Home > Uncategorized > HOW NOT TO INVESTIGATE A GANG-RAPE: The ‘fact’ that they are ‘callgirls’ affects the intensity of the crime, claims Darakhshan SHO

HOW NOT TO INVESTIGATE A GANG-RAPE: The ‘fact’ that they are ‘callgirls’ affects the intensity of the crime, claims Darakhshan SHO


HOW NOT TO INVESTIGATE A GANG-RAPE

The ‘fact’ that they are ‘callgirls’ affects the intensity of the crime, claims Darakhshan SHO

  • Police have made a habit of referencing Mukhtar Mai negatively in rape cases, says WAR

By Urooj Zia (Pakistan Today, 23 December 2010)

KARACHI: Officers at the Darakhshan police station in Clifton seem to believe that a rape-survivor’s profession has a bearing on how the crime that was committed against her should be investigated.

“You people look for Mukhtar Mai in every case. These girls aren’t Mukhtar Mai, these are doosri (other) mai,” an officer at the police station said while referring to the survivor of a recent gang-rape in Clifton. This phrase has apparently become an ‘inside joke’ at the thaana in question, with officers repeating the same line to several reporters. The station’s SHO, Rana Mehmood, also claimed that the survivor’s profession had a bearing on the way the case was investigated. “They are callgirls,” he insisted. “And we are slowly getting proof for that. This fact affects the intensity of the crime.”

“You probably don’t have much experience with such matters,” SHO Mehmood added. “But we’ve been doing this long enough to know how these women lie. We have come across several instances where after conflicts in bargaining with the client, ‘these women’ go ahead and holler rape.” He did not comment, however, on why a commercial sex worker would risk being charged thus for adultery.

“The police have made a habit of making snide references at Mukhtar Mai while dealing with rape cases,” Sarah Zaman from War Against Rape (WAR) told Pakistan Today. “We come across this all the time. All the time! First duty officers refuse to lodge FIRs. Then they harass the survivor, claiming that she’s levelling false charges against a ‘shareef admi’. In some cases, they even taunt them with pejorative references to Mukhtar Mai.”

“Around two to three years ago, when Raja Tariq was the SSP or the investigation officer at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station, we were pursuing a rape case in their jurisdiction. Tariq harassed the complainant repeatedly and made snide remarks, such as ‘Mukhtar Mai bunney ki koshish na kero’ (don’t try to be Mukhtar Mai),” said WAR legal counsellor Khalidah Ahmed Qadri. “What is that even supposed to mean?”

“The police also question the survivor about the lack of marks of violence on her body,” Zaman said. “They need to be taught about the concept of ‘frozen fright’. Rape survivors are usually unable to fight or protest at the time of the act. Fear paralyses them. Many survivors have told us that while the ordeal was over in a couple of seconds, it actually felt like it lasted for hours, and all they wanted during the time was for the perpetrator to finish what he was doing and leave them alone. They are unable to fight back with all this going on in their heads. Of course there will be no marks of violence!”

Questions about what the survivor was doing before being targeted are also uncalled for, she said. “Officers harangue survivors about why they were out so late, for instance. This is where the entire investigation goes awry. According to the Constitution of this country, a woman has the right to public space, and no one can deny her that. Questions of this sort are only meant to establish that the survivor was of ‘questionable character’, and as such, in some twisted way, imply that she ‘had it coming’,” Zaman said. “Regardless of what the survivor does for a living, a rape is a rape. If there was no consent involved for that particular window of time, it was rape.”

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