Newlywed actress Iqra Aziz’s latest drama “Jhooti” just aired its trailer and it has caught public attention for all the wrong reasons.
The one minute trailer shows an injured Iqra Aziz convincing unknown figures of how her husband beat her mercilessly; there are multiple bruises on her face and one of her eyes is completely purple. She cries out: ‘Men only need an excuse to display their strength. Just because I put less sugar in the tea I was slapped? You all think I am a liar. But are these bruises fake too?’
In a quick twist, Iqra Aziz is then seen clapping and laughing. It is revealed towards the end of the trailer that she was speaking into a mirror, practicing her lies. The lead lady is plotting a fake domestic abuse complaint against her in-laws. She even praises her herself for her fantastic performance. She smiles and says ‘sometimes even I believe my own lies.’
From what one can gauge from the trailer, the plot seems highly problematic for it seems to undermine the suffering of genuine domestic abuse victims. Violence against women is very common in Pakistan and such a drama can have grave social repercussions.
Victim blaming is already a popular exercise in our society. Women who come forward with their stories of suffering are often discredited. Faults are found within the women themselves; she must have pushed her husband to a point that he was compelled to act violently. The woman is somehow often painted as deserving of the brutal treatment she gets.
According to statistics collected by White Ribbon Pakistan, an NGO working for women’s rights, 4,734 women faced sexual violence between 2004 and 2016 alone. As per media reports, more than 51,241 cases of violence against women were reported between January 2011 and June 2017. Conviction rates, meanwhile, remain low, with the accused in just 2.5% of all reported cases being convicted by the courts.
Domestic abuse in Pakistan is constantly on the rise and dramas such as “Jhooti” are only likely to make matters worse. This is not to say that all women are telling the truth. There surely must be women out there who fake domestic abuse for their own advantage. However, such cases are certainly a minority.
Taking a famous actress such as Iqra Aziz, in a lead role to tell the story of a manipulative woman who fakes domestic abuse, is to make popular the conception that women are liars. Films and dramas subconsciously shape our thought process. Once “Jhooti” does air, it will mostly likely make society second guess the next victim of domestic abuse that comes forward…