July 25, 2023
By Maryam Missal and Hamza Saeed
To raise awareness and foster understanding of the amended Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021, the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS) organized a comprehensive training program for service providers, community leaders and members of various non-profit organizations on July 24 and 25.
The two-day workshop, which was organized with the support of the German Embassy, saw around 50 trainees from Lahore and neighbouring areas. The primary objective of the training was to equip service providers with in-depth knowledge of the latest modifications introduced in the Anti-Rape legislation of 2021.
The initiative by AGHS is a crucial step forward in the ongoing battle against sexual violence, as informed and educated service providers can play a key role in fostering a safer environment and promoting the implementation of the Anti-Rape Act. The workshop was conducted with the aim to resonate with local communities, and thereby contributing to a safer and more vigilant society in the face of such heinous crimes.
Robina Shaheen, Women Protection Officer at AGHS, expressed the importance of inviting key figures, whom people typically rely on in times of distress, to their training program.
“This legislation will support everyone who has been a victim of rape and help them fight on legal grounds,”
she said while appreciating the amendments to the legislation.
During the workshop, participants were given a comprehensive overview of the Anti-Rape Legislation of 2021. Service providers received valuable guidance on how to effectively handle complaints from rape survivors and accurately identify the nature of the crime, ensuring a more empathetic and responsive approach to assisting complainants.
Recognizing the profound impact of rape on a survivor’s mental health, psychologist Khansa Maham played a pivotal role in enlightening the trainees on the importance of sensitivity and understanding when dealing with survivors.
High Court lawyer Maryam Najam Ud Din spoke to Voicepk.net and addressed the significance of the legislation in the accessibility of justice to rape survivors.
“The definition of rape has been significantly expanded in this Act to include men and transgenders as well… transgender persons were previously excluded from the definition and were usually tried under sodomy,” said Najam as she clarified the audience about the beneficiaries of the 2021 amendement.
Participating member of the Christian community Salim Masih told Voicepk.net that he was able to understand the complexities of the legislation and is now well-informed about the dimensions of consent.