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How Many Rapes Per Day In Karachi?

Posted on September 16, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Women
51 Comments
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Adil Najam

Sometimes you see a headline that just stops you in your tracks and makes you wonder. I saw such a headline in The Daily Times today: “At Least 100 Rapes in Karachi a Day.

Art by Abro: Violence againat Women

The story is reporting a statement by Dr. Zulfiqar Siyal, Additional Police Surgeon (APS), Karachi, where he claims that on average, 100 women are raped in Karachi every 24 hours. It takes a little careful reading to realize that he is not saying that this is the number of actual rapes per day, but that he thinks that it must at least be this much and possibly more. In fact, he himself points out that the number of reported rapes are much less, because of the social stigma of reporting such a crime.



I have no reason to is agree with the statement from the APS. Indeed, I have plenty of reason to believe that he is right and that the real number of rapes must be much more. But I did want to make sure that readers interpret the news report properly. Excerpts from the report.

On average, 100 women are raped every 24 hours in Karachi city alone, and a majority of them are working women, said Additional Police Surgeon (APS) Dr Zulfiqar Siyal. A majority of them are working class women or those working as domestic help and are mostly up to 20 years old, he said.

“I am saying with full authority that such a large number of rape cases happen in the city,” he told Daily Times on the sidelines of a discussion on sexual violence organised by the Aurat Foundation on Monday. “But very few rape survivors have the courage to come forward in search of justice.” They do not come forward because of the lengthy medical process and delayed justice system in Pakistan. Only 0.5 percent of cases are reported and the majority (99.5 percent) of survivors prefers to stay silent.

Part of the problem is that there are 11 medico-legal sections in three major public sector hospitals but there are only six women medico-legal officers (WMLOs) for the 18 million population of Karachi. “I am sure that there are more than 100 rape cases every day … but you can gauge how many are reported from the official data which says that during the last eight months (between January to August 2008) a total of 197 cases were reported,” Dr Siyal said. The WMLOs also face a lot of problems, he said. Karachi is also short on hospitals where rape survivors can go through the entire medical examination. “It isn’t just medical facilities but you won’t find a single women police officer (WPO) in any of the total 101 police stations of the city,” he said.

I think that even more important than the number he gives is the point he makes about the majority of rape victims in Karachi being working class women or those working as domestic help, 20 years old or younger. My own sense would be that the situation is not much different anywhere else in Pakistan, whether in terms of the numbers or in terms of who the victims are. I am very glad that the APS has spoken up. I wish more people would, including more victims. However, I can understand all the reasons why many victims do not. As in many societies, this crime persists because the social stigma is attached to the victim even more than the culprit. It is but one aspect of the deeper scars of violence against women.

As with so many other crimes against humanity, rape this a crime that thrives on silence. Not only the silence of the victim, but the silence of society. When, as in this case, the silence is broken, one feels empowered. One hopes that others will break the silence too.


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Also see:

Silent Against Domestic Violence
Violence Against Women: Breaking Down Walls
Being Woman in Pakistan
Celebrating the Lives of Pakistani Women
Changing Rape Laws in Pakistan

51 comments posted

Comment Pages: [7] 6 5 4 3 2 1 » Show All

  1. April 19th, 2011 3:55 am

    big issue to deal ?

  2. mauricio says:
    March 19th, 2009 9:49 pm

    what kind of changes are going to take place?and is the goverment going to enforce the new laws?is religion going to play a role with the new anti-rape laws and if so,isnt it time someone stopped living in the past, not every problem is solved by reading the bible or the koran!

  3. mumraiz jokhio says:
    March 19th, 2009 10:49 am

    Dr. Zulfiqar is absolutely right and i have also gone through many newspapers and articles, infact i have also met those girls and women.Its not only karachi but whole pakistan and i think that Islamic punishment can only stop these violent acts which is not being implemented in pakistan.

Comment Pages: [7] 6 5 4 3 2 1 » Show All



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