Imran Khan rape comment: Pakistan's premier has once again held up women's clothing (or the seeming lack of it) as a factor in sexual violence cases. How can it not be, he asks? Since it's only "common sense" that men are not "robots" in the face of a woman donning clothes that reveal more of her body than is considered modest.
In an interview with Jonathan Swan for HBO's Axios, Khan asserted, "If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on the men, unless they are robots. It’s just common sense."
The former Pakistani cricket captain throws this stinker only months after he pegged fahaashi (vulgarity) as the reason behind rising rapes in his country, urging women to observe purdah since "not everyone had willpower." Read about that here.
How many more women must suffer rape and sexual assault before world leaders realise such acts are more about power than lust? What kind of encouragement does the victim-blaming narrative get when a country's top chief matter-of-factly places responsibility of rape not on the perpetrator but women being attacked? Can men get away with rape on the justification that they aren't robots who don't know how to control what twisted temptation comes to them?
Watch a clip of Khan here:
Imran Khan is r*pe apologist and hates women. pic.twitter.com/lx0SoHTeWU— Anaya Khan (@AnayaNKhan) June 21, 2021
View Of Imran Khan On Women's Clothes And Rapes Is What's Wrong With Society
Thoughts as Khan espoused are deplorable even standalone, but take on aggressively dangerous meanings in a society like Pakistan that is already conservative about giving women freedom, independence, and right to choice. Reports quoting official figures state there are at least 11 rape cases reported each day in Pakistan, with only a measly percentage of accused being convicted.
Only last week, a rape case involving cleric Mufti Azizur Rehman sexually assaulting a young male student kicked up a firestorm in Pakistan after a video of the alleged assault went viral as per reports. Even as this crime - proving that none whatsoever link between rape and clothing - is fresh in public memory, Khan proceeded to make misogyny-rooted remarks and completely overlooked the plight of male survivors of sexual abuse.
When leaders willfully or ignorantly choose to be blind to reality or nuanced argument, can countries ever ensure safety for women and other oppressed communities?
Social media is outraged over Khan's remark. We rounded up some reactions:
Disappointing and frankly sickening to see PM Imran Khan repeat his victim blaming regarding reasons for sexual violence in Pakistan— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) June 20, 2021
Men are not “robots”, he says. If they see women in skimpy clothes, they will get “tempted” and some will resort to rape
Only 3 days after a child was raped by a cleric, Imran Khan chooses to blame "few clothes" worn by women for rape culture.— Ammar Ali Jan (@ammaralijan) June 21, 2021
Its not a slip of tongue. Such victim blaming is a consistent position held by IK since the motorway incident last year. Our PM is a rape apologist.
*video evidence of fully clothed minors being sexually assaulted by clerics exists*— bis (@itsokaybis) June 21, 2021
Imran Khan: if the women wear few clothes then men will commit sexual violence, they are not robots
Absolutely sick and tired of hearing Imran Khan blaming women and their clothes for rape when we all know that fully covered women get raped as well. Rape is only about power and control and not about lust.— Meph⚓ (@UnitedsFreak) June 21, 2021
Will guilty parties and potential abusers and rapists ever take cognisance of their crimes when the top leader refuses to hold them liable? When they are given a clean chit on the false pretext of unbounded, uncontrolled instinct? Will society ever stop mollycoddling its men out of responsibility for their actions? Is it not enough that women are bearing the brunt of shame attached to rape that they now have to take the onus of averting the crime too?
The blame is fully and only on perpetrators of rape and not survivors. So too must the burden of correcting this culture be on offenders; this can be achieved with conditioning and doing away with practices like dress-policing and victim-blaming, rather than men turning into robots.
Views expressed are the author's own.