No means no, and men must realize this: Tasneem Ahmer

Published: April 15, 2011
Not only do the girls need to be educated, attitudinal education of men also needs to be carried out.

Not only do the girls need to be educated, attitudinal education of men also needs to be carried out.

Men must understand that if a woman says ‘no’ to a sexual advance, it means no, and men cannot impose their desires on women Director, Aks Research Centre, Tasneem Ahmer said.

Ahmer added that the media had a critical role to play in educating the people about this. She expressed these views while talking on Express 24/7 show, Witness with Quatrina on the subject of rape.

Quatrina Hosain started the program off in light of a recent report that talks about how rape cases are reported in the media.

The report had been consolidated by the Aks Research Centre, of which Ahmer is director. Ahmer was joined in the studio by Dr Salman Asif, a gender specialist and an advisor to UN, and Muhammad Ziauddin, the Executive Editor of The Express Tribune.

Ahmer was of the point of view that media must play a proactive role in informing people about their rights, via numerous publications, editorials, columns, blogs, stage plays, dramas, television serials, and films. She said that the report was made after the frenzied coverage of a rape incident that took place in Karachi last December. The biggest role of the media is making people aware of the “no” factor, that when a girl, regardless of her state or background, says no to a sexual advance, it means no.

Dr Salman Asif then asked Ahmer how in a society where there is inequality, where rape is an expression of power and exacting revenge, where the honour of a man lies in the chastity of women, where there are forced marriages and child marriages, can women be empowered to say “no”?

“The discourse on rape needs to start at the unevenness, at the vulnerability of a girl of their human rights” he suggested.

Muhammad Ziauddin agreed that education of women is critical in making people aware of their rights and what the laws are, and what an unwanted touch is. Not only do the girls need to be educated, attitudinal education of men also needs to be carried out he said. Even non-victim women, like house wives need to be educated so that if they see signs of abuse appear within their own home they can stand up against it. Popular media has addressed many such issues in recent programming.

Dr Asif was of the view that the men in the society are under extreme peer pressure, whether it is with regards to their sexuality or in exacting a revenge on their “honour” after a woman has been raped. With the rape perpetrator more often than not a person who is known to the victim, he called for a paradigm shift in the way women at large are seen in our society.

Ahmer was of the view that the best way to tackle issues like puberty and sexuality is to talk about them. Primary support networks, such as between mother and daughters, between sisters, friends, cousins and so on.  Dr Asif added to Ahmer’s comment that similar talking sessions should be held among the men as well.

Dr Asif went on to say that sexual abuse in our society cannot be effectively tackled until and unless there was strong legal policy and implementation. Ziauddin suggested that there should be a specially trained woman force that deals with investigations into rapes and handling of the victims through the investigation process.

The program ended on the note that the media must talk about these issues. Stories should not be buried and the real story should be brought to the front.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • AJ
    Apr 15, 2011 - 7:36PM

    I agree 110%. Well done Ms. AhmerRecommend

  • Farhan
    Apr 15, 2011 - 8:10PM

    O, Shut up … all of you !!!Recommend

  • hmmm
    Apr 15, 2011 - 9:13PM

    are you going to harass a female tomorrow…????Recommend

  • Apr 15, 2011 - 11:01PM

    Apparently Farhan has a pro-rape agendaRecommend

  • Ahsan Masood
    Apr 15, 2011 - 11:37PM

    though the issue needs one’s dire attention but I think the right writer isnt thinking along the lines of a profound conclusion..
    Why I say that is because @”Dr Salman Asif then asked Ahmer how in a society where there is inequality, where rape is an expression of power and exacting revenge, where the honour of a man lies in the chastity of women, where there are forced marriages and child marriages, can women be empowered to say “no”?”
    Dr Saab n others what abt the West, the US where feminism is at its peak? Why is rape more common there as compared to Pakistan? Is it because of the forced-marriages there?or is it honor issues? All the suggestion u have mentioned already exist in the west but the menace is still there n even worse..seriously u arent thinking right dude?
    So what is the solution?enforce capital punishment for the rapist…for starters…have segregation at educational institutions n work places so that no women gets bullied or harassed…but then that would be equal to giving into the Talibans…so keep banging ur heads against the wall..! Recommend

    Apr 15, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Talking about SEX is haram in Islam!Recommend

  • A
    Apr 16, 2011 - 12:14AM

    @vaqas hahahhahahaRecommend

  • Kamal
    Apr 16, 2011 - 1:06AM

    Pakistan is still a baby.. sexual harrassment is a common form of abuse on women here in the USA and with the majority of population still being illiterate, there is a long way to go.

    My solution would be to keep several partners at one time. If a women says no, which she has all the right to, a man should move on to the next.Recommend

  • Feminazi
    Apr 16, 2011 - 4:18AM

    My suggestion is that all men convicted of rape be castrated. Talking about sex is not haram in Islam. Why does everything have to be looked at from a religious point of view? Requiring 4 witnesses to prove rape is a total outrage in this day and age. We need to dump shariat and move to a society which accepts sexual consent among consenting adults as sufficient for sex. Sex is enjoyable and should be allowed freely among consenting adults attracted to one another. The sexual empowerment of women will go a long way in destroying religio-patriarchy and feudal notions such an honor killings. But unfortunately, even in Turkey honor killings happen so apparently even there, there remains work to be done,Recommend

  • Raj
    Apr 16, 2011 - 8:56AM

    @Kamal : Excellent idea. It’s always good to have backup options. But are you ready to provide the same right to your wife as well whereby she can have multiple partners to choose from in case you are busy with your personal ventures?Recommend

  • Abdur Rauf Yousafzai
    Apr 16, 2011 - 3:28PM

    And if female say yes to sex then, what should be the role of media?….Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,IBA Karachi
    Apr 16, 2011 - 5:25PM

    My boss who is a female regularly harasses me! What about when women harassing men for sex?Recommend

  • Raj
    Apr 16, 2011 - 8:11PM

    @Umair : It depends on your rapport with your boss. If you have good terms with her and she is encroaching into your personal space or asking for some favour which you are not comfortable with, then make it clear to her that you are not at all interested. You can even try to counsel her based on level of understanding between you two. If still she persists and tries to be forceful irrespective of your attempts to solve it amicably then report it to the higher authorities of your organization. She then qualifies for the same offence that society would have blamed you for if you would have behaved the same with her.

    And one more suggestion. Till the situation permits , contain the entire story between you two, concerned authorities and your close trustees as long as possible so that other folks around you don’t get a chance to create and spread Masala which may harm both of you.
    However if the lady in concern here crosses the threshold then don’t hesitate to adopt drastic measures.Recommend

  • maynotmatter
    Apr 17, 2011 - 12:26AM

    @Umair – You are one lucky dude. If she is hot enjoy it, if not then suffer it. Also by large and unfortunately rape of men by women is not even paid attention, let alone getting any justice or sympathy. So sorry to say dude but you are screeewed :) enjoy!!
    @Author – whatever you have written here is what men already knows. It is the will and desperation they have to fight against. And as Robin Williams once said, men has just about enough blood to rush either in brain or “somewhere else”. So when all the blood in brain is drained out do we expect him (or her) to take any rationale judgement or have any emotional empathy / sympathy with the victim. What these animals need is castration, throw away their ding dongs and save trauma of many. But I am sure you are also aware of sometimes females using sexual abuse case in their favor. While the ratio of trapping someone to actual rape case is far low, it is definitely not negligible. It is easy to shout foul unless a fair system is in place. Nevertheless I am still very much for the castration idea. A little (or maybe more ) extreme but the only way to make sure they dont repeat the offense cause most of the sexual predators are repeating offenders. Recommend

  • Om
    Apr 17, 2011 - 1:52AM


    Here are some rape statistics within the U.S.
    General Rape Statistics

    Every 2 minutes a woman is raped in the U.S.
    72 of every 100,000 women are raped in the U.S. each year.
    28% of women are raped by boyfriends.
    35% of women are raped by acquaintances.

    5% of women are raped by relatives.
    Less than one third of all rapes are reported to the authorities.

    Rape Situation Statistics
    25% of rapes take place in a parking garage or public area.
    68% of rapes occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
    More than 45% of rapists were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    Rapists used a weapon in 29% of all rapes.
    The victim received external injuries in over 47% of all rapes.

    Youth Rape Statistics
    15% of rape victims are under the age of 12 (another source said as high as 22%).
    29% of rape victims are between the ages of 12 and 17.
    44% of rape victims are under the age of 18 (another source said as high as 54%).
    80% of rape victims are under the age of 30.

    College Rape Statistics
    25% of college women have been victims of rape.
    8.5% of college men admit to sexually abusing women – but don’t consider that rape.
    Of the women who were raped, only 25% described it as rape.
    Of the women who were raped, only 10% reported the assault.
    47% of the rapes were by dates and romantic acquaintances.

    Date Rape Statistics
    84% of women who were date raped knew their attacker.
    Women who are 16-24 are more than four times as likely to be date raped.
    90% of date rapes occur when either the victim or attacker was drinking.
    33% of men said they would date rape someone if it could go undetected.

    44% of women who were date raped have considered suicide.

    Sources include RAINN, University of South Florida, Federal Bureau of Investigation (Uniform Crime Statistics, 1996), U.S. Department of Justice, Violence against Women (Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994)

    It’s saddening, the parts in bold are acts which could have been avoided if Islam had been applied. i.e. most rapes are done when a stranger male or female are together alone, or when people are with people they shouldn’t have been with etc. (i.e. while dating etc.)


  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,IBA Karachi
    Apr 17, 2011 - 2:53AM

    Thanks Raj. She has groped me a few times and looks at me lustfully! This is the only job I have so I cant do much unless I get something else. But I am also having fun as well ;)Recommend

  • Raj
    Apr 17, 2011 - 2:28PM

    @Om : Stop spreading your Islamic agenda. There are rapes and sexual molestations suffered by women in subcontinent societies be it Islamic or non-Islamic and only 1% of them get reported. Women are more respected in the western societies and they have more independence. You don’t have a similar stats in India/Pakistan as the judiciary and administration here is relatively weak and corrupted and women does not have the same independence and protection as well as the will to report and fight against the atrocities carried out against them. In west most of these incidents are reported, investigated, the criminals are caught and then put to justice. Not only that they have programs to counsel the criminals and the victims so that both of them can forget their past and move forward. And all these with minimum influence of religion . I am not against religion but really get cracked up when people like you try to justify everything with a religious glass. Probably you will be surprised to know that a significant section of the Hindu priests and Islamic maulavis and clerics are perverted to their core and exploit women in their respective societies whenever they get a chance. Recommend

  • Raj
    Apr 17, 2011 - 2:32PM

    @Umair : If you are having fun as well, that means that you are enjoying the entire episode even if you were probably not interested at the beginning. So as long as things are done mutually , the case of sexual exploitation does not apply. Recommend

  • Ajaz
    Apr 18, 2011 - 9:35AM


    Islam is complete code of conduct dear, which guides about every aspect of your life and society. Sex is one of the important thing to be educated about, actually you take it negatively as per your thinking approach. Sex is one the great gift from God and we need to treat it in the same way as a great gift from God.

    Please please please never misinterprate islam as per your ignorance and narrow level of thinking.Recommend

  • A. Ahmed
    Apr 18, 2011 - 9:38AM

    The expert is right!!! But I would like to make some value additions…NO may mean ‘no, not like that dear’, or ‘no, not today dear’, or ‘no, not with you dear’, or ‘no, not at work dear’, or ‘no, someone might see dear’. etc. ahem!!! Recommend

  • vasan
    Apr 18, 2011 - 10:01AM

    Umair: Lucky you.Recommend

  • Munazza Sami
    Apr 18, 2011 - 1:12PM

    Talking about Sex is Haram in Islam but here we discuss about the crime Of Forced Sex………..we discuss it in the sense of the abhorrent crime not in the pleasured or joyful. Recommend

  • ABC
    Apr 18, 2011 - 3:07PM

    Best of luck umair.Recommend

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