Sometime back, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, on international media, stated that “if a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on the men, unless they’re robots. I mean it is common sense.” Such declaration fueled an outcry amongst the various factions of the country and other parts of the world. Many questioned his views towards the widespread issue of victim blaming taking into account the fact that the same previously held progressive views during his time as a cricketer. But during this entire predicament, one must stop and assess: can the victim ever be blamed?
All around the world and in the-so called ‘western culture’, women wear clothes of all types. Despite such attires, men of the west do not get ‘provoked’. Such deterrence may aptly be related to the notion of repercussions and the inevitable fear thereof.
It is an open secret that in Pakistan, the judicial system takes years and years in convicting criminals. Even in the simplest cases, where incriminating evidence is vividly screaming, the system takes eons to order a conviction. It is evident that such delinquents are cognizant of this unfortunate fact. Whereas in various other jurisdictions around the world, despite the judicial system being rather slow, convictions are guaranteed and the perpetrators are put behind bars.
Thus, the issue of lack of repercussions in our country encourages these ‘robots’ to commit heinous acts of violating other people’s sanctity and personal dignity. Amongst this entire chaos, there is no one individual to blame. The edifice of the entire country rests upon idea of theocracy and in such a setting, the victim is frowned upon for ‘inviting’ upon himself/herself the conundrum in which they find themselves in. Radical reasoning and thought processes coupled with ‘she was asking for it’ further make the situation worse.
Nonetheless, the idea that a woman’s attire will have an impact on a man’s physiological factors is a vindictive and a despicable proposition. As a result, the PM has in peripheral, encouraged various predators to justify their actions in the name of ‘common sense’ and this allows them to reason with themselves by blaming the victim.
In a setting where the masses remain uneducated due to the system’s incompetence and lack of resources, putting forth such unfounded statements paves the path for a dangerous way forward. Where women are regularly tortured, thrown acid upon, killed in the name of honour and shot point blank for refusing a marriage proposal, such reckless statements are making the lives of women more difficult. In 2021, the world is formally recognising gender equality, wage gap based on sexual factors and workplace harassment; and in such progressive times, the PM is proceeding to label men as robots who cannot curb their impulses.
It is not common sense that men will pounce upon women. One may ask: can the same problematic analogy be applied upon the toddlers, infants, and corpses who are violated by delinquents every now and them? Little Zainab who was only 7 years old was raped and killed by Imran Ali in Kasur on 9th January 2018. A man in Korangi raped and neck-snapped another six-year-old in Karachi on 31st July 2018. Such incidents are not isolated, they are regular and they occur because of the uneven power dynamic between the sexes.
Clothing never did and will have no connection to rape, harassment or assault. What leads to rape are rapists and what leads to harassment are harassers.
The only solution to this problem is education — long term-solution and the only concrete solution. However, when it comes to education, one excuse always catches our eye which is ‘lack of funds’. Widespread awareness programmes and a comprehensive education system will lead to curbing of such crimes. Education begins from home and the problem lies within.