We live in a society that teaches “Don’t get raped” instead of “Don’t rape”.
Rape culture escalates when society keeps loosening its acceptance standards. Granted, progression is a must but does modernity mean adopting only questionable values? There is evolvement, and then there is change. The former means a gradual development and the latter means to become different from who we are. People need to ask themselves, is Pakistan evolving or changing its values? What are the characteristics that distinguish us from other nations?
This is a continuation of my rape series. My first post Rape and Molestation in the Asian Subcontinent brought the issue into the spot light through Zainab’s case. In Society and the Sexual revolution I spoke about the things happening in our society that are instigating the problem. Sex, Don’t Talk About It is about how parents can rear children in a hypersexual world and when the time is right , to openly communicate with their kids.
Now I would like to highlight the hypocrisies and weaknesses within ourselves that contribute to the rise of rape culture in Pakistan. Every change begins with recognizing a problem, identifying its root causes and coming up with a suitable solution. Being quiet and watching news after news is making the problem worse. Turning off the TV will not magically erase the problem. We need to attack the hypocrisies within the society in the same manner it was embedded in the first place.
THE STATUS OF A WOMAN
Society makes a woman weak and treats her accordingly. However, in Surah an- Nisa, verse 28, it says “man was created weak”. Ironic, how man thinks that a women is weak when the Quran is revealing a clear paradox to man’s mentality today. So why is it that a woman’s weakness is exploited in our society? We know as humans we were both created with strengths and weaknesses albeit different kinds but why is a woman’s weakness always in the spot light and is emphasized? Why is she physically and emotionally abused because she was born a woman?
Women in Islam
In Islam, wives have their own exclusive rights, even if they are to be divorced. Mothers have paradise below their feet. A daughter has been said to be Allah’s blessing and the one who raises two daughters will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Prophet (SAW). A man who raises three pious daughters, Allah will make Paradise obligatory on him. If you raise your daughters with kindness and generosity, they will rescue you from Hell.
Allah has given a woman the patience of ten men and to a pregnant women, the ability of ten more men. What is one man alone? Who has Allah given a higher status to? A mother, three times more than a father. When a woman dies giving birth, she is given the reward of a martyr and Allah will raise her from a pure grave with no account of her sins.
With every suckle of milk her baby takes, her sins are being erased and when the child is finished, all her minor sins have been erased. With every pain she takes, a thousand angels pray for her. After every child birth, Allah grants her with an incomprehensible reward. All these blessings just for that nine-month period. Imagine, the blessings Allah bestows on women throughout her life.
Allah and His Prophet have given immense value to women in any role. It is stated in the Quran and enacted by the Prophet (SAW). This is how women are revered by God but these same women are degraded in cultures across the world. The cumulative effect of this thought process is manifesting itself in society today.
When a woman is emotionally or physically abused, molested or raped, normally, people don’t need to look far to find the culprit. Most of the time, the perpetrator is someone within the family. If girls could speak freely, then most of them would be able to recall an incident where some form of molestation has occurred. Girls within the families are the easiest target. Relatives can easily black mail the girl or the family. Most of the time, families don’t believe their children when they tell them and brush it aside thinking the child must be mistaken. If we had to compare the rates between rape of a girl by a stranger versus rape within the family, the latter would have staggering numbers.
People exacerbate the problem by staying silent. Although there have been many families who fought bravely for their daughter’s dignity, but numerous cases go unreported for the fear of shame, humiliation and stigma a family will incur at the hands of relatives and community. To speak out would mean to slander their own daughter (or any other female) and to tarnish her reputation. A girl would be branded as an untouchable only because we live in a Haw Hai society that feeds on others misery especially if they are women.
Rapists exploit this silence and run amok in society, targeting any woman they please. By not taking any action, you are giving more power and confidence to an abuser of women. You are allowing them to repeat his crime either with your daughter or someone else’s girl and worst of all you are letting your daughter down by refusing to protect or help her. That betrayal will be agonizing for her to bear than any humiliation society gives her.
We need to reverse the process. Women need to understand their worth and men need to value and respect the women in their lives. Family, community and nations need to protect them and speak out for their rights. Leave no stone unturned to get justice for your children and women. Penalizing the culprit is essential for others to follow suit. If women don’t feel safe in their societies then that nation has failed.
Speak out and Don’t Stay Quiet.
I urge families to get justice for their daughters. To come out and expose such men in families, societies, and countries. Report such crimes and humiliate such abusers. If coming out is too much, then confront the person within the family. If that’s not possible too, then confront him directly. What you don’t do, is let him walk in society scot-free. Stop worrying about society and start worrying about your duty as a parent. Before worrying about a girl’s fate that is entirely in Allah’s hand, worry about her state of mind. She needs to watch some retribution take place. When it comes to marriage, the right man will marry your daughter no matter what, and a man who finds faults in her is not worth being your daughter’s husband.
Stop telling your girls to forget about it and move on especially in the time of her need. If an inappropriate touch is hard enough to forget then how can a girl forget the violation of her soul and the refusal of her family members to help her especially when she came to you for protection? Maybe in time, she somehow normalizes herself, but she will never forget the way you let her down as a family.
Fight for your girls and their rights and her dignity. You need to castrate such people from society and give a warning to others to protect their daughters as well. As a society it becomes incumbent upon you to look out for others and make sure that no other person has to face this humiliation. It’s that man who has to live with his sins, the shame, the guilt, not your girls. Emasculate rapists and make them pay.
Lastly friends, as Muslim we believe in one thing that I believe every society or culture should also pay heed too. When we see something bad happening in front of our eyes, we should stop it with our hands. If we can’t then we should stop it with our tongues and speak out against it and if that is also not possible then at least despise it in your hearts. Worry about the day when your hearts stop feeling pain. When your heart cannot recognize the immorality, corruption and hypocrisy spreading in society and we feel nothing inside thats when humanity has died.
My next post will be about how male chauvinism and feminism is contributing to the rise of rape in our society.
Until next time. Take care.