As a young Karachite girl in her early twenties I remember how worried my mother used to be whenever I drove late in the evenings. My Father had given me immense confidence and independence when I was growing up. I could drive alone as soon as I turned 18 and had my license. He kept emphasizing; I ask you so many questions when you tell me you will be late in night, not because I don’t trust you just because I don’t trust this society, I don’t trust the system I raised you in, I trust you but not the environment. I want you to be safe; You can drive late but not alone, take your friends with you when you have to drive late and keep in contact with me when you reach or when you leave the destination. I never understood his logic that if he trusts me then why does he ask so many questions? Why did he keep calling me late in night to ask when would you be home? I am 20 and I can take care of myself! Today I understand why…

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It takes minutes and seconds for mishaps to happen. The latest two rape incidents in Pakistan tell me explicitly that fear is as familiar to us as air, it is just like any living element for us we live in, we inhale and exhale that fear being a woman. I remember one incident where my car was chased constantly till I entered Malir cantt(where I used to live) in Karachi. The questions are raised against you ‘You must be driving alone or why were you driving at 10 in the night? that’s why it happened’. If some woman is groped or harassed the problem starts from attire to assault. If a small girl is raped it’s her fault to walk outside her home and maybe her attire was so offensive that provoked the attacker! Really? So, we are not condemning the rape culture rather shaming the victim? And anyone thinking here that harassment has a correlation with how provocatively women dress should know that I am talking about a society where Women are moderately dressed. Still I feel whatever she wears doesn’t give anyone an invitation to harass or rape her, there is a word called ‘Consent’.

But does that consent exist in our society? She has a consent relationship and marriage. Silence and No are not consent! When you force her into marriage without her CONSENT you have give a man the right to rape her every single day. Because the problem often isn’t with interpreting consent but with cultural norms that encourage men to go ahead in its absence. There is a difference in understanding the consent but still feeling entitled to YES in any way because We live is a sad society of predators and rapists.

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