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Saturday, November 27, 2021

It’s time to speak about consent

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People carry signs against a gang rape that occurred along a highway and to condemn violence against women and girls, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan September 12, 2020. Photo: Reuters
Folks carry indicators towards a gang rape that occurred alongside a freeway and to sentence violence towards ladies and ladies, throughout a protest in Karachi, Pakistan September 12, 2020. Picture: Reuters

Pakistan has a particularly excessive fee of rape instances, in keeping with considerably ‘unreliable’ statistics gathered on the subject. The issue in placing collectively ‘reliable’ statistics relies on the problem of what legal guidelines are in place within the nation, what number of rapes are reported, what number of incidents of sexual assault are labeled as rape, and different related elements. Nonetheless, we do know that in Pakistan round 10 rape instances are reported each day, and out of those instances, solely 77 % of these accused are convicted.

The PTI authorities had put ahead a plan to take care of rape; with the PM calling for the chemical castration of rapists. The supply for authorized chemical castration was, nevertheless, taken again by the federal government after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) stated that such punishment was un-Islamic. We have no idea why the prime minister had not correctly researched earlier than placing out his ceaselessly repeated opinions that chemical castration is one of the simplest ways to take care of rapists. Chemical castration is a course of which induces giant quantities of a feminine hormone ‘progesterone’ into the physique, decreasing a person’s capability to hold out any sort of bodily intercourse. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop assault in different varieties and may have extraordinarily severe uncomfortable side effects, together with the event of female options within the man and acute despair.

Because of this, it has been described as an unacceptable punishment by Amnesty Worldwide and different teams, and as one which ought to by no means be carried out with out being accompanied by remedy and counselling periods by different consultants. In Europe, chemical castration is utilized in some international locations however not as a type of punishment, however as a course of remedy on the request of an individual who’s responsible of a number of intercourse crimes and will really feel that he requires assist to beat no matter issues he faces which set off his violent behaviour in the direction of these weaker than him.

In Pakistan, we have to perceive that rape shouldn’t be a sexual offence as such, however an exhibition of energy over a weak particular person. That is maybe the rationale why even five-year-old ladies are rape victims. The ceaselessly given assertion that girls’s garments, for instance extra revealing garments, ‘tempt’ males ultimately to rape them is ludicrous and isn’t backed out by scientific proof anyplace on this planet.

Additionally it is true that rape instances are usually not restricted to Pakistan. Botswana recorded the world’s second-highest variety of rape instances in 2020. This determine additionally adjustments because it is dependent upon how the crimes are counted.

Pakistan has to determine a solution to take care of the issue. Ladies and youngster’s rights activists, comparable to those that organise the Aurat March, condemn chemical castration and describe it as an inhumane type of punishment. The reply lies in educating males about consent, the significance of shifting forward with any gesture or affiliation solely when there’s full consent, and empowering ladies to report rape much more ceaselessly. Ladies must also be inspired to hold pepper spray, as has turn into extra widespread in neighbouring India the place New Delhi, the capital, faces the issue of rising rape instances.

Certainly, pepper spray cans and visits to police stations to report rape – the 2 actions that must be carried out by ladies – can’t be the one reply to the issue. As an alternative, like Sweden, we have to make sure that perpetrators of rape are punished on a well timed foundation and sentenced to imprisonment – as prescribed within the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) – and that such punishments are meted out often and with out discrimination. Too usually, ladies don’t transfer forward with rape instances due to how they’re handled in the course of the investigation course of, making the crime even worse.

To realize this, the federal government must work on sensitising the police, medico-legal officers, the judiciary, and all others concerned with the method of dealing with such crimes. Therapists who might help ladies take care of the trauma they endure must also be inspired to supply assist to all ladies – and males and kids as effectively – who report rape or different kinds of sexual assault. Findings from a number of US establishments have famous that the majority victims of rape or severe sexual crimes endure extreme trauma, which may final a lifetime.

In alternate for this, we don’t want draconian punishments for offenders. We’d like harsh punishments, which, extra importantly, are often meted out, mixed with a full and up-to-date investigation by the police utilizing trendy strategies. In developed international locations, DNA proof has modified the whole construction and investigation means of rape instances. With orders already in place in our nation, allowing DNA proof in court docket will give the identical beneficial outcomes. Previous strategies of testing for rape, for instance utilizing the ridiculously old school and inaccurate two-finger check that has been just lately discontinued by the Lahore Excessive Court docket (LHC), should be deserted.

What’s necessary is to speak to kids of each genders – when they’re sufficiently old to know such matters – about consent, treating all folks as equal, accepting behaviours in different those who they is probably not serious about themselves, and understanding that assaulting or harassing ladies, or these weaker than them, is a criminal offense that’s punishable by regulation. International locations which have been in a position to take action are extra profitable than others in minimising the variety of rape crimes, though the crime itself might not have disappeared in these international locations.

Scandinavian international locations are a first-rate instance of this and though rape happens in these nations as effectively, they’ve inspired ladies to come back ahead instantly to report these instances and brought each doable measure to make sure the perpetrators are punished. This has introduced down the variety of rapes dedicated in such nations. Primarily, there should be an understanding that rape is a criminal offense, meant to display energy over one other particular person, simply as kids introduced up in a brutal society attempt to display energy by torturing an animal or finishing up some related offence.

We have to see rape in these phrases and punctiliously think about learn how to take care of rapists. Remedy may be one of many practices deployed to cut back the variety of these crimes. Concrete measures might help take care of this case, as an alternative of merely passing legal guidelines solely to revoke them and making speeches solely to say that they’re irrelevant.

The author is a contract columnist and former newspaper editor. She may be reached on [email protected]


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