The gang rape of a mother in front of her two young children on Lahore-Sialkot Motorway is a horrific incident that has shattered the whole society. The entire nation is in grief and sorrow. Protest demonstrations are being held across the country to condemn this tragic incident and the protestors are demanding public hanging of rapists.

Let’s have a look at the whole incident to better understand why the woman - who got raped in front of her children - refused to file FIR against culprits? Why she begged the police officers to not highlight the case? Why she wanted to keep the grief and miseries to herself by hiding it from her family? These questions clearly reflect how vulnerable the rape victims are. The culture and norm of victim blaming has created a fear among rape survivors. A fear that compels them to remain silent; a fear that is hard to overcome. 

Unfortunately, many of the ‘social media philosophers’ are busy in giving remarks regarding the victim. Ironically, they are giving justifications for her rape. Many believe that she opted the wrong time and wrong route for travelling. Many questioned why she had not checked the petrol gauge before leaving for Gujranwala. It’s a common practice that majority of rape apologetics blame women for their clothing, social behavior and independence, while conveniently forgetting that such criminals don’t even spare minor girls, women clad in abaya from head to toe, those sitting in their homes, and even those who are dead. I firmly believe no one should give weightage to such so-called ‘think tanks’. But the callous response from CCPO Lahore Umar Sheikh blaming the victim has shocked us all. Being a top cop, how can he give such irresponsible statement. But he kept defending his stance on different news channels for couple of days. Later, upon pressure from various segments he tendered apology for his insensitive remarks. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the motorway gang rape is a high-profile case and the remarks tantamount to victim blaming were expressed by a top cop. Just imagine the intensity of humiliation a low-profile rape survivor and her family have to bear when they visit police station to file their complaint. Indeed, the situation is much worse. There is a need to change mentality. There is a need to realize that victim deserves support and hope.  

At the time of writing this article, the main perpetrator had been identified but evaded arrest. The other accused has surrendered. Punjab Forensic Science Agency played a vital role in tracing the culprit by using DNA data base but the escape of main perpetrator says a lot about the operational efficacy of police department. 

The real test would be to convict the culprits. The primary accused, Abid, had earlier been involved in seven cases, including a twin gang-rape case and yet he was roaming scot-free. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan has suggested public hanging and castration of rapists. We as a nation are glad to see the premier expressing concern on this issue and assuring us that culprits will be behind the bars soon. But as per my point of view, suggesting capital punishment would not help in curbing this dreadful crime. The solution lies in creating an environment that encourages the victim to report such cases as majority of cases never get reported because of a fear that reporting the incident will tarnish the reputation of victim and her family. There is a need to change this mindset.

Secondly, speedy justice should be ensured so that victims may not lose faith is the legal system. Entire nation has to unite to abolish this menace and I hope and believe that a day will come when there will be humanity equal in proportion to number of humans. May humanity prevail!