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Unsafe at any speed

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There has been a strong reaction to the horrific gangrape robbery off the Motorway’s Sialkot bypass, but it was the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore’s attempt to blame the victim for her plight that seems to have aroused even more ire, almost as if he was one of the guilty parties, and responsible for the incident. The CCPO Lahore is deserving of sympathy, not because he is right, but because he was merely expressing the misogyny he is acculturated to, as a career member of the police force.

Among the many things illustrated by this incident is the deep misogyny prevailing in the police. This is not simply a desire to have crime passed on to someone else. That was shown by the alacrity with which the Motorway police denied having responsibility. This is a sharing of the view that it is the fault of the victim. The CCPO is theoretically right: a woman who goes out of the house is likelier to be criminally assaulted, compared to a woman who never stirs from home. However, even such as woman can be assaulted by a criminal who invades her home.

Pakistanis would do well not to forget that in 1947, on a mass scale, ‘good girls’ as would meet the most stringent criteria the CCPO could set, were criminally assaulted in their homes. Some were such ‘good girls’ that they committed suicide rather than submit to the enraged rioters bent on criminally assaulting them. Is that what the CCPO proposes ‘good girls’ should do?

Police culture cannot be expected to change until all society changes, particularly rural areas. Only then will the police change. But maybe the people do not want a change, but like the paternalism (missing in this case) inherent in an SHO’s anger that anyone dared do such a thing in his area. That paternalism will go when the misogyny does, for the roots of the latter are in the former.

The investigation is not entirely clear whether the criminals were traced because one of........

© Pakistan Today

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