Crimes of sexual violence are the most evil and despicable forms of criminal behaviour that have been turned a blind eye on by our justice system. The most dangerous of these acts, and the ones that are the most difficult to prosecute, are those sexual abuse instances which are committed by people of power and influence.

The recent case of a Multan Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) being accused of rape, and then escaping justice through failure of the police, is a horrific example of how sexual abusers are forgiven by our society, especially if they are powerful figures. The allegations against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Attur Rehman are that he sexually assaulted a university student in Multan for over 11 months and blackmailed her that he would post her rape video on social media if she did not obey him.

The case details are dreadful enough, but what is more appalling is that the police are not taking the case seriously. Allegedly giving in to the political influence of Rehman, police refused to lodge the complaint despite repeated attempts made by the victim, who had attached medical reports of her rape and whatsapp correspondence with the accused as evidence in her application. In the time that the police took to delay the FIR, the accused has fled abroad to escape facing the allegations against him.

The defense being presented by the concerned SHO is that the police did not receive any application against the MPA, it did not concern police if he had left the country. This statement is a depressing indication of how the police deals with violence against women. Rape is not just a crime against a woman- it is a crime against the state, and it should absolutely concern the police. This allegation should be taken extremely seriously- by the police, by the media and by PML-N, within whose ranks this MPA derives power.