Three men in Pakistan have been arrested over the rape of a woman on a train from Karachi to Multan on May 27. Pakistan’s railway ministry reported that the men asked the woman to move to a carriage with air conditioning, before they attacked her on the moving train.
One of the accused is a ticket checker for the train. The woman is a 25 year old mother of 2. A police report said the men have already been arrested.
Now, Pakistan is reeling. Women’s rights activist Fouzia Saeed demanded that police “make the environment safer” for women. The country’s Dawn newspaper called the gang-rape “a ghastly crime”. Dawn wrote in an editorial that Pakistan’s “cavalier” approach to security encourages men to act on their worst instincts.
This recent attack is only the latest product of Pakistan’s problem with violent misogyny. Last year, a man beheaded a 27 year old woman after torturing her. Although many cases of violence against women go unreported in Pakistan, this case sent rage through the country since the woman was an ambassador’s daughter.
Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission says 5,200 women reported being raped in the country in 2021. But experts say the real number is probably much higher, since many victims simply don’t report being raped out of fear that society will blame them. According to Reuters, less than 3% of sexual assaults in Pakistan result in a conviction.
Pakistani women who do speak out about being raped often pay a price. In 2018, two Pakistani sisters’ relatives brutally murdered them out of “shame” after powerful landlords raped them. With the massively low rate of convictions against sexual assaulters, hope remains bleak for Pakistani women.
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