When you close your eyes and hear the silent cries of the victims of a violent murderer who does not kill the beasts inside, your breath gets stuck in your throat and you can’t make a sound. Even within the confines of your own house, you find yourself trembling at the mere presence of another man, for a beast can barge his way into your room in no time… A split second to rob you of your sense of ‘being alive and healthy,’ only to feed a filthy shaitaan within…robbing you of your rights as a woman, if not as a person.
Rage and fear for one’s safety, as well as confusion about one’s place in society, is an unfortunate phenomenon that most women experience.
When it comes to women and their daily lives, our country’s basic level of protection deteriorates like a corroding pillar, ready to bring down the entire community with it.
The alarming rise in cases of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and abuse has sparked widespread concern, and women in our culture are terrified. The illusions of democracy, personal protection, and the right to one’s own life and body are steadily collapsing as our society’s security standards deteriorate.
The shadows of such a violation continue to cling to the victim, making it harder and harder for the victim to get through the day, every day.
We talked with a few women who shared their day-to-day encounters that will haunt you.
They have seen the worst of ‘mankind’ in the guise of a Qaari Saab, a friend, and even a father, according to a few of the respondents who find their criminals in supposedly paternal figures…
“When I was ten years old, my parents tried to force me to study the Quran by making a “Qari Sahab” come to our house,” one said. This’Qari Sahab’ used to catch my foot and feel me up and down my leg when I was studying the holy book. I was so traumatised that I refused to read the Quran. I wanted to stop, but my parents wouldn’t let me do so unless I had a good reason. I couldn’t bear it any longer and told my mother the truth. Thankfully, she forced me to drop out of my classes. Since I was so traumatised by what happened, I didn’t recite the Quran for almost two years…”
“I was 14 when I was in the computer lab at school, working on a melody for our eoy party with a classmate. For a split second, a man, my friend’s friend, placed his hand on my chest. He smiled as he walked away. Another woman said, “I felt my soul leaving my body as I sat stuck to the floor, unable to do something.”
A survivor described one terrifying experience, saying, “I was only 12 when my dad told my mom my “bra” was too loose” (I was very young and naive and not even fully developed). Even though I was wearing loose clothes and a scarf that covered my chest, I was 16 when I caught my father looking at my breasts in the car… I don’t wear shirts at home, and I’m still nervous around my father. And every time my mother mentioned that “my father” thought my clothes were inappropriate (they are typically loose and cover my ass) or that my “bra” wasn’t right, I tried to clarify to her why it is wrong for him to look at me in a way that makes me feel awkward, not to mention disgusting.
Women and their daily lives remain terrifying, as this courageous survivor’s six years of innocent friendship and trust in men is squandered.
“From the age of nine, I had two childhood best friends. We had a strong relationship and I felt as though I had known them for a long time. However, when I was 15 years old, I was saddened by the death of a member of my family. When one of them proposed that he take me out for some fresh air and a change of scenery with some other friends because I wasn’t dealing well with the grief, I agreed.
He eventually got the better of me and jumped me. Suddenly, he began kissing me ferociously. I was weeping and pleading with him to stop. He also took his dick out and rubbed it against my leg all the time. I was shaken, heartbroken, and in tears. He didn’t go any further because, as he said, he lacked a condom. I had secretly dialled a friend, and when he realised what I had done, he backed off and said, “It’ll be fine, he’ll pray namaz for forgiveness,” and then he walked away…
Multiple girls publicly accused the same man of sexual harassment two years later.”
“I was just ten years old and living with my family when I first realised what daytime dreams felt like,” said another sexual assault survivor.
“I was just ten years old, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, standing in a crowded Lahore bazaar with my mother and Khala (Auriga). It was supposed to be a regular shopping day for me before I felt a man grab my behind and grab my ass.
My heart stopped the first time he did it. I quietly shifted my weight and took a position next to my mother. After saying something to his mate, he stepped by my side and groped me once more. I dashed to my car, perplexed and frightened. Given my uncle’s inquisitiveness, I was unable to tell him what had occurred. That night, I tore up my T-shirt and threw it away… I was just ten years old at the time.”
Women and their daily experiences may not seem normal, but you’d be surprised how even “mates” may turn out to be savage beasts. For a long time, I was really sick, and I was in and out of the hospital. Among the many loving characters I had in the form of my family and friends, this one ‘friend’ had stood out in his support for me by being there for me and helping to keep me company when my parents were at work so I wouldn’t be alone. He came over once, but after a while, he began to hover over me.
I began pushing him away and sought assistance, but no one was around, and I was too frail to fight him off due to my illness and medications. He forcibly removed my PJs, which I was wearing. I had begun to weep and was pleading with him to stop. I screamed and begged him to stop, but he insisted on continuing, and the next thing I know, I was screaming in agony. When he got off of me, I was shaking and weeping. He told me he wanted to ‘go’ again because he wasn’t happy. I didn’t have the courage to challenge him because he was already much bigger than me. He put his hand there and injured me to the point that I had cuts, blood, and bruises all over my body.”