Cynthia D Ritchie, a Pakistan-based American Blogger has reportedly accused some top leaders of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led Pakistan People's Party of rape and molestation. This resulted in the resurgence of the #MeToo movement on Twitter, with women from all across the world, especially Pakistan, sharing their stories of how they were harassed. As Ritchie tweeted out her story, the tweet attracted favour, criticism, allegations of being politically motivated, along with a spree of victim-blaming.
In an FB Live, she allegedly accused Pakistan's former interior minister Rehman Malik of raping her in Islamabad in 2011 by lacing her drink. Ritchie has also levelled accusations against Pakistan's former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of physically manhandling her. Giani however, denied the allegations in a statement.
Cynthia Ritchie used Twitter to share pictures with Taimur Talpur, a member of Pakistan's People's Party. Talpur, however, said that the images were doctored, but the claim was negated by Ritchie.
So...anyone questioning legitimacy of the images can check online to see if they've been photoshopped or modified here: https://t.co/UI68Anwejphttps://t.co/tCRs18UOax— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 4, 2020
Taimur Talpurs pics are NOT doctored. Neither are the others. 🍻 #WeStandWithTaimurTalpur https://t.co/fMSlfUocAp pic.twitter.com/8H4Nj0soQU
Disclosed The Matter On A Facebook Live
Ritchie claimed politicians in the highest ranks of PPP assaulted her over the years. She also accused the members of PPP of threatening her, hacking her accounts, stealing her personal property, sharing perverse voice notes/messages, and also threatening her family. With this, she accused the PPP of disrupting her life and tweeted, "Now I'm returning the favour with information that the public should know."
I've endured sexual misconduct from #PPP ministers. Personal property- stolen. Accounts hacked. Family threatened. Perverse voice notes/messages.— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 4, 2020
You disrupted my world #PPP - now I'm returning the favour. With information the public should know.
What shall we discuss next?
"In 2011, I was raped by the former interior minister Rehman Malik. That's right, I'll say it again. I was raped by the then interior minister Rehman Malik," she said in the live video on Facebook which was widely reported including by India's NDTV.
In another post after her allegations, she said the alleged assault took place at Malik's house in the Ministers' Enclave around the time of the raid in which Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed. "I thought it was a meeting about my visa but I was given flowers/a drugged drink," she wrote. She also wrote that she had informed about this incident to someone in the US Embassy but due to the 'fluid' situation and 'complex' relations between US and Pakistan, the response was less than adequate,"noted the Pakistan daily The Dawn.
Reactions To Ritchie's Disclosure
The allegations have got mixed reactions, even from women. Gul Bukhari, a Pakistani Journalist wrote in her Sure. Starting from Nawaz Sharif right down to Nihal Hashmi & xyz raped you, eh? How many rapes will you claim at the behest of your pimps? https://t.co/48HntC99JO
Sure. Starting from Nawaz Sharif right down to Nihal Hashmi & xyz raped you, eh? How many rapes will you claim at the behest of your pimps? https://t.co/48HntC99JO— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) June 5, 2020 "Starting from Nawaz Sharif right down to Nihal Hashmi & xyz raped you, eh? How many rapes will you claim at the behest of your pimps?"
Sure. Starting from Nawaz Sharif right down to Nihal Hashmi & xyz raped you, eh? How many rapes will you claim at the behest of your pimps? https://t.co/48HntC99JO— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) June 5, 2020
Maria Iqbal Tarana, Chairperson State Commission for Women AJK, Pakistan, warned Ritchie through a Facebook post and called her out for making objectionable comments against Benazir Bhutto. "I will take you to court. You have to prove what you tweeted about the great Benazir Bhutto. First and foremost, I will make sure this is the last time when you have tried to tarnish any Pakistani woman's reputation," she wrote in the post. She ended her post by writing," Social boycott of disrespectful of foreign guests."
The worst thing a woman does to another: #victimblaming,not believing another woman when she says she was #RAPED. Are you in your senses? You’re negating the entire #metoo movement & are not worthy of being called a woman if you cant offer another woman empathy for being violated https://t.co/rgAM1I2GZU— San’a Mir (@SanaMirTweets) June 5, 2020
The blogger has nearly 220,000 followers on Twitter and a hashtag championing her as a "pride of Pakistan" (#CynthiaIsPrideOfPakistan) was the top trend on Friday evening, reported The Dawn.
Picture Credit- The Dawn