Threatening Our Image

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From blaming the world for all our problems to being the hard-hitting cynic, we all have been trying to find our own ways to survive through these times. It has come to a point where we see people justifying gruesome incidents of lynching, increasing incidence of child rape, and deteriorating conditions of our minorities, maybe because we lack the potential to deal with these problems. Not because they are too complicated but simply because most of us do not want to make the effort.

I received a lot of hate-filled comments in response to my last blog-post, not that it was the first time this had happened but it left me shocked and thinking nonetheless. Just to give an idea of the kind of reaction, here are some of the comments I received:

Hameed Ice:
Dear Sana Saleem, I like you very much and I like your article also but why you say that we do nothing? 40,000 women get rape in America per second but no one do anything. Why you not write about that? please tell me who pay you to write this we are Islamic country and nothing like that happen ever it happen in the whole world but not Pakistan but do y
ou see any American writer talk about this because they love their country ????? WHYY? bcuz they love their country and we Pakistani always want to talk bad things please you don’t talk about it. Salam, Your reader

Salammzz Madam Sana,
Your article in dawn newspaper was very bad. I was very hurt that you talk about all this thing and wear hijab??!!you know it is bad for woman to talk about that thing because it will not be good for her. Please you look nice and inoecnt frm face and scarf so you please not talk about it. What you want woman to tell everyone to rape it’s not good.

My last blogpost was about the increasing incidence of rape, and our apathy towards such heinous crimes. Not something I was expecting hate mail on. But this is not about me, it is about us and the kind of society we have created. The kind that refuses to acknowledge one of our most pressing problems, and prefers to live in ignorance. The mindset that believes that acknowledging our issues is threatening to our ‘image’.  What good is an image, other than deceiving ourselves, is another question altogether.

Knee-jerk reactions and our love for conspiracy theories have made it even more difficult to think rationally, let alone look for solutions.  There is a void, which can only be filled with open dialogue. We need to talk about our issues, give each other space and try not to judge people simply because their opinions differ.  There is a huge difference  between disliking someone for being a cynic and blaming them of being on a certain agencies payroll.

Most of these comments are ill-informed, are personal attacks and reinforce the mindset that taboos should never be tackled, irrespective of the damage it causes to the social fabric. They highlight the culture of “silent and shame”  and the rampant mindset that a woman regardless of her sufferings should never be vocal about the plethora of psychological, verbal, physical and sexual abuse hurled her way. The only thing she should do is let her existence be shoved under the rug.

The most shocking comments came from someone who claimed to be related to the Khipro rape incident, suggesting that the video was fake and that “some culprits want to start linguistic war in interior Sindh”, but what got my blood-boiling was this particular remark
“I have heard about the Sialkot incident they (both brothers) were not innocent and now reading about Khipro gang rape (…)Furthermore, as per my information this girl is a big flirt, she use to be speak over phone all night with allot of other boys from Khipro, Sanghar & Mirpurkhas areas and it’s also came in my knowledge her mother & her mother’s sister use to be work as prostitute in Khipro but still media (most of Sindhi media) declared her “Sindh g niyani”(the daughter of Sindh) why?”

Hurling accusations towards a rape victim is not a new phenomenon, thanks to the Hudood Ordinance that propagated society, where a woman has to prove her piety before being legible for justice. To all those who hold the same opinion, I want to ask why not? Why shouldn’t we speak up against violence regardless of the victim’s personal life? Why should we allow the ‘holier than thou’ mentality to justify heinous crimes simply because the victim was presumably not up to their scale of ‘morality and piousness’?  This is not about America, Islam, Morals or conspiracies this is about us and things that affect our mothers, sisters and daughters. It is about upholding human rights, taking a stance against violence and ensuring equal rights to all, everything else is secondary.


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7 thoughts on “Threatening Our Image

  1. Dear Sana:

    If you are really so committed against rape and other atrocities committed against Women; please do some serious research.

    1. Please identify regions in Pakistan with the highest and the lowest incidents of rape. How many rape cases were reported in Dir, Swat, Bajaur, Khyber and Waziristan? How many in Karachi, Lahore, Multan? How many cases in Upper Sindh and Southern Punjab.

    2. Analyze the factors that lead to such unfortunate incidents. Draw some lessons from areas where such events are low.

  2. i have read some of your articles and they are heart touching.all your blogs reflect the corruption of our purveyors of justice.and its very dis heartening to see how easily people can raise fingers at you and the fact that you observe hijab.i want to throw it back on their faces and tell them that they have absolutely no right to intervene in a matter that is solely between an individual and Allah,and this shows what a low degree of conscience you have.furthermore,i can not understand how people can make sweeping statements about a woman’s unethical behaviour and therfore her justified rape,without ransacking the tenets of islam.and its funny how one can stoop as low as saying a man who is a sexual culprit is akin to a woman who ‘speaks to many boys late at night’.

  3. sana—congratulations. you have successfully reached the outskirts of the matrix. the fact that these twisted creatures actually read your blog and thus your points of view means you are reaching your target audience; the crowd who NEEDS to understand the gravity of such a breach of human rights. think of it this way: the more you speak, the more chance you might have of perhaps giving even ONE of these creatures a completely different point of view on the horrors that we have created in this society. GO SANA!

  4. And before designating our society as One without Rule of Law we really need to define that what rules are we talking about and What rules actually serve our people!! There is alot to do!! but initiation point is required to be defined..

  5. HI Sana!!
    I have read your article. And i think its time when we separate Laws from someone’s personal Life.. If we don’t tend to ask a murderer or a Looter for the motives before penalizing them then why in the world a victim of Rape or Sexual Assault or harassment is asked to bring her credentials of “stereotypic Good Character”.
    Is not it a right time to draw a line between “Law Of State” and “Personal wanna-be perceptions”??

  6. Dear Sana,

    I fully agree with your point over here to highlight such issues and that it’s not a good idea to penalise someone on something “bad” they have done. And that violence in any form cannot be justified in any case.

    There are many reasons why this is happening in our society but one of the main reason is absence of rule of law! The system does not ensure justice that’s why people come up with their on justice. I am not supporting such violent act here but just trying to highlight one of the causes of such behaviour of our society!

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