Zainab Ansari, a eight-year old was raped and murdered brutally on Tuesday in a Kasur city of Pakistan after she went missing from her classes on 4th of January. Her body was found at a pile of rubbish just a mile away from her home. After investigation, police have released CCTV images displaying a man leading her away from her home. The outrage across the world against the failure of system to protect the children is immense and rightly so. Shockingly, Zainab is the twelfth girl who have been abducted, raped and murdered during past year in Kasur district and reportedly five of them points to the same person.
In another case of shameful and horrific acts, a 16-year-old girl was paraded half-naked through the village by armed men in north-west Pakistan. Local residents say, she was targeted because of her brother’s relationship with a woman from assailants’ family.
In March 2012, Oksana Makar a 18-year-old girl was gang-raped in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The agony she went through was horrifying as her assailants strangled her after the rape and took her to a deserted construction site. She was set on fire alive there. She was discovered next morning after burning for hours in night and finally she lost her life.
Few months later to above incident, a girl from Delhi was gang-raped and brutally beaten by six men in a moving bus. The incident shook the entire world due to the horrific injuries that the girl went through in the hands of those culprits. Shortly after few days being hospitalized, girl lost her life by succumbing to her injuries caused by the atrocities.
Situation is worst for women and girls
It has become high time now for us to realize that we’ve failed as a society and system to protect children and women from such atrocities of rape. Cycle of regrets, investigation, candle march, inquiry, etc follows after every such case but still the harsh reality is the cases are still happening.
As per the United Nations, around 120 million girls worldwide which is slightly more than 1 in 10 have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. In most of the cases, the abuser is husband, partner or boyfriend. Most striking figure is that less than 10 percent of them seek help from a formal institution such as police.
Stop Victim-Shaming Culture and Practice Strict Implementation of Laws
Even after 144 countries in the world have laws against the sexual violence, we observe that the perpetrators walk away from the punishment easily or the punishment given to the perpetrators does not justify the after-effects of the act on the victim. Legal punishment should be tough enough to set a strict example for the society that such heinous crimes will result in extreme punishment. Political or money influence in the rape cases should be exposed by the media which is supposed to be the fourth pillar of the democracy. Media should play its role for justice rather than re-victimization of the victim.
Along with the rules and regulations mentioned in the law books, justice system should also consider the situation of the victim whose life has changed forever by the incident. Investigation of the rape cases should consider the psychological damage which has already been done to the victim. They should not be forced into medical tests such as two-finger test which are not only demeaning but also have already been banned by the Supreme Court of India.
In addition to the law and order, we as a society also have to break the shackles of shame for the victims of sexual violence. We need to stop the “Shame Culture” of rape victims which is one of the most prominent factor for girls and women not coming forward to report the sexual violence. It is because of this culture, a victim feels guilty of what has happened to her and which makes her rehabilitation in society a tough challenge for herself. Moreover, a sexually confident or independent girl or woman is often treated as a “slut”, specifically in Asian culture which is exactly opposite when it comes to applying the same concept to men. It all has to start with the family in order to make a change in society as a whole. With that being said, below quote rightly describes what is wrong with our society and what needs to change
“Don’t Tell Your Daughter Not to Go Out. Tell Your Son to Behave”