The terrible approach to sexual assault

Written by: Hannah Beryl

Sometimes I feel the safety of women is still not completely talked about. We have laws in place and we have spread awareness about the troubles women go through for just their sex. But have we learned from it?

In recent news, a sexual assault took place in Lahore, Pakistan. A young woman was sexually touched and groped while she was filming a TikTok near one of Pakistan’s monuments on August 14, Independence Day of Pakistan. She wore a traditional South Asian dress that is a combination of trousers and a long shirt or tunic. Before anyone says, “the kind of news is everywhere, why specifically bring this up?” Let me state the number. She was sexually assaulted by 400 men. Yes 400. On such an auspicious day. A video has taken the internet by storm across Asia showing the woman being surrounded and non-consensually groped by an entire herd of men. You can even witness the poor girl trying to rub them off and resist but of no match to their number. The police and government are now investigating further, But this isn’t what I'm centering my article on. It is the attitude of certain individuals that still show women’s safety is still kept on the line. We can continue to solely blame the law for not keeping stricter policies or also include the mindsets of people. In one of the interviews, a local woman had directly decided to blame the young girl for being inappropriate and was ‘asking for it’. With a strong opinion she said that into the mic. For how long can we continue to blame what the person has worn, what they were doing, how they spoke. I, personally, have dealt and seen the same. Whether I was rude or nice, the other side would be aggressive or hostile and rude. Whether I had dressed covered up or not, Chances of being stared at and groped was still high. Whether it’s young or old, your safety is still and will feel violated. Feminists, including myself, do not want to purposely push down the name of men; do not want to treat them like inhuman beasts. But if we do not have people to stand up for us and take our side, how can we even trust each other?

One of the worst approaches to sexual assault is blaming the victim. Each and every one of us has our own conscience that tells us what’s right and wrong. The victim can be naked/nude but if you know it is incorrect to violate their boundaries and touch them, you won’t touch them. So why blame the victim? These kinds of approaches make things more difficult to handle. Such as if we are dealing with a husband sexually assaulted by his wife, should we blame him for their marriage and/or affection he may have shown to her? And do not blame their dressing. Please be more empathetic to the ones affected.

Another one is not giving the victim a safe space to feel supported and protected. Their space is already violated and they do not feel comfortable in their own skin. Telling them ‘be safe next time’, ‘just block them’ or ‘don’t go there again’, is not going to help the victim feel secure. Instead keep checking in on their health, try accompanying them when they go outside for a task. If it is an internet abuse, reach out to cyber crimes and get the account deleted.

Let’s not make people feel unsafe and unworthy of their freedom just because of their sex.

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