Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
A famous Pakistani female TikToker was attacked by a mob of 400 men in Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore on Aug. 14. The mob groped the woman, tossed her in the air, ransacked her phone, and tore her clothes. They molested her for hours before she was saved. This one horrific incident brought light to the many, many atrocities committed against women in Pakistan every day.
When we are groped, sexually assaulted or raped, we are always told it is our fault. We are questioned for what we did or didn’t do.
I want to mention that rape culture, rape apologists and sexual violence exist everywhere, not just in Pakistan. I am not defaming my country. However, I choose to discuss this as a Pakistani-Canadian, as a woman, as a human. There is an overwhelming number of abuse cases (sexual, physical, mental) occurring in Pakistan against women. It is time to talk about it. It is time to talk about why women are always blamed, why men are never taught any better, and how to move forward.
“Go with a friend”
“What are you wearing?”
“Don’t go out at night”
“Don’t go by yourself”
I have lived a life full of warnings, caution, and protection.
But here’s the thing–
I don’t want to live a life
Where I am just one day away from
My body no longer being my own.
My respect, my izzat, being trashed.
My identity, my life, being questioned.
I am not safe,
In my own home.
In a mosque.
On a highway.
In a bus.
Not even in my own grave.
Today, it is her.
Tomorrow, it could be me.
How do I live a life as a proud Pakistani,
How do I root for my country,
When this is where my country is headed.
If we are celebrating independence on August 14,
I ask for my own independence.
I ask for the azaadi of my body.
To be protected.
To be heard, when I say “no.”
I will be blamed,
And men will be protected.
Because that is how rape culture goes.
Today, I wish not to celebrate.
But to mourn, and cry.
For the monsters who have taken our lives.
For the victims who can no longer speak.
For young girls.
Sexual assault is a crime,
That she did not commit,
But she will spend the rest of her life,
That it was not her fault.
And guess what?