KARACHI: In an unusual case, the police in Karachi arrested four young friends who were involved in sexually assaulting and blackmailing girls in the city. The four were actually arrested in connection with possession of illegal arms but later the police found out that they were also a gang of rapists.
The involvement of these young boys in such a heinous crime going unchecked only goes on to show that there is a long way to go before Pakistan can completely protect its female population. These boys had been sexually assaulting and blackmailing young girls for months and not a single case had ever been reported.
In a conservative country like Pakistan, women often avoid reporting cases of harassment out of fear of being ostracised. And while it is important to sensitise men on the importance of the issue, this is a long-term approach that will only bear fruit in the future. In the short term, awareness campaigns should be held to persuade not only women but families and the police as well to build an environment where women can report such cases without any hesitations. At the same time heavy penalties should be imposed on harassers that will help in discouraging men from harassing at least to some extent.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2018.