Doctors performed two procedures to save the life of a five-year-old girl who was brutally gang-raped in the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province even as the Supreme Court Chief Justice took notice of the heinous crime. The girl, dumped near Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Lahore on Friday after being raped by unidentified men, continues to be in a critical condition.
Doctors at Services Hospital, where the girl is being treated, performed two “minor” procedures to save her life, officials said. “The girl is facing serious medical complications. She is unable to pass stool and urine,” said a report by a three-member team of doctors that operated on her. The report said the girl was tortured by her attackers. A doctor treating the girl, who did not want to be named, said: “We hope the girl’s condition will improve in a few days.” Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftiqar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the crime and ordered the Punjab Police to submit a report on the incident. Police have rounded up five suspects from Mughalpura area. They are going through footage from CCTV cameras to identify the person who dumped the girl in a forested area near Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Lahore police chief Chaudhry Shafique said two teams had been formed to find the rapists. “We will soon arrest the accused,” he claimed. The girl, the youngest of nine siblings, was playing outside her house at Ghausia Colony in Mughalpura – a thickly populated impoverished neighbourhood – on Thursday evening when she went missing.
Recently, a five-year-old girl was discovered outside Ganga Ram hospital in Lahore. She had been raped and dumped on the street, a victim of a callous man who probably felt he could get away with what he did.
And sadly, he is right. Most men who rape or commit sexualised violence in Pakistan do so with complete impunity. The only difference here is that this little girl is the perfect victim worthy of our pity.
When a child is raped, societal outrage is far greater than when an adult is raped. Children are innocent and we, as adults, realise we have a responsibility to our children collectively. We realise they are worthy of pity if wrong and we acknowledge that sexual crimes against children are criminal. As I write this, the police are actively looking for this rapist, who, if caught, will certainly face the collective wrath of society as he rightfully should. The chances of him being declared guilty are high, certainly much higher than when an adult woman is raped.
There are many reasons why he’ll be seen as guilty by most and many are reductive without a proper understanding why rape occurs. We, as a society, believe rape is about sex and not power despite evidence to the contrary daily. Rape in our culture is largely about honour. Mukhtaran Mai, who despite her brave fight, was the victim of a sexualised honour crime which had nothing to do with sexual lust. Mai’s victims were let off despite the collective outrage, despite the evidence and despite the fact that she had excellent legal counsel.
When a female child, whose body hasn’t experienced any pubertal changes, is raped, we instantly see the victim differently and automatically say she’s innocent. But that’s not the case with females whose bodies have matured. Once a female looks womanly enough to seduce, we blame the victim. Was she really innocent? What was she wearing? Did she have makeup on? If so, didn’t she realise she was tempting men? Why was she out alone? Why wasn’t she with her father, brother or husband? Did she not know that she was asking for it by daring to enter male territory alone?
So while child rapists and paedophiles are seen as evil and vile, rapists of adult women are often seen as the innocent victims of women’s feminine wiles. They are seen as men who were left with no option but to ravage a woman and she is the one who is held responsible for it. This then translates into the victim not being believed by the police who hesitate to register FIRs and then by the courts.
In a patriarchal country, the existence of patriarchal attitudes in court is no surprise. Judges, too blame the victims. Judgements include speculations asking why the victim didn’t scream, completely neglecting the fact that many freeze when they are in danger. Judgements also state that there wasn’t enough physical injury so if a woman is raped, but not left beaten, she is often accused of framing a man for rape.
We also assign degrees of blame on victims not just based on their age, but based on sexual experience. A non virgin who has been raped is often called a “woman of easy virtue” and her rapist is seen as the victim of a seductress.
While I sincerely hope this case opens the floodgates of outrage and leads to a demand that we need to reform our rape laws, we must not leave out the many victims other than female children. This includes boys, transgendered individuals, men, sex workers, and all women, including wives. We don’t recognise marital rape. Wives are property of their husbands who need to submit to them sexually and if they don’t, we feel no pity if force is applied. Our conversation has hopefully begun and this time, we must make it more inclusive than it has been in the past.
It truly represents that money talks, as according to news the application was submitted for the resolution of matter out of court, which could have been done prior to the court announced death sentence to the accused. Furthermore, the family was receiving threats as has been heard, they could have stated so in the court and asked for justice’