How many times have women been told things like “It’s too late”, “It’s not safe”, “Don’t go there alone”, “You’ll invite trouble if you wear that”, “You can’t go out at night”? The warnings are amplified every time cases like seven-year-old Zainab’s (in Pakistan) or the Kurukshetra gang-rape (in India) come to light.
In Pakistan, many people have taken to the streets to demand justice for Zainab, and some of them are asking for real solutions. And a video (above) by Mosiki – an alternative culture magazine from Pakistan – stresses on the need to shift the focus from women to men.
Calling it a “collective issue of society”, Afzal articulates how the problem will never be solved until people focus on the actual problem – men. He says in the video, “If people are harassing women then who does that? Men. We make a code of conduct for women...And that’s why you say very proudly that our women are very honourable, very pure, very good. Agreed, your women are very good, but are your men going to be good too or not? Do they have any accountability? Any code of ethics? Any manners? Are you teaching them how to go out and speak to people? You’re not.”
But Afzal is not the only one. A Pakistani woman, Alveena Jadoon, also posted a video (below) demanding to know, “Who is responsible?” Politicians, she realises, make the same promises and say the same things each year. Yet year after year horrifying incidents like Zainab’s continue to occur and “the kids who are going to run this country one day are afraid to leave the house.” Her words echo with Afzal’s in articulating the need to shift the focus to men instead of women, and she implores people to step out of their bubbles of ignorance to solve this problem.
It isn’t, however, just the youth protesting and starting a conversation. Pakistani actress Saba Qamar, who starred in the Bollywood film Hindi Medium, broke down during a television show as she made an emotional appeal for justice for Zainab (video below).
“Who do I even appeal to?” she asks with exasperation in the video. Taking aim at people’s complacency in the face of such situations, Qamar highlights the need for people to stop waiting around for someone to help them, and to instead take action for themselves and teach their children to fight for themselves.