Islamabad: The consistent increase in cases of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and abuse against young children, girls and women, coupled with the inability of the authorities to punish the culprits, has prompted females in Pakistan to take it upon themselves to be equipped and physically trained to handle such vicious assaults by gearing themselves up with Tasers, pepper sprays, knives, weapons and training themselves for self-defence.
Social media has been blazing with open-ended debates while the streets of Pakistan are flocked by protesters, demanding public hanging of the culprits behind the recent robbery and gang-rape of a woman, who was travelling with her two little kids from Lahore to Gujranwala, by two armed men, who assaulted, robbed and raped the woman in front of her children on September 10.
The incident has sparked massive protests by rights activists, civil society groups and locals, who are lashing out at the inability of the Imran Khan-led government to ensure safety and protection of females in the country.
In Islamabad, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the National Press Club (NPC) raising slogans with some holding banners saying, “hang the rapists”. Similar protests have been witnessed in other major cities including Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar.
“The horrifying gang-rape of a woman is a grim reminder that Pakistan has become an increasingly dangerous place for women,” maintained the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
On social media, females are demanding allowance to keep guns, knives and other necessary weapons to protect themselves against any future attempt of rape or sexual assault.
Women are voicing their anger over what they call government’s lack of priority towards their protection and are calling on all to opt for self-defence training and stop relying on the authorities to ensure their safety.
Sale of high-voltage Tasers, pepper sprays and other similar tools online is on the rise while females are also demanding to be allowed to keep knives and guns with them when they go out in public.
“Self-defence training is equally important while teaching men to behave,” said a social media activist.
“We should teach our daughters to shoot with guns first. Gol Rotis can wait,” said another social media activist.
“I would suggest give all our females stun gun. No training required, easy to use,” said another, while others said “self-defence classes should be held in all schools”.
Hundreds of women are killed every year in Pakistan in so-called honour killings for violating conservative traditions on love, marriage and public behaviour.
Rights groups have said that Pakistan has not done enough to stem violence against women.