The recent incident of assault towards a Gujranwala-based woman has served as a wakeup call for Pakistan’s people, celebrities and the government. The mother-of-two’s horrific experience of being gang-raped in front of her children by two armed men has led to an outrage across the country. Several protests in opposition to rape culture have also been staged in the metropolitan cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. While most citizens have come forward in support of the anonymous victim, there are a handful of them who have outrightly blamed the ‘ways of women’ for the events that led to the assault.
Earlier, the Chief of Police Department (CCPO) Lahore landed himself in hot waters after questioning the Lahore-Sialkot motorway route the woman had taken, claiming that if she had not opted for a deserted road, this would not have happened. He later apologized for his remarks. Following suit, some (read: ignorant) social media users are of the opinion that if women covered themselves in purdah and did not stay out too late, they would be saved from ruthless rapists. Now, celebrities including the likes of Sonya Hussyn, Sajal Aly and Iqra Aziz have clapped back at trolls who have been commenting on their social media accounts in light of the same.
A male Instagram user commented on Hussyn’s picture with, “Tumhe pardha nahi karna chahiye? (Should you not cover yourself).” The starlet hit back, saying, “Suna hai ke talqeen karne se pehlay khud amal karna laazim hai (Practice what you preach).” She shut down the troll by telling him that if men kept their gaze down, they would not even know if a woman has done purdah or not. Well said!
Aly and Aziz faced similar encounters. When news surrounding the unfortunate incident first broke out, the O Rangreza starlet posted, “Why the system needs us to protest everytime to take actions? Take a few minutes and think about the children who had to see their mother being gang raped in front of their eyes. Yeh kab tak hota rahay ga??? Iska jawab kon dayga?? There should be an end to this. Magar kab? #shame #hangtherapist.” Her words instantly met with hate from one particular Instagram user. Responding with a befitting reply, Aly retorted, “Chalo, hum toh parda kar lein gay lekin kya jaanwar or bachay bhi parda shuru kardein? (Okay, us women will start covering ourselves but should animals and children do the same?) Unke rape honay ki wajah bhi yeh hai ke who parda nahi kartay? (Do they get raped because they don’t do purdah too?).” She was throwing shade at the various incidents of child abuse as well as the brutal rape of animals that have taken place in the past.
Aziz has always been vocal when it comes to important subjects. When she first uploaded a post expressing her sympathy towards the gang-rape incident, one of her followers instantly blamed artists for such instances. “Logo ko khud kharab karnay mein sab se aagay tum jese log ho. (People like you are the reason such things happen in the first place).” The actor wasted no time in bashing the user for his insensitive comment. She sarcastically replied, “Haan jee hum ne hi mard kharab kiye hain aur humnay hi ap mardon ki bardasht aur mardangi ko lalkara hai ke aapsay apnay nafs kaboo nahi hopata. Doob maro sharam say (Yes, we are the ones who have spoilt men. People like you should die of shame.”
Last week, Mahira Khan also fell prey to such hateful comments after she posted an excerpt from the writings of Saadat Hasan Manto. One of her Instagram followers blamed it on renowned stars such as her for the reason why women are taken advantage of in Pakistani culture. The comment read, “Yeh wohi culture hai jo Pakistan ko ap jesay ghatiya stars nai dea hai. (This is the same culture that stars like you have given to Pakistan).” Not one to hold back, Mahira said, “Jee bilkul. Humari wajah se hee toh rape hotay hain. Mard majboor hai. (Yes totally! Rape happens because of people like us. Men are helpless.”