When doors of justice close on rape survivors
This reminds me of a heinous incident our relatives suffered through in their own house.
The cook had targeted the maid while all the family members had gone for an outing. As per the maids observation, the cook had a bad intention since a very long time but having no strong evidence she did not dare to complain the owner. One day when all the members had left and were supposed to come by late evening ,the cook found this as the golden chance to fulfil his criminal desires. He acted that as if he needed some urgent help in his servant quarter and so called the maid to reach to him immediately.she was very reluctant to go but for the sake of assistance she decided to make a move. As soon she entered the quarter, the cook locked the door from behind and raped her. Few days later when she went for her monthly leave, her family was totally shocked to see her numb behaviour and stressful body language. This made her tell the family about the incident. She also insisted for going to the police station for the complain but her family clearly refused by saying
“POLICE STATION KABHI BHI NAE.KOI HUAMARA YAKEEN NAHI KEREYGA AUR ULTI ZINDAGI BHER KI BADNAMI UTHANI PAREYGE”
The cook was fired as soon the owners were informed by the maids mother about his evil acts. But unfortunately he never got the required punishment.
And no one knows where he is employed now. Why does everybody has a low faith on the law guardians and on the contrary feel more discomfort in reaching them?
There is already a certain image of women in society, one which forces them to keep quiet and silent about such matters, does this attitude play right into the hands of the criminal and the authorities?
Where does a sexual assault survivor go if the guardians of law close their doors on them? This was the question that sprung again in my shock-stricken mind when I came across an authentic source.
A woman was raped inside her house in Gulberg, Peshawar by a man called Shah Zaman while those with the culprit stood guard to the inhumanness that was going on.
As if the culprit and those accompanying him were not enough to reflect the cruel reality of the society, the police showed another face of bitterness that rape survivors have to go to, but it is seldom heard or brought to notice.
When reported, the police said the woman was tortured “not raped” and the only statement they had to back their claim was that she refused to go for a medical check-up, therefore the charges she complained about could not be proved and hence it indicated torture not rape. Really? Does a rape survivor not going for a check-up calls for a counter argument against her complaint?
As if knowing what the outcome of such a refusal, the woman clarified that she was not in the physical state to be able to go for a medical examination.
The police could have reported it as an alleged case of rape — that is what the word “alleged” in whatever language feasible could be used for — but instead a highly insensitive approach was taken.
If such charges are not pressed, it would not be wrong to assume that the culprits of that rape and many others are given a freehand to go about freely after committing such heinous offences.
By condemning the assault I do not mean to imply that the police should instantly believed, there is always room for further investigation. But turning down the complaint by giving it another shape — calling rape torture — is like fuelling an epidemic that rape is in Pakistan.
The police was totally inclined to waive off the case but i believe there should have been some arrangements from the counsellors or therapists to revive the self efficacy in the victims behaviour. Building the stress inside is simply not fair and deprives them in living a confident life ahead.
In a country where rape is not reported in the first place, the role of the police as oppressors is the worst part in the series of instances that follow offences.
In a report by Aurat Foundation, an NGO, called Annual Report on Violence Against Women: A Qualitative Review of Statistics it was written that rape cases reported are the tip of the iceberg. The reported stated that 827 and 822 cases of rape and gang rape were reported in 2011 and 2012. However, local organisations, like War Against Rape, say that the actual number of cases may be 60% to 70% higher.
With this apathy of law-enforcers i.e. the police and restriction to access to justice we do not want another woman setting herself ablaze out of shame and frustration of not being able to use her right, just like a woman in Muzaffargarh did in 2015 outside a police station over the lousy attitude of the police towards her ordeal. Neither do we want another woman, like the rape survivor in a village on Punjab, who, though alive, is living the life of a dead person by confining herself to the boundaries of her mud house out of shame that was inflicted upon her, not so much after the rape, but after the video of the offence that the culprits circulated — making the survivor live the life of a ghost, without being at fault.