Why are sexual assault survivors hesitant to report?

Reporting sexual assault is highly stigmatized in our country. A survey revealed that about 91.6% of rape cases in Pakistan go ‘unreported’ and this is, unfortunately, the sad reality. The question here is, why are the sexual assault victims hesitant to open up? Why do most of them never come forward and never share their stories, demanding justice? Here are some of the reasons why these survivors prefer staying silent.

Reasons why sexual assault victims do not report

The character and morality of the victim is judged/Victim blaming

Our society’s ugly reality is that they tend to throw the blame game on the victim when the person who committed such an act should be considered at fault. Unfortunately, our society likes thinking that maybe the ‘victim asked for it.’ From judging the clothes they were wearing to why they were going out alone at a specific time, every remark is given to deviate from the actual topic.

NO, IT IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT. Victim blaming needs to stop. The only immoral beast here is the one who committed such an act and he is the one who should be rightly ‘punished’.

The integrity of the victims and their families is said to be ‘lost’

Another very sick belief of our people is saying that the integrity of the victim has been lost after such an act. Things like, ‘usski izzat lutt gaye’ are very common. The family feels ashamed and pressurizes the victim to stay silent because ‘Muashray main koi izzat nahe rehaygi’.

Well, no. We believe that the only person who should feel ashamed and whose respect has been lost in the process is the criminal. These predators do what they do fearlessly because they know that people will hesitate before opening up and reporting the case.

The political influence on the police of the country

When the victim complains about the accused, he/she is made to sit for hours and hours because the complaint cannot be directly lodged. The individual registering the complaint has to consult with a senior officer. And even if the complaint is lodged, it is all the game of power. If the rapist is someone from an influential family, it literally just takes a phone call, and the criminal is free to go.

Therefore, the underprivileged people prefer staying silent because they know their voices will go unheard even if they speak.

The concept of DNA testing, does not exist in our country

The debate on free DNA testing for the victims has been done quite a few times now but with no results. Vaginal swabs are usually taken according to case law in the country. However, our country scarcely has any trained staff to do proper testing.

Other than this, no concept of marital rape, no proper punishments, and many other reasons keep the victims from reporting. The criminals get an unfair escape because our country lacks law and order. They know, before committing such an act, that they can easily get away with it, which is why they do not fear doing such a heinous act.

Here’s a request to everyone, please stop victim-blaming and shaming. And for the survivors, please don’t feel guilty, it was not your fault, people may try to make you feel this way, but you are NOT to blame.

What are your views on this? Share in the comments bar below.

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