By Farah Jamil
I am appalled…I am angry…I am grief stricken! It breaks my heart, each time when I come across news of such atrocity, inflicted by a human against another human.
Many of us like to think that human beings are basically good, kind and generous, and will stand up for others in trouble – that they’ll help victims when they see harmful and illegal behavior right in front of them.
But what we’re actually seeing today all around us – in politics, law enforcement, the legal system, education and more – is terribly frightening behavior that points to a gaping hole in the workings of our society. Unfortunately, one of the cruelest realities of our country is sexual violence – against which we don’t even bother to raise our voices.
Sexual assault is a term that includes sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact, child sexual abuse, incest, and rape. Sexual contact becomes assault when a person is unable to or does not consent to an activity. But the question is, “Why don’t victims of Sexual Harassment come forward sooner”?
The idea that so many women and minors are being abused in our country and beyond, and so many are turning a blind eye, helping to support its continuation by not taking a stand to speak up or fight against it, reveals a societal problem that we can no longer ignore.
This is a proof of our moral and intellectual bankruptcy. Equally appalling is the response of public at large as well as media in such cases. Sharing images of a minor, gender, age, compelling parents to talk to media, hurling insensitive questions by so-called journalists blinded by the lust of sensation that took over their sensibility, is despicable attitude.
I do demand justice but would it bring the victim back to life? Yes, we must strive for strict laws with penalties for the attackers and there effective implementation, but laws alone are not enough. We need social evolution. We need to educate public, to make them aware of adopting pro-active approach when dealing with sexual abuse.
According to most of the females, they don’t speak against sexual abuse because it’s a male dominated society and they fear that if this same person does anything wrong to them for speaking against that person, it will not only bring dishonor to them and their families but create a miserable life also. Fear of the repercussions is a huge obstacle women face when it comes to reporting sexual harassment.
We need to work hard to change the mindset, which puts the victim/survivor of sexual assault in limelight, instead of the perpetrator. In almost all cases, public knows everything about the victim (passive agent) but not the attacker (active agent).
We must strive to change this approach and shift the focus from passive agent to active agent. It is an uphill task but not impossible to achieve.
One should take a stand against sexual abuse. But the reason – we can’t take a stand is that cases of sexual abuses are delicate in nature and talking about it on their behalf may reflect badly on their case. But we can lend support for their cause. Stand by them when they (victims) decide to take a stance against it.
Instead of focusing so much energy on trying to figure out why victims don’t report, it would be far more productive to focus on how we can better support victims in their quest for justice and healing. Our battle has just begun and we will fight it with full might to bring about the much needed change.
Story first published: 26th January 2018