Reproductive Rights, Love + Sex, Gender, Love

Pakistani culture still shames women who love themselves – but rewards the men who attack them

I refuse to live in a world where I hear stories of women being lit on fire because they’ve been attacked and reported it to the police.

Trigger warning: Graphic descriptions of rape/sexual assault

Talking about sex within a Desi setting is still a taboo. While so many writers have written articles, there is still a massive problem with addressing it within communities and having normal conversations around the subject. For safety, this is a conversation that needs to be had. Everyone needs to be aware of consent, different types of birth control and the possibilities of STI’s and STD’s.

Let’s talk about Qandeel Baloch, who was murdered in Pakistan for being the very thing that Pakistani men hate: a sex symbol. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay if they’re having sex with multiple women and asserting dominant sexual behavior, but God forbid that a woman exercises her right to do the same in public.

There’s even this belief that Desi women loving and accepting their sexuality can lead to rape culture acceptance. Rape culture has been at the forefront of countries across the world for many years. The very definition of rape culture is that rape or sexual assault is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes.

Why should anyone live in a world where the concept that you could be violated so violently is acceptable? Qandeel was killed as a result of being open about her sex life and her own sexuality. Yet the Imam that she had sex with is free to live his life despite the fact that his actions lead to someone directly being harmed.

Sex is still viewed as a shameful part of life and something that should only be shared between a husband and wife. There is a refusal to acknowledge that these conversations need to be had. Without it, many people do not know how to deal with sexual health effectively.

Sex is a normal part of life and sexual health is so important.

Human beings are on this earth as a result of sex, so it should not be something that people cower away from when bought up. There need to be open conversations, where stigma is detached, and people can be open about they feel about all of the stipulations that come with sex.

It is important and necessary to educate young minds so they’re not disillusioned or incapable of dealing with their sexual health.

According to Express Tribune, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s health department in Pakistan records shows at least 6,853 patients with STDs were registered by July 2015. Between 2011 and 2013, K-P saw 28,865 patients with STDs. The newspaper reached out to health professionals in their pursuit to find out about STI’s in the country, only to be rejected by all of them. This just shows how even medical professionals do not want to be attached to the stigma of discussing sexual health.

This is the 21st century. It is simply not good enough.

Groups such as The Gulabi Gang, are vigilantes that fight against violence against women.

One of their most known cases was when a 17-year girl was raped and instead of the rapists being arrested, the victim was. She was gang-raped by people who hold positions of power within the Indian legislation system, so they went to the police before she did and filed a warrant for her arrest. Her father went to the Gulabi Gang who organized two mass demonstrations in front of the police station and the legislator’s house.

They believe that women who are oppressed by patriarchal practices should be dealt with lathi’s (sticks). An honorable and noble cause that will lead the next generation of women to never accept rape culture an instead fight against it, with the help of the older women and allies.

This ignorant attitude needs to be fought against and women need to be protected at all costs. No matter their sexual choices. I refuse to live in a world where I hear stories of women being lit on fire because they’ve been raped and reported the piece of shit to the police. It’s a disgrace that women cannot even speak about being sexually violated without facing a consequence.

Women’s sexual health, women’s sex lives, and women and sex are still a taboo, and this needs to end.