Yearning for our basic rights

In Pakistan, even an elected female member of parliament can be insulted by her peers


Shanza Rashid June 30, 2016

Women in Pakistan have been facing a wide range of issues from child marriage and domestic violence to rape and honour killings. No matter how much we try to protect ourselves, we have always been an easy target for the rest of society. In Pakistan, even an elected female member of parliament can be insulted by her peers, whereas only God knows what women go through every day in their homes. The country has a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights.

In a recent incident, which gained attention on social media, a woman was filmed changing her clothes in the privacy of her home and was later blackmailed for it. However, she did not cave in to the demands of her blackmailers and instead posted the note as proof on Facebook. Even though many people sympathised with her, not everyone judged her in the same way.

Many resorted to calling her an ‘attention seeker’, while others blamed her for the incident in the first place. One user specifically commented that she should have been more careful while changing in her room and it was entirely her fault because she let herself be filmed.

Why and how is it her fault?

Sadly, the ‘burden’ of morality in our society falls completely upon women.

Let me be clear here, no one is suggesting the women should be allowed to roam naked in the streets, which some traditionalists/conservatives would suggest I am arguing for. But the privacy of one’s own home is a basic right deserved by everyone.

It is high time now to stand up against such acts. If we don’t speak up now, we would fail to move forward with a progressing world and our basic rights, especially the rights of women, will diminish further until the damage is irreparable. We need to fight against it, remembering that if it can happen to anyone, it can also happen to us.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2016.

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