Victim Blaming: A Dark Side of the Society
“It hurts when you won’t acknowledge our pain. It hurts when you won’t believe our truth.” These are the words of survivors who have had a traumatic experience with assault and victim blaming. The betrayal of not being believed, and subsequently be blamed for something that is already devastating, is a trauma. This attitude of society makes the healing process harder for the victims. Whenever a person questions what a victim could change or do differently to prevent the crime, is fueling in the culture of victim blaming. All this together makes it difficult for the survivors to come forward and speak because they find shame in it.
For women in Pakistan, after being assaulted to a crime, the only emotion that surrounds you is victim blaming. Noor Muqaddam, Sarah Inam, Sialkot incident- married women, Zainab, Khadija and the list goes on. The question is why always the victim? Questioning the victim instead of the accused is where we go wrong; assassinating their character and making the family of the victim go through societal pressure to silence them has been used as a tool to justify the crime. Considering the case of Noor, she was not safe from character assassination and rumours were filling the media rather than empathizing with the aggrieved; forcing her father to come in support of his deceased daughter and her character. Such incidents expose the harsh realities of our society where women regardless of how well dress she is or her marital status whenever something happens like an assault, she will be the one to be blamed for.
“Like a compass needle that points North, a mans accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” – Khaled Hosseini. But in our society not only men but also women blame the victims for their tragedy. The ideas that fuel the culture of victim blaming includes misogyny, patriarchy, narcissism, and gender defined roles. The argument made by journalist Imran Riaz Khan, in which he claims that Noor Muqaddam was raped and murdered because she reportedly committed a religious sin by being in an intimate relationship, is a prime example of victim blaming and a dark side of the society.
The real question is how many more Noor Muqaddams will we witness paying at the hands of misogyny before we hold the culprits responsible for their actions. When women are blamed for being abused, we are collaborating with the abuser. Stop blaming her for what he did. Just expose the perpetrators. Do not defend them. Do not justify the crime. Do not be part of the crime. Our society needs to understand that victim blaming is a crime. Your one toxic word can destroy someone’s life who’s already been going through a traumatizing event. My question is again; For society, when will we handle these situations like responsible adults?
When will we stop blaming the victims? The answer to it for us as a society will be re assessing our core values and to start treating woman as humans and acknowledging their right of consent; it will lead us to understand the victim’s prespective.