A blurred image of a young child is printed across the screen. Newspaper reports describe how the child is traumatised often closing and opening her eyes; unable to speak.
Her torturous experience? She was raped brutally at the gentle age of five by unidentified men.
The young girl’s story is one of only a few that comes to the surface. Most rape incidents go undiscovered in Pakistan as the victim is faced with the prospect of bringing ‘dishonour’ upon her family or in other cases, they are blackmailed or threatened into remaining silent. Unfortunately, bounded by their family and the patriarchal society, women seal their lips as they continued to be perceived as perpetrators where they are in fact the victims.
The main problems stem from the Hudood Ordinances that came into law during General Zia’s regime. According to those laws, a woman must bring testimonies of four witnesses in order to prove she was raped. However, the question is – how on earth is a woman supposed to bring four witnesses to prove this? No-one carries out this dreadful act in the eyes of the world. Rather than using DNA examples and tests to prove who the culprit is, the law is created in such a way that – even before the case begins – the matter weighs immediately into the favour of men.
Obviously, the woman can’t arrange for four witnesses and often is charged with zina – having premarital sex and are forced to endure punishment for something they never committed while the real perpetrator goes free; ready to strike the next unfortunate victim.
It is time the government and we, people took a stand against this heinous crime. What happened to this innocent child is one of the most horrific and sickening crimes against humanity and womanhood and now we ought to do everything in our power to make sure that it does not happen to anybody else.
Just a few days ago, four men who gang-raped the 23-year-old student last year were given the death sentence. Now and now is our chance to raise our voices so justice can be delivered to this child too. If we try and urge the government to take a step, maybe in the future this child’s perpetrators could be punished. But it all begins with a drop. Remember, it took a lot of effort and billions of drops of water to make those oceans out there. We can make a change for all women in our country if we raise our voices together.