In a shocking case of mockery of justice, the kangaroo court of a village council (called Panchayat) in Multan, Pakistan, in order to avenge the rape of a 12-year-old girl, ordered the rape of the 16-year-old sister of the rapist. The revenge rape has shocked many across the world and has shown how powerful and cruel patriarchal values still are in our society.
The incident has is proof that we live in a society where women are considered to be the property of men. Men demand full control over a woman’s life and body. Even after centuries of struggle for equality and liberty, the situation of women remains deplorable.
Crimes against women have not lessened. It is important to note that even today, a woman is considered as nothing but a slave, by many. This sense of property is quite old as it all began thousands of years ago with the discovery of agriculture and domestication of cattle. The Neolithic revolution brought about a qualitative improvement in man’s capacity to produce. Man now had a surplus that he could store for future use. This accumulated surplus and growing number of cattle owned by a man gradually turned into his private property. With the emergence of private property, owned by men, women’s position in the society weakened. With the birth of private property, monogamy came into existence too because it became necessary to ascertain the male inheritor.
Thus, with the beginning of monogamy, matriarchal societies crumbled and now a man could have complete right over his wife. When it comes to decision making, even the twenty-first-century women, not to speak of the women of the iron age, still have little choice. The family and the village community, especially in many parts of South Asia, still impose their decisions and wishes on them.
The story is horrifying indeed – the 12-year-old teenager, who was cutting grass in a field was raped by a man. The mother complained to the village elders about the rape and they decided to punish the man – they decided that one of his sisters should be raped in order to avenge the misdeed. Despite the protest by family members, the 16-year-old was chosen by the Panchayat, that comprised of 40 members; and it even threatened to use guns if they protested. Thus, to do justice to one girl, another was raped while the real culprit remained untouched and unpunished!
More than 38 rape cases have been registered in the past four months in Multan. According to another report, almost 3,000 cases of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in the year 2016. Similarly, in India, honor-killings by family and relatives of men and women, who dare to go against the wishes of the family while choosing their life-partners, are still common. Revenge porn and acid attacks are part of the same story. In India, crimes against women are reported every 2 minutes. In fact, more than two million crimes have been reported in the past 10 years.
The society needs to learn the fundamentals of humanity to get over the condemnable sadistic male psychology that considers revenge as a part of justice.