Wed September 19, 2018
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
Must Read

Opinion

February 28, 2015

Share

Advertisement

Under the rug

There are things that are just not talked about. Topics taboo because they make us uncomfortable or because our safety depends on ignoring them. Apart from bleatings in the liberal press, these topics get shoved under the rug where Pakistanis like to store all the problems they like to turn a blind eye to.
Those who consume news online, through English language newspapers or their social media accounts might have a skewed view of what gets reported and discussed by the press at large. While conversations abound here regarding the misuse of blasphemy laws, online censorship, minority rights, sexual harassment etc a large part of the population is either unaware, not interested enough or too afraid to talk about these issues.
It is this habit of pretending that bad things don’t exist that gets most of us through days filled with many major and minor distresses and allows life to go on, but it also allows these crimes and social evils to go on unchecked and unquestioned.
BBC recently reported on the harrowing experience of a village school teacher who was abducted and gang raped while being filmed. The woman, afraid of the stigma attached with sex crimes, did not report the rape to anyone. Her attackers however, leaked the rape video which soon went viral. BBC, after being sent the video on their Facebook page along with a plea for help, investigated and found the victim now a prisoner in her own home, too afraid and ashamed to step outside.
The perpetrators have been caught because of the video and they will be tried for rape. But because of our outdated laws on cyber crime, criminal prosecution for filming the incident and sharing it is only limited to the count of ‘distributing pornography’ which carries a three-month sentence. Nowhere near enough punishment for the heinous crime committed and certainly not equal to the distress and damage caused by their actions.
As has often been repeated before, once content is online, it is impossible

to remove it completely. The only recourse that victims of such crimes have is to have the images and videos removed from the main websites hosting them. As the pages hosting such content are less than cooperative in most cases, it is a matter of waiting for interest to die down and for the content to sink down to the depths of search engine results.
Leaving the conversation regarding victim shaming still under the rug where it has been mouldering away and ruining lives, let’s turn our attention to the unavailability of laws against cyber crimes. Online bullying, identity theft, uploading of personal information and explicit content are common cyber crimes that have grave consequences. They have led not only to monetary losses but in some cases to self-harm and even suicide by the victims.
Other countries have turned their attention to the issue, albeit slowly, and laws are in place to prosecute cyber crimes. They are not always perfect and the debate regarding them is still ongoing in many places. But at least the problem is out in the open and being discussed. Here, we are still stuck in medieval times where the most we can do for this rape victim and other individuals who have suffered due to online sex crimes is to prosecute the perpetrators for sharing pornographic content.
This is shameful and it needs to change. With internet penetration in the country growing, it is inevitable that the occurrence of cyber crimes will also increase. It is time to lift up a corner of that rug and pull this conversation out from under there.
The writer is a business studies graduate from southern Punjab.
Email: [email protected] gmail.com

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar