June 27, 2021

By Shere Azam


Women’s rights activists, representatives of civil society organizations including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the transgender community and others protested in front of the Karachi Press Club over the PM’s statement concerning the relationship between women’s clothing and rape.

Speaking to Voicepk.net from Women’s Forum, Shirin Ijaz said that this was not the first time that Imran Khan has made such a statement. He has already made more such irresponsible statements. The prime minister’s words have only served to embarrass the nation globally.

“In places where men don’t rape women wearing small clothes, are they all robots?” she questioned.  “The real problem is not the dressing, it’s the mindset and the fact that the drive to impose power over anyone less powerful – be it woman, child or animal.”

She said that the system should be improved so that rapists get punishments and that was how the crime would be controlled.

The demonstrators said that the statement was very damaging and that the prime minister had let his misogyny and sexism come out for all to see. They said that this kind of victim-blaming, which was rampant in a patriarchal society, was damaging. The blame should not be on the victim, rather it should be on the perpetrator of the crime.

And in non-Western societies, colonial stereotypes about men continue. It is believed that men have no control over their sexual desires and cannot control themselves when they see a woman wearing fewer clothes. These words of the Prime Minister are extremely distressing for the victims and oppressed women who have been victims of rape and gender-based violence. He has given a clear message to the oppressed women that they are responsible for the rape and no responsibility is imposed on the rapist.

Kaleem Durrani, Regional Coordinator, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that we are surrounded by FATF and other global issues. However, Imran Khan made an irresponsible statement on an international platform.

“Does anyone with even a little intelligence believe that a woman who wears fewer clothes is inviting rape?” he demanded. “I want to ask such people, what about those women who dress fully, or those who have been buried inside the ground in a sheath? Does the rapist not rape those women? What does Imran Khan want to say? Has his basic intelligence escaped him?”

Shahzadi Roy, an activist from the transgender community, said that almost all transgenders in the community had faced some kind of sexual abuse including rape. She said she too had been victim to rape. If the Prime Minister continued to make such statements, then the efforts that have been made so far against rape would have all gone to waste. She said they wanted to create more defence against rape for the community, but such a statement has hurt feelings. Abuse has to do with mentality, not clothes, she said.

Human rights activist, and Chairperson of Sindh Commission for the Status of Women, Nuzhat Shirin said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was disappointing, to say the least.

“This anti-woman statement has created a storm across the country,” she said. Imran Khan should have been the women of the nation. Apologize to and take action on YAP cases and explain in the interview how much the law was enforced on rape cases.

Social leader Asad Iqbal said that the prime minister’s statement would only serve to encourage abusers. “No head of state should make such a statement. What kind of clothes do victims wear when they are abused? In our society, low-minded people take advantage of these statements and the incidence of abuse increases.”



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