First appeared on Dawn.com
She still lies unconscious and heavily bandaged at the Intensive Care Unit at JPMC, writhing with pain and agony she slips in and out of consciousness, oblivious to her surroundings but still managing to appeal for help.
She is a 22-year-old trainee nurse who found unconscious in the lawn of a mess in the JPMC residential area on July 13. Upon examination, it was discovered that she was gang-raped and had allegedly jumped out of the window of an apartment in an attempt to escape.
For the over 350 nurses working in ward 24 of JPMC, harassment is not a new phenomenon but it was this victim’s gang-rape which compelled them to protest and go on strike in solidarity. It is deplorable that such an incident has taken place in a state-run hospital. Even worse is the fact that one of the rapists, Dr. Jabbar Memon, is a medico-legal officer who has an authority to investigate and determine criminal offences and, has the final word when it comes to analysing a crime and proving that an assault took place based on medical records. Memon has had a notorious reputation for harassing nurses at the hospital. When people like Memon are in charge, one can only imagine the kind of influence they have and the number of alleged rapists and criminals they might have helped escape. The incident makes one question if there is any hope for justice.
It’s devastating to learn that the victim had been complaining about being harassed by Memon long before the assault took place and she wasn’t the only one. But their pleas fell on deaf ears. Although, the Work Place Harassment Bill has been passed, her case is a classic example of how harassment in workplaces is hardly taken as a serious matter. Most of the times, such incidents are swept under the rug, which gives a freehand to the assailant and makes the victims vulnerable to such instances in the future. Institutions and companies prefer concealing facts to safeguard their reputation rather than taking a strong stance.
Even though Memon was sacked after the medico-legal report proved him guilty, he continues to receive medical care in a private institution whereas as the victim is still being treated in a government hospital. Is this what we call justice?
The victim’s family continues to receive threats and have requested for police protection. While she continues to fight for her life, there seems to be little hope for the working women who continue to put up with harassment on a daily basis. Mere laws will not help solve the problem at hand, the only solution is for the organisations and institutions to ensure maximum protection for their employees. No laws or legislatives can guarantee protection until those working within these places decide to take such matters seriously.