Women and men across Pakistan protest against Lahore motorway rape
Women across Pakistan are protesting against the rape of a woman on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway. The protests are being held in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Hyderabad.
On Wednesday, a woman was raped in front of her children by two unidentified men on the motorway. The case was made worse after Lahore CCPO Umar Sheikh criticised the woman’s decision to take the motorway route while appearing soon after the case was reported.
“The story is that this woman, if it is in your knowledge, left Defence at 12:30am for Gujranwala,” said CCPO Sheikh while talking to the news channel. “First, I am surprised that she, a mother of three children, was the only driver.” She left Defence and should’ve taken GT Road, where there are shops and people nearby. “If you are taking the other way, then at least make sure your vehicle has fuel,” he said.
After the news broke out, women across the country were enraged. The recent cases of the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Karachi and the murder of a transgender in Peshawar added fuel to the fire.
Women, men, and children have gathered outside the Karachi Press Club and are chanting slogans against lack of security. Many are even demanding that the Lahore CCPO should be removed over his victim-blaming remarks.
Victim-blaming is very common, said Nasreen Siddiqui, who works at War Against Rape. “The story just doesn’t seem to change, whether its girls getting molested or women getting raped.” The remarks made by the CCPO is a part of the same thinking process, even medico-legal officers and policemen do it. “You can’t keep half of your population locked up inside their houses. You need to make things safer for them instead,” Siddiqui remarked.
We will sit in front of Governor House, CM House, National Assembly, and Supreme Court until you [the authorities] listen to us, said a protester.
“We are very angry,” said rights activist Anis Haroon. “We’re angry that a woman went out with her three children, if the fuel finishes in her car or it develops a fault, there’s no one to help.”
A student at the march, who didn’t want to be named, said that she was tired. Tired of being extra careful. Tired of being victim-blamed. She wants inclusive education regarding the sexual violence women face. Hanging rapists is not the solution because it will decrease the number of cases reported, she remarked.
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