In the last 24 hours, two horrific rape cases were reported involving an eight-year-old girl and a mother of two. Details of each case will make it apparent that Pakistan is suffering through one of the worst rape epidemics in the world, and extremely low conviction rates make the situation all the more hopeless for the female population who have to come to terms with the fact that the criminal may not be punished altogether. Even worse is how all public and private spaces have become dangerous and predatory places for women, leaving them completely disadvantaged and alienated in society. Evidently, there is a glaring problem with law and order but more than that, it seems as though there is something extremely wrong with our society which chooses to push this issue under the rug rather than advocate for change.
As per new reports, the eight-year-old child had gone missing earlier in the week. Only when her body was discovered and an autopsy was performed was it revealed that she was raped and tortured before being killed.
In another incident, a mother of two had gone to the hospital for an x-ray but right before the process commenced, she was blackmailed and raped inside the computer room. The fact that public and private spaces have both become so unsafe for women is extremely concerning, and forces us to wonder whether any environment can be considered a safe haven. For a child to be picked up and tortured from her grandparents’ house, or a woman to be raped in a hospital which is supposed to be the safest most empathetic environment points towards a real sickness that we, as a country, have fostered and nourished.
Our conviction rate for rape has remained shamefully low for decades and is now less than 3 percent. Very obviously so, there is a problem in the implementation of anti-rape laws and all relevant institutions seem to be working rather ineffectively when judged by how delayed justice seems to be. Beyond this however, our society needs a rude awakening and future leaders must redirect the public focus towards this menace. In order to provide solutions for a problem, we need to acknowledge that it exists and normalise discourse surrounding it so that through comprehensive debates, we can create and enforce a framework through which such heinous crimes can be discouraged.