Original Articles

Is rape more common in the USA?

Things can get confusing for a lot of people. Why are USA rape statistics  so high? And if rape is so common in the USA, why do Pakistani women still feel safer living here in the USA as compared to living in their own country? Why does almost everyone who curses the open culture of the USA, still chooses to raise all his/ her daughters in the USA?  Analytic thinking is not a skill that is taught in Pakistan.

I was never raped in Pakistan. And, I have never been raped in the US either. I always speak against the street harassment on the streets of Pakistan, because this is what I experienced. Why wasn’t I raped? If men in a society are so frustrated that a woman can not walk alone on the street without being harassed, how did I get away without being raped in that society?

I was not allowed to leave my house without a chaperone after I turned 10, a few years before puberty. Zia ul Haq (or might have been the principal of my school) had made it mandatory for all the girl students to wear a scarf, starting 5th grade. This is exactly when my freedom ended too.

If we ever had to go out without our father or  brother, we were afraid of street harassment. Girls had to walk in groups to school to avoid harassment. Harassment included acts like; a boy walking too close to you, a boy flashing his penis at you when no one was around, and a boy trying to touch you if he found you alone on the street. And it was your fault;  you left the house alone in spite of knowing that there was some boy waiting outside on the street to harass you.

I did not realize then, but this literally restricted our lives to our school and home. There was no concept of walking outside on the street just for fun or for a walk. Street harassment in Pakistan is not only accepted but is actually considered a part of routine life. I did not realize there was anything wrong with that life style until I actually lived in the USA.

You also have to make a comparison between a life in a cage and an absolute freedom women enjoy in the USA, when you look at the rape statistics. Women are out and about in the USA at all times and no, they are not raped just for walking on the street or for wearing sexy clothes. Rape is a serious crime in the USA and is severely punished regardless of rapist’s social status.

The question is, what would Pakistan’s rape statistics be if women are allowed on the streets like men? And is it acceptable to cage humans to “protect” them from rape, or should the rapists be caged? Should men in a society be taught that it is going to be a crime on their part instead?

The mentality of “You went out alone so you were harassed,” or “You got raped because you wore sexy clothes,” has to end. Women are equal humans. You cannot cage them to “protect” them.

Interestingly, boys are raped more in Pakistan, and they are not caged in their houses. Why is their “honor” not so important?

Forcing yourself upon another human is a serious crime and no one has a right to force themselves upon the other person just because the other person was sexually stimulating. Just like you cannot rob a rich man because you are poor and tempted to take some of his money.

Crime is a crime.

If rape had anything to do with gender, boys would not be raped. If it had anything to do with girls looking sexy, that boy would not have touched my boob covered in five layers of clothing, when he found me alone on the street when I was 17. I was wearing a duppatta and a chador on top of my regular bra, shameez and kameez. But he saw me walking alone, came towards me and touched me. I cannot forget the fear. If it was not an open street, I have no doubt in my mind that he had tried to rape me. I started trembling and started walking fast. That incident placed a further ban on my free mobility. Now I am a woman who wears sleeveless and knee length dresses, then I was a girl who stayed covered in five layers. Then they harassed me, now they are intimidated by me.

Not all girls in Pakistan had the protected (or caged) childhood like I did. I am sure girls are raped in Pakistan but it is not reported. After all, it took me 22 years to confess that my boob was touched.

The solution is not to cage the girls, but instead, to cage the harassers and the rapists, since they are the criminals, and they are the ones who are a danger to the society.

When they gather statistics on rape in the USA, they add marital rape and childhood abuse as well, and consensual sex of an adult with a minor below age of 18. Rape happens here, but I would rather have my daily free mobility here than being caged in a house in Pakistan. I have never experienced street harassment in the USA during these 14 years of living here.

(ارے وہ امریکا میں تو ریپ کے اتنے مقدمات ہیں. ہمارے اتنے کم)

بہت دفع لوگ چیزوں کو سمجھ نہیں
پاتے . خاص کر پاکستانی جن کو یہ سکھایا ہی نہیں جاتا کہ سوچنا کیسے ہے . ہم لوگوں کو تو بس رٹایا جاتا ہے کہ

کیسے کیا ہونا چاہیے.
سوچنے پر سخت پابندی ہے. چیزیں ہم پاکستانیوں کو بہت آسانی سے سمجھ نہیں آتیں.

مجھے نہیں پتا کہ پاکستان میں کتنی لڑکیاں ریپ ہوتی ہیں. مجھے یہ پتا ہے کہ میں کبھی نہیں ہوئی اور نہ میں کسی ایسی لڑکی کو جانتی تھی جو ہوئی ہو.

میں ہمیشہ گلیوں میں لڑکیوں پر آوازیں لگانے والوں کی بات کرتی ہون. ان کی وجہ سے ہم لوگ گھروں سے نکل ہی نہیں سکتے تھے . دس سال کی عمر کے بعد مجھے کبھی بھی اکیلا نہیں چھوڑا گیا. کبھی نہ ہی گھر سے اکیلے گئے. اور نہ ہی لڑکوں کے ساتھ کبھی اکیلے ہونے دیا گیا. جب بھی کبھی گھر سے اکیلے نکلے ، کسی نے گلی میں تنگ ضرور کیا.

اس لئےساری زندگی گھر کے اندر بند رہے، صرف امی، بھائی ، یا ابو کے ساتھ نکلے. لیکن اب جانتی ہوں کہ عورتوں کو گھروں میں رہنے پر مجبور کرنا انسانیت نہیں. گھروں میں ان کو قید کیا جانا چاہیے جو ان کوسڑکوں پر تنگ کرتے ہیں
لڑکیوں نے کیا جرم کیا ہے کہ وہ سڑکوں پر آزادی سے نہ پھر سکیں. میرا اسکول بھی لڑکوں کے ساتھ تھا اور کالج بھی . مگر تب بھی لڑکے اور لڑکیاں ایک دوسرے سے الگ الگ ہی رہتے تھے, ایک دوسرے کے ڈر سے

امریکا میں عورتیں ہر جگا آتی جاتی ہیں، دن کو بھی اور رات کو بھی، اور پھر اگر کوئی جرم ہو جا ے ان کے ساتھ تو اس کو رپورٹ بھی کرتی ہیں
جب قید میں رہیں گے، تو نہ ہی زیادی ہو گی اور نہ ہی افیئر چلے گا، لیکن یہ کہاں کا انصاف ہے کہ مظلوم کو قید کر دو، اور غنڈے سڑکوں پر د ند ناتے پھریں . اور لڑکے تو پاکستان میں اور بھی زیادہ زیادتی کا شکار ہوتے ہیں؟ ان کی عزت کیوں نہیں جاتی؟ ان کو گھروں میں قید کیوں نہیں کرتے؟
اگر ذیادتی کا تعلق کپڑوں سے ہوتا تو جب ایک دفع کالج اسے اکیلا آنا پڑا ، تو ایک لڑکے نے اکیلا پا کر ، میری چھاتی کو ہاتھ کیوں لگایا ؟ کپڑوں کی پانچ تہیں پہن رکھی تھیں. زنانہ شمیز ، لمبی شمیز ، کمیز، دوپٹہ اور اوپر سے چادر. اور پھر خوف سے تیز تیز ، نظریں جھکا کر بھی چل رہی تھی

اب پاکستان جاؤں، چاہے بغیر بازو کی کمیز ہو، کوئی دوپٹہ نہیں، ڈرتے ہیں اور دور دور سے ڈر کر ہے دیکھتے ہیں. یہ ایسے بھیڑیے ہیں جو بھیڑ نظر آ جا ے تو بھیڑیے اور اگر شیرنی نظر آ جا ے تو پاس بھی نہیں پھٹک سکتے

اپنے آ پ کو بیقوف نہ بنا یا کریں. اگر کھلی سڑک نہ ہوتی ، تو وہ لڑکا زیادتی کرنے کی بھی کوشسس کرتا. کبھی سوچتی ہوں کہ میں نے کانپنا کیوں شروح کر دیا، اور تیز تیز کیوں چلنے لگی، رک کیوں نہیں گئی اور پاس سے اینٹ اٹھا کر اس کے سر میں کیوں نہیں ماری؟

جواب یہ ہے کہ ما ں نے ڈرنا سکھایا ، لڑنا نہیں. آج ٢٢ سال کے بعد پہلی دفع کسی کو ، اور وہ بھی آپ سب کو ، یہ قصہ سنایا ہے. امی کونہیں سنایا، وہ مجھےہی الزام دیتیں کہ پیچھے کیوں رہ گئی، اور باقی لڑکیوں کے ساتھ کیوں نہیں نکلی کالج سے؟

میری سب سے چھوٹی بہن کو ان باتوں کا نہیں پتا

میرے امی ابو، لاہور کے پوش علاقے میں منتقل ہو گئے،اور بہن کے پاس بڑی چھوٹی عمر سے اپنی کار ہے. ہر جگا آزادی سے جاتی ہے، البتہ رہتی پوش علاقوں میں ہی ہے. مجھے کبھی کبھی خود بھی چلنا پڑتا تھا جب ابو اور بھائی نہیں ہوتے تھے

زیادہ پاکستانی لڑکیوں کے پا س اپنی کار نہیں. وہ چل کر یا وین میں اپنا سفر کرتی ہیں، وہ کیوں ہراساں کی جا یں؟

انڈیا کا بھی یہ ہی حساب ہے، ان کے آدمی بھی ہمارے آدمی کی ترہا سوچتے ہیں اور اسی لئے وہاں لڑکیوں کے ساتھ زیادتی بوہت کامن ہے

کیوں کے دنیا دیکھی ہی نہیں پاکستان میں، پتا بھی نہیں تھا کہ پاکستان میں بھی ہزار ترہا کے لوگ ہیں
ساری لڑکیوں کی اتنی حفاظت (اور جیل والی زندگی ) نہیں ہوتی. مجھے یقین ہے کہ وہ جو سڑکوں پر چلنے بھی نہیں دیتے ، موقع لگنے پر زیاد تی بھی ضررور کرتے ہوں گے. لیکن کون بتا ے گا. میں نے ٢٢ سال کے بعد، اس مقام پر زندگی کے، لڑکے کے ہاتھ لگانے کا قصہ اب بتایا ہے، زیادتی کا پاکستان میں بتا کر تو اپنی زندگی خود ہی برباد کرنے والی بات ہے

عورتوں کو قید نہ کریں ، ہراساں کرنے والوں کو اور زیادتی کرنے والوں کو کریں. لڑکیوں کا بھی زندگی کی آزادیوں میں اتنا ہی حق ہے جتنا کے لڑکوں کا .

لڑکیوں کو باہر ،اور غنڈو کو اندر کریں

یہاں امریکا میں

لڑکیا ن اور عورتیں ہر وقت سڑکوں پر آزادی سے پھرتی ہیں، اور بہت محفوظ ہیں، اسی لئے یہاں کے کلچر کو برا کہنے والے بھی اپنی بیٹیاں لے کر یہاں سے نہیں نکلتے

پاکستانی عورتوں نے تو کبھی اتنی آزادی کا تصور بھی نہیں کیا ہوگا. ریپ یہاں ایک بہت بڑا جرم سمجھا جاتا ہے. کرنے والا بچتا نہیں.

جس ترہا آ پ ایک امیر آدمی کو نہیں لوٹ سکتے صرف یہ که کر کے آ پ غربت کے مارے ہویے ہیں، اپ لڑکی کے ساتھ زیادتی بھی نہیں کر سکتے کہ باہر کیوں تھی یا ہے ہی خراب

امریکا کی عورتیں جانتی ہیں وہ کتنی محفوظ ہیں. اور یہ ہی وجہ ہے جب کوئی اور بھی ایک بار یہاں آ جاتا ہے، جاتا نہیں پھر.

About the author

Shazia Nawaz


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  • This article is very poorly written and edited. If you can’t write in English, then don’t. Stick to the language you know.

    • Tumhari Man Angrez thi, Ya wo Angraiz ka Sath Soi Thi? Kutti Ka Bachhha.

    • My apologies!!!
      This attack was not intended for you — it was for a terrorist somewhere else. My computer momentarily got hung-up and I made inadvertent mistake . You have right to make comments and they are based upon evidence. Sorry friend!

  • Here’s one of many examples. You write “Interestingly, boys are raped more in Pakistan, and they are not caged in their houses.” Boys are raped more? More than what? More frequently than women? Or are you saying male rape is more common now than a few years ago? More frequently in Pakistan than other parts of the world? Your meaning is unclear. And where is the evidence to back up your claims?

  • Very good article to read.truly represents feelings of how young girls feels walking in street in countries like pakistan.

  • Women in Muslim counties
    Ignore the ignorance of “Guest.” You write very well. I myself was just insulted by an anonymous commenter on my lack of punctuation. lol As if I was in his English class. Cowards come in all forms.
    Shazia, I am proud we are Facebook friends. You speak the truth. The statistics that attempt to demonize the West by all means possible, are false. Liberty in the United States, a country of millions and millions walk the streets just as in Pakistan, still, that doesn’t mean there won’t be sociopaths, or that crime will never take place. The difference as you point out is, is that there is law and order in the US, and severe punishment in the U.S. for harassment of a woman. There are protections, and a woman, even wearing provocative dress, would never be accused of inciting males, or an excuse for a male to touch a female- we do not blame the victim.
    I have always maintained that the culture that insists on the unnatural covering of women, particularly in burqas, is an assault on women’s place in society, and proof is that in those countries they are less likely to be allowed to drive, have education, and must sit in segregated areas, even in a Mosque. These young men who grow up in such a closed society become sexually frustrated. I believe one of the most sexually frustrated and perverted societies of men are the Taliban- and read of the Ayatollah Khomeini suggestions about proper male female conduct sometime- it is so perverted as to be laughable, if it weren’t meant to be taken seriously. These cultures are fundamentally misogynistic. They hate women, and want them powerless and invisible.
    It has nothing to do with Quran guidelines, or true Islam, and everything to do with power over women. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto her autobiography, “Reconciliation” touches on true Islam and how interpretations by men through the ages belittle women and minorities.
    One last comment- that boy/ man who touched your breast on the street illustrates our point: You did nothing wrong, and even overdressed to protect yourself. He knew he could get away with it; his culture accepted it; you were seen as an object only, and he could do as he pleased because he was a male and you, merely a female; he could justify his actions by the fact that you were alone- and this went against Islam; therefore, in this society where he was raised he is actually unwittingly encouraged to grope and not control his base male nature; he is perverted by his society.
    In the U.S. you could have him arrested, with only one witness for verification.

  • Good. It is a good nature to admit fault and make apology. This is sign of goodness.

  • It is a very good written article. We should appreciate the bravery of the writer. I do agree with the writer that boys do get rape in Pakistan in Madresas. Particularly, in deobandi madresas by their Qari, moulvi or teacher.

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