Violence against women: ‘Shame’ scaring rape victims from lodging complaints

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 9:00:16 by


Apathetic police machinery, an inept justice system, inherently patriarchal attitudes and family ‘honour’ are some of the reasons rape victims and their families avoid lodging cases.

Social activist Naghma Imdad said this while presenting her research paper, “Social and legal responses to rape-knowledge, attitudes and practices”, at the Nomad Art Gallery here on Thursday.

While sharing findings of the research she said that there was a misconception among people about the very topic starting with its definition.

“Many respondents were not aware about the difference between adultery and rape,” she said, adding that one male and one female member from 350 different households in Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad and Multan were selected for the study.

“The police do not know what to ask when confronted with a rape victim,” she said while talking about the findings of the report, adding that the majority of respondents believed that reporting such issues would bring shame and disrespect to them and their families.

“We are proud to say that our police station has never recorded a single rape case,” she quoted a police official having said about the issue.

According to the study, 68 per cent of respondents considered rape survivors sources of shame, yet only 78 per cent felt rapists are a cause of shame for the family. A worrying 57 per cent said that female rape victims are not marriageable, while 20 per cent said rape survivors’ parents should shun them, and a frightening 25 per cent believe that rape victims should commit suicide.

The report also said that 73 per cent of rape victims suffer long-term mental and psychological impact, 69 per cent suffer from severe health problems, 63 per cent face financial issues, while 69 per cent of rape victims and their families face threats.

Nasreen Azhar from the Women Action Forum said that the previous government had passed laws related to violence against women and children, but their implementation still remained a challenge.

Azhar said religious extremists were posing a new threat to women by not allowing them to step out of their homes or go to schools in the name of religion. “Women should be included in the decision making process,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2013.

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