We live in a male-dominated society where women are considered second class citizens. A place where men are scared of monsters in the shadows and women are afraid of men! Although called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the country is still a place where humanity comes to die and where religion is misused to oppress women and to put shackled on the mindset of the youth.
A society where men rape dolphins, dead bodies, hens, kids, and even boys: blames the woman if the poor soul somehow ends up in awful circumstances. The case of Dua Mangi is an avid example of how victim-blaming, especially women blaming, is rooted deep within the core of this so-called Islamic nation.
Details of the Dua Mangi Case
Dua Mangi, a twenty-year-old student, got abducted by a group of five armed men on Saturday. The girl was walking with her friend Haris Fateh at night when five men in a grey car shot the boy and kidnapped the girl. Haris Fateh got severely injured, the lad tried to save his friend, but he was outnumbered. The police have not been able to recover the girl, and both the families of the victims are engulfed with grief.
The boy called his parents and told them he was injured. Most people believe that the case is a personal conflict between Dua and a certain boy. Dua’s father told the police that she had a massive fight with a boy names Murtaza 10 days before she was abducted. The kidnappers have not yet contacted the family for ransom.
The case itself does not even come close to how horrifying the response of the public has been. Laila Mangi, Dua’s elder sister, urged the public for support using her Facebook account. This is where things took an even more ugly turn.
People began to comment on the victim’s clothes, and they blamed her for going alone at night with a boy who was not a part of her family. Some even went as far as to say that they hope the girl is found dead and raped.
They blamed her feminist remarks and that everything she stood for was against Islam. Rather than praying for her recovery and condemning the kidnappers, most people were more concerned about the antics of the victim’s life. The poor soul is being blamed for getting herself kidnapped in the first place
Common questions were:
- Why was she out at that time of night?
- Why was she with a boy who wasn’t her brother?
- Why was she wearing revealing clothes?
- Is she not a Muslim?
- Did her family know she was out with a boy?
Female Victims are uniquely vulnerable for being blamed for their assault as compared to other genders. According to most experts, the reason people blame the victim is to distance themselves from such a traumatic or unpleasant experience and thereby try to tell themselves that they are not vulnerable to the risk. People reassure themselves by thinking, “As I am different than the victim, I do not do that; this would never happen to me or anyone around me.”
Offenders and the public say things like “she was asking for” or “she deserved it,” statements that effortlessly shifts the blame onto the victim. Women are continuously bombarded with ways to prevent being sexually assaulted. You may have heard:
- Watch what you wear!
- Do not travel alone at night!
- Cover yourself!
- Stay away from men!
- Don’t go out of the house!
All of these do not seem like bad tips, but we need to understand a vital thing. This “be safe” mindset constructs a false sense of security by letting women think that sexual assault is somehow preventable. It is not! Someone who has been sexually assaulted even though she took all the safety measures, might feel confused or ashamed and will start to wonder what they could have done to prevent the attack.
People have to understand that sexual assault is a crime of opportunity. Offenders search for the right moment, and they choose to commit a sexual assault whilst justifying their actions. Even if you did not take any precautions at all, you are in no way to blame for being assaulted!
If the modesty of a woman is what saved her from being a victim of sexual abuse, then babies wouldn’t get raped, animals won’t get raped, boys wouldn’t get raped, and women in their homes wouldn’t get raped.
Khadija Mangi’s Response
Dua Mangi’s sister Khadija Mangi uploaded a video on social media after her sister was abducted, and she had a lot to say. The grief-stricken sister was just not distressed about the loss of her sister but also with the response of the public towards her sister’s kidnapping. As I mentioned before, the comments on her Facebook post were horrendous, and in the video, she condemns the people who wished death upon her sister. The content of the video is rather graphic, and it’s not at all for children.
In the video, she requests the people to respect her family and her sister and is disappointed by the response of the police. According to her, her family, instead of getting support and prayers, is getting blamed for the disappearance of her sister. The poor boy, Harris, is still in the hospital and fighting for his life.
Other Rape and Kidnapping Cases in Pakistan
Zainab Ansari Case
A six-year-old girl named Zainab Ansari was abducted while she was heading over to her teacher’s house, in the middle of the afternoon. The parents of the victim were not in the country, and she was staying with her aunt and uncle. Five days later, her body was found about a mile from her place in a garbage dump; the minor had been raped and murdered. The entire country was set ablaze, and massive protests took place, the case got a lot of media coverage. The offender was later identified as Imran Ali, and he was determined to be a serial rapist and killer who were responsible for seven previous murders in the area.
Two sisters who were the daughters of a laborer were kidnapped and then gang-raped by a group of men in Kabirwala, Punjab. The suspects took the two women to a mango orchard and then raped them, according to their brother. The suspects then dropped off the women at their house, and both of them were naked. Police are still working on the case.
Three balochi men kidnaped Mukhtara Mai’s 12-year-old brother, and he was subjected to rape and was sodomized repeatedly. The boy refused to stay silent and so he was imprisoned in the home of Abdul Khaliq. When the police came, the man who had raped the boy accused the boy of having an affair with his wife was in her late 20s at that time. Shakoor, the boy, was then imprisoned for adultery and later released. The rapist of the boy was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment,
The tribal council convened with their sentencing, and they concluded that Shakoo should marry the woman he has an affair with, and Mukhtara should be married to a man from the Mastoi tribe. The villagers rejected the conclusion as they believed that adultery should be punished with adultery. Mukhtara Mai was then dragged to a nearby hut where four men gang-raped her, and 10 were other people watching. And then she was paraded around the village nude. The government awarded her with 5 lakh rupees, and the media followed her for months. Her offenders were arrested but were later acquitted.
In light of the information above, it can be seen that people in this country have lost all their humanity. Dua Mangi is just one girl out of hundreds and thousands of women and children that have been subject to violence in Pakistan. According to a study, 93% percent of women in Pakistan experience sexual abuse at least once in their lives. For all the people who are blaming Dua for getting kidnapped, well, you need to remember that you have a sister, a daughter, a mother, or even a female friend. None of them are safe, no matter how many precautions you take. Before blaming the poor girl, you need to imagine how you would feel if the same happened to your loved ones.
The family of both Dua and Harris is going through the most traumatic time ordeal imaginable, one has a child that has not come home, and the other is fighting for his life. Both could end up dead, so we, as a nation, should pray for their safety and health and stop blaming the family or the victims. We lost a daughter today, let’s not lose our humanity too.
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