Reproductive Rights, Gender, Social Justice

In my homeland of Pakistan, women aren’t seen as people

We aren't allowed to fight back, but our bodies are still used as battlegrounds.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, a 14-year-old girl is abducted by a gang while out with her cousins to fetch water from a nearby well. She is then made to parade naked through her own neighborhood in Garahmat Village.

It’s later found out that the reason behind all this cruelty is a century old one: honor.

The girl’s brother had been engaged in a love affair with another woman from the village. When the village council found out, they ruled that the sister of the fornicator be punished for her brother’s sins.

The reason behind all this cruelty was an age-old one; honor. Click To Tweet

Another such incident took place in Multan, Pakistan, where a 16-year-old girl was brutally raped by the men of another family, residing in the same village as her. And just like the first incident, this tear-jerking one was a matter of family honor.

The teen victim’s brother had raped a 12-year-old girl.

Following that assault, the members of the victim’s family decided that the fitting punishment was to brutally rape the sister of the perpetrator, too.

When will this abhorrent mentality of revenge-rape come to an end?

I simply don’t understand why the lives of women are ruined for the faults of their family members. For as long as I can remember, women in Pakistan have been known more as the flag bearers of the family name than their own person. They are treated like badges if they achieve something in life, and stains if anyone around them dares to break the norm. We are NOT anyone’s possessions.

Why burden us by linking everyone else’s honor to us?

Can we please start treating women like regular human beings, already? Click To Tweet

In rural areas of Pakistan, women’s bodies are treated like battlegrounds to resolve disputes.

The brash village councils (panchayats) ruin thousands of lives every single day despite not even being registered as proper judicial establishments. These councils are usually run by the utterly inhumane and illiterate “elders” of the village and are not bound by any rule of law. These so-called leaders can do whatever they want, to anyone at any given time.

And they are not at all fearful because they are fully aware of the prevailing lawlessness in Pakistan.

They know that if anyone dares to lodge a single complaint against them at a local police station, all it will take to close the case forever is a few thousand rupees worth of bribe money in the already-brimming pockets of the police station’s head.

The plights of our women are trivialized by everyone around them. They are told to “get over it” and “just pray no one finds out” so they can live happy lives.

But thankfully, our media is now active enough to come to the rescue of women who have had to bear with such atrocities.  And like countless others, these women’s voices found solace in confiding to the media.

Our inefficient Pakistani authorities finally took notice of these heinous acts and detained the allegedly involved men.

These women's voices found solace in confiding to the media. Click To Tweet

Rape, in the 21st century, continues to be one of the greatest fears of women in my dear country.

Women fear their voices will be muffled to a point where they lose all sense of self and let go of the reins of their lives, altogether. They know that no person around them will have the balls to defend their honor.

Instead, she will be belittled over and over again for something that was completely out of her control.

Men from her vicinity will refuse to be seen around her and so all her chances at a normal life will cripple because of the quest of every man on Earth to find his own pure little Virgin Mary.

If a woman grows, so does an entire generation. Click To Tweet

The revenge factor in these rapes will become non-existent the day all potential perpetrators realize that society will let women integrate regardless of what has happened to them in the past.

And this will only happen if men and their families stop making women feel like trash because of something that’s completely out of their control. They need to see beyond girls’ pasts and must get to know them for who they really are in lieu of baselessly passing judgments.

Trust me, this is the only thing survivors of rape need and it CAN be done. So play your part: stop labeling them as baggage, and start letting them thrive.

For if a woman grows, so does an entire generation.

Momina Naveed

Momina Naveed

Professional ranting enthusiast from Lahore, Pakistan. When she’s not busy arguing with sexist misogynists, you may find her ogling fluffy dogs, matching foundation shades like a relentless lunatic, and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy.

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