An Open letter to Sharmila Farooqui and Irresponsible Media (GEO)

Photo Courtesy: Rapeis.org

By: Sana Saleem

For those who are unaware, here is a little background on the case, from the Tribune:

“Twenty-something K and her acquaintance S, in her mid-30s, were driving in a blue Suzuki Alto on Khayaban-e-Qasim in DHA when three to four men in a car rammed into them from the back. The small car dived into a ditch, the women were dragged from the car, abducted and K was gang raped while S was beaten. They were then dumped back at the spot. M, one of K’s friends, took them to hospital from where the case was taken up”

Please read Saba Imtiaz’s Brilliant Piece for the Tribune for more on the story. Watch Sharmila’s statement here.

The events that followed after the initial report was filed has urged me to write this post. Please feel free to cross-post this on your blogs or other Platforms. Let us unite against such irresponsible behavior, raise our voice and discredit such behavior. We must act now to stop unethical behavior from becoming an added hurdle for women seeking justice against such violence.

Dear Miss Farooqui,

This is with reference to the gang-rape case that happened on 20th December 2010 in Defence Housing Authority in Karachi and the events that followed.  As you are well aware of the  details, reports suggest that K was gang raped after her car was rammed into a ditch, her acquaintance beaten and both of them were then thrown in the ditch, left helpless.

We are extremely shocked to know that despite such a heinous crime, K has now withdrawn her case against the rapist. For this we have no one else to blame, but irresponsible reporting by the media and unethical statement by you.

We cannot even begin to explain, how hurt and furious we are at the way,the case is handled by the media and the law enforcing agencies. Rather than respecting the victims privacy, cameras hovered over her as she tried to make her way to the car, wrapped up in a chaddar.. If this wasn’t enough one of our largest news networks carried details like: K was returning from a ‘dance party’ at 2:00 am. This is not only irrelevant information but also an attempt to justify the heinous crime; reinforcing the ‘she asked for it’ mindset.  We vehemently denounce this attitude by the media and you.

What shocked us most  were your statements after your meeting with K. Against all internationally known human rights principles and procedures, not only did you name the survivor but also went on to malign her raising suspicion on the basis of conflicting accounts. We see this as the major blow to the case. As a women, and a politician in authority you should have been much more careful not to harm the case or the  survivor.

We are particularly appalled by your statements in front of the media regarding K.  You must be well aware that unfortunately, how police and law enforcing authorities manhandle such cases especially when the crime is committed by effluent class.

It is a great ordeal and matter of huge courage for a woman to even report such crimes. Being a woman yourself, how can you make statements that would raise suspicion regarding a woman who has been violated? How can you not be careful while dealing with such a sensitive issue?

For you and everyone else that is party to manhandling the case, this is what we have to say:

Nothing can justify rape, violence or abuse. Every single piece of information from her lifestyle is irrelevant, raising suspicion on basis of conflicting statements only hours after the case has been reported is irrelevant and damaging, remarking at the way K was behaving by calling her ‘rude’ is not only insensitive but making a mockery out of her state of mind.

We ask you to retract your statements and apologize publicaly in the media at the irreparable damage it has caused. Moral policing rape victims is equivalent to advocating the heinous crime. We  hope that you will be more responsible with your statements in the future on sensitive issues like these and would rethink over the damage your current statements have caused.

Until then we stand in protest to every factor that has damaged this case and forced the survivor to withdraw.

Signed:

Sana Saleem




  • Ateeq Ur Rahman

    I totally agree…