful speaking her mind’. And all that matters is how a woman should live according to his will, not hers, because those who obey end up getting beaten. Have you ever heard a man saying ‘So I hit my boss today as I could not control my anger? No, because they hit their wives only. Women consider this as a physical assault and forget a man hits you because he loves you. That’s why a man simply apologises after all the dozens of stitches and bruises and moves on.

Ever since women have started stepping out of their homes, we have become a target of rape and gang rapes and why shouldn’t they? We never listen to stay at home, wear eastern clothes, and come back before sunsets.

One day, she covers herself and goes out for few errands but ends up getting sexually assaulted. Who’s a fault is it? Of course, it’s hers. She should not have left her home alone anyway. Somehow she stays at home and gets raped by her own family members because it is her fault that she must have provoked him. It is always our fault, whether it is a woman with her children waiting on the Lahore motorway who gets raped by two men because she should not have left the home or the six-year-old minor girl who went out to buy snacks and was brutally assaulted.

Once again, why should women not march? Our forefathers marched against the British for independence and gave Pakistan to live with free will. Isn’t that enough? What if Aurat March had a manifesto with demands against dowry, child marriages, force conversions, gender equalities in house chores? Still, we wouldn’t attend it because this is a poison which is spreading by speaking our minds.

Once again this year too I hope, when women like us dare to go onto streets and chant for our rights and egotistic men like Khalil-ur-Rehman say ‘Main Thookta Hoon Tere Jism Per’ reminds us how important it is for women to march. I am eagerly waiting this year too how our society will ignore all the banners such as ‘Educate women to educate a generation and ‘I march so my daughters wouldn’t have to march’ and instead argue again and forget the root cause of why we march. To all the insane Pakistani women, Good luck!