The silent sufferer ...

Rape is one of the worst instances of violence against women. We cannot even imagine the immense pain the woman has to go through; here I am not only talking about the physical pain but also the pain that comes later – the agony. How badly bruised a victim’s mind will be when she has faced such a bestial act.

Can we even fathom the plight of these women who have gone through such an intense physical trauma which later on leads to emotional upheaval? Can there be a more savage and barbarous act that a woman has to go through? Rape victims are haunted by this monstrous experience forever. A survey said that 82 percent of the rape victims said that the experience has permanently changed them.

Rape is an issue that has not been dealt with frankness in countries like Pakistan, where the society refuses to discuss it on the pretext of it being a social stigma. A rape victim in our society would be afraid of the infamy and disgrace that she would be causing to herself and her family if she were to come forward with her plight.

How can society let an innocent woman’s mind suffer because of its archaic views? If a female claims that she has been raped, not many would be willing to believe her. People will start to cast doubts on her character and tarnish her image. She would not be able to marry into respectable families, her siblings would face difficulty getting good proposals (and if they’re already married, they’d be taunted by the in-laws). Her family would be in an absolute fix. This innocent victim would be shunned from society; she would be ostracized from parties, family gatherings and other social occasions. When she goes out, leering males would try to exploit her further.

Society shows ultimate hypocrisy when the issue of “morality” comes up. Men want an untouched woman for themselves when it comes to marriage, even if they’ve slept with 100 other females. In the words of Shirley Chisholm, the first female African-American congress member, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl."

Social stigma is one of the main reasons why a rape victim chooses to suffer silently. We need to raise awareness and the people should be educated enough to understand that it is not the fault of the victim that she has to go through such a horrible crime perpetuated against her by some mentally sick person. We should not blame her, nor should we feel that she has lost any of her dignity, rather we should commiserate and empathise with her as this can happen with any women - our own sisters, daughters, mothers and wives. We should really help and support those women who have suffered, as this is not an isolated problem. This is OUR problem. Society should openly face it and not run away from it.

The other reason is the Law. The culprits have hidden behind the smoke-screen of ‘Shariah Law’ which is hampering our judicial system. “Hudood Ordinance” has made it impossible to get conviction for the savage and brutal act of rape. A woman who comes forward with a complaint of rape will be arrested along with the accused. The reason is Ordinance No.VIII (b) of ‘Hudood Ordinance’.

8. Proof of zina or zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd.
Proof of zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:-

(a) the accused makes before a Court of competent jurisdiction a confession of the commission of the offence; or
(b) at least four Muslim adult male witnesses, about whom the Court is satisfied, having regard to the requirements of tazkiyah al-shuhood, that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the act of penetration necessary to the offence:
Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eye-witnesses may be non-Muslims.

It is an outrage to expect the victim to bring forth FOUR witnesses when she has gone through such a monstrous act. IF she dares to report it, she herself is arrested. Would a self-respecting woman like to face more insult at the hands of the law after having gone through such trauma already? Because of such laws, women will never come forward and such a heinous act will go unreported. Thousands of these sadistic animals are roaming the streets free of charge, they can pounce on anyone.

We must understand that the ruling on “Hudood ordinance” regarding the case of rape is entirely un-Islamic. Mufti Mohammad Saeed Khan, a well-known religious scholar, said that four witnesses are not required to bring in for a rape case. He said that the “Hudood ordinance” does not serve any Islamic purpose, and might’ve been brought on to serve only the political motives. We asked why the Islamic parties (such as MMA or Jamat-e-Islami) come out on the streets when the issue of “repealing the Hudood Law” was raised and considered it a religious breach to even mention repealing it. He said that there is absolutely no basis of such a law (zina-bil-jabr law) in Shariah. It is rulings such as these which mutilate the name of Islam in the international arena as well as in the minds of Muslims who are unaware of Islamic Law. He said that if you want to implement Shariah in the country, then why start with “Hudood Law” only, why not start with the law of Justice according to Islam.

We can now clearly see that the “Hudood Ordinance” is exploiting the judicial system in the name of religion. It is not really having the desirable effect and instead of protecting women, it has given a free license to men for them to commit heinous crimes against women. This law should be repealed as soon as possible as it makes every woman vulnerable, especially those who are weak and do not enjoy a good social standing, and until it is annulled, women won't be able to come out and seek justice.

Society and these abominable laws have put the rape victim in a completely impossible situation. If she cannot prove her innocence, she will be categorized as a morally corrupt female. In the words of a women’s rights activist, “Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge.”

Society needs to expunge such injustices; and only then would a female feel safe!


Far said…
It was a really nice article, though, i think, one can never justify hudood ordinance, even if complete Islamic system of justice is implemented. Now since the air has become a bit too grave and sombre I remember this dialog from Dil, that Aamir Khan said to Madhuri, "Ubb pata chala rape kya hota hai, mein agar chaahoon tau do minute mein tumhari izzat ke dhajiyaan uraa doon, aur tum ne kitnee asaan se keh diya RAPE, tumhray liyeh sirf aik shabd. Array, un auraton ke baaray mein socho, jin ke saath yeh bhayanak haadsay huay hain, jism ke saath saath unke aatmaa bhee hamesha ke liyeh ghayal ho gayee, yaad rakhna her larka Raja nahin hota :P", so he leaves her alone and she falls in love with a guy who spared her the rape ... kher these are indian movies for us, :P especially those made by that something Irani director, brother of Aruna Irani, jiska kaam hai ke 10 movies ka formula aik mein daal do :)...

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