LAHORE: The heartbreaking news of a 17-year-old girl being impregnated by her rapist, unfortunately, should not come as much of a shock. It is not because it is not depressing, it sure is and, in fact, tormenting for many, but it is not shocking because news about violence against women in the country has become a daily issue. From acid attacks to domestic violence and sexual harassment, such incidents make our daily news diet. According to the rights group Women’s Action Forum, up to 72 per cent of women in Pakistan are physically or sexually abused.
For the 17-year-old girl the rapist was the man who sent her a marriage proposal but upon being refused sexually harassed her for days. But for some the perpetrators are their own relatives, from cousins to stepfathers to uncles. These men fearlessly carry such heinous acts because they know they would be able to get away scot-free. And often, they do; because these crimes are rarely reported by the survivors out of fear of bringing dishonour to one’s family or themselves. Even the 17-year-old teenager’s abuse would not have come to the forefront had it not been for her pregnancy. The incident took place in May last year and was only brought to light after it was reported to the police in January by her uncle. How many more lives should be affected before the accused are held accountable and given strict punishments by the law, discouraging others to carry these acts?
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2017.