Victimizing women

There have been innumerable cases of violence against women regularly. However, the incident on the Lahore motorway has shaken our conscience and has given a reckoning of the moral decay that has permeated our society.

The horrific incident occurred on the Lahore motorway where a woman was brutally raped in front of her three children after her car ran out of fuel at midnight and she had called her husband for help. Two suspects from a nearby village broke the car’s mirror assaulted her. The news of the incident sent shockwaves and has reignited a new debate on women’s safety in public.

The women’s identity has been kept secret which is unusual for a trumpeting media and a case has been registered. The subsequent attitude of the police has been depressing to say the least and highly uncalled for. CCPO Lahore, who was tasked to launch an investigation, made an appalling statement when he blamed the victim for the incident.

The senior police officer instead claimed the women choose the wrong route and timing and should have checked her car’s fuel. It was rather shocking to hear such words from the police and no action has been taken while he is still leading investigation in the case. Rather than apologizing that his remarks were insensitive, the policeman has instead defended himself.

This exposes a much larger problem in our society. Most often, men have set out the rules for women on what is acceptable and what’s not. Male chauvinism has strengthened the patriarchy and any attempt by women to raise a voice is shunned. This is why the Aurat March was vilified and the word feminist is not even uttered. We need to end the culture of mansplaining and let women have freedom and make their own decisions.

We have seen a rising in rape and kidnapping of minor children, attacks against transgenders and now an incident which warrants our complete attention. Many people are demanding public hanging of rapists but this will not solve the issue until we change our mindset and societal attitudes towards women.

The incident has certainly created panic and fear among women whether the streets are safe for them. Many are considered keeping firearms or tasers against any perpetrators. This incident should serve as a reckoning that we need to make our roads, workplaces and our society safe for women.

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