Top (left-right): Noor Muqaddam, Sarah Inam, Khadija Mehmood. Bottom (left-right): Sisters Aneesa Abbas and Arooj Abbas, Qandeel Baloch, Sania Khan.

Another day, another woman

Another day to realise how little women have here: little freedom, little support, little respect, little safety

Sheema Mehkar September 29, 2022

Another day, another woman makes it to the headlines. Another woman is robbed of her right to live, another woman is brutally killed by one of her own, another woman makes it to the long list of women who have been wronged, abused, murdered by troubled and problematic men, another woman – so full of light and hope – faded into darkness just like the countless women before her did.

Another day to discover new forms and shapes of victim-blaming, another day a woman’s decision about her life is questioned, another day her character is impugned, another day of finding the reasons of her murder, to find all the “whys” so the murder could somehow be justified, to look for the “other side of the story” so the murderer could be painted as less evil, so that some part of his sin could be transferred to the victim. Another day to find all the means to blame a woman, another day to see all the fingers pointing towards a woman just like a compass needle that always points towards the north. Another day to realise that this country, this society is rife with misogyny; that it probably hates women – all women, dead or alive.

Another day to acknowledge the fact that it’s never the woman they rape, it’s never the woman they harass and assault, it’s never the woman they kill; it's always the rapist, it's always the harasser, it's always the murderer. It's never the women, it's always the men, the problem doesn’t lie with women, it lies with men. Another day we will refuse to accept this reality, another day we will continue keeping our head buried deep in the sand.

Another day we will turn our faces away instead of looking at the fact that these problematic men are our sons who went astray while we were busy moral-policing our daughters, body-shaming them, squeezing and moulding them to fit them into society’s standardised box of a “good woman”, brainwashing them into tolerating abuse, conditioning them into enduring torture in the name of sacrifice, pressurising them to compromise in abusive relationships, and teaching them about all the checklists they need to memorise to live in this society, to appease men and to evade their wrongdoings.

We got so lost in raising our daughters right that we forgot to focus on correcting the conduct of our sons. We failed to protect them from becoming monsters that would eat up our daughters. We gave our sons nothing, no morals, no values; instead, we fed them with a sense of superiority, a sense of impunity and a sense of dominance. We handicapped their ability to see women as human beings who have equal rights to live a life of their choosing and thrive – just like men.

Another day to recall all the murderers that are still alive, all the harassers and abusers living a life of a free man while the victims either lay six feet deep in the ground or continue to live in agony seeing their offenders living a happy life. Another day to realise the gravity and magnitude of the system that is rigged against women. The choking rooms of police stations, the suffocating walls of courtrooms that make her right to seek justice a burden – a long, lonely, gruelling battle where her privacy is torn apart, her clothing is questioned, her mental health is doubted, crass jokes are passed on her, vile accusations are made against her, her right to justice is made to look like an unlawful act and her raising a voice for herself is regarded as a matter of shame.

Another day to realise how little women have in this country: little freedom, little support, little respect, little safety, and even little protection from the state. Another day to protest the freedom predators, harassers, rapists and murderers enjoy; for them, there is no fear of shame, no fear of repercussions and no fear of accountability. Another day for women to be reminded of all the precautionary measures they must take to survive a day safely: where to go, when to go, whom to go with, what to do while travelling alone, what to wear, how to sit, how to behave, the list is endless. Another day to be angry knowing that no such precautionary measures exist for men, no religious sermons, no civic parameters of appropriate behaviour for them; no set of rules, no law, and no deterrence either. Another day to remind women that they are on their own; alone, abandoned, unsafe, unsupported.

Another day to know that no matter how much we protest or scream, nothing will change and every tear we shed is futile. Yesterday it was Noor, today it is Sarah, tomorrow it will be someone else. This society will continue oppressing its women and gas-lighting them for their oppression, consequently, empowering its men to perpetuate their evil acts. Another day to mourn and weep and damp our pillows embracing our helplessness in this god-forsaken country and sleep. Until, another day, when another monster we created in our homes will eat up another woman.

Sheema Mehkar

A writer, poet and painter. She tweets @SheemaM_.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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