What were you doing in an empty room?
what were you doing in an empty room, the first question to ask a rape victim?
how true is it that it takes a considerable ton of knowledge for one to know just how ignorant he is.
A vast majority of people would attest to the fact that they have a bit of problem with their construction of sentences in English
language, especially when it comes to the proper usage and placement of modifiers,
but none would ever agree to the fact that he knows not where to place and when to ask those accusing questions whose
functions are only to impute guilt and blame to a rape victim, albeit, it might not be intentional but responsive;
Neither of the two does not go down to utter ignorance.
Recently, the wrath of social media warriors was provoked by the infuriating news of 7 year old Zaynab who was raped and
murdered in the Pakistani city of Kasur; but alas, the supposed embitterment stirred by the news only prompted and provoked the
unruly comments of e-warriors that were uncalled for.
A particular comment that caught my attention was that of a ’warrior’ asking what the he** the parents were doing that they left
their seven year old to the claws of the fast devouring monster, rape, as if they had thrown Zaynab at an Institute of rape and
even filled a form for her.
Another ’warrior’ lamented how the innocent girl had lost her values and innocence, rather than how a man had stolen her
innocence and.. well, her values still glitter untouched.
Screening their comments, it can be understood that the ’gentlemen’ were infuriated by the news, but were those the first
questions to ask? how would those have helped in soothing the bereaved parents?
We will all agree to the fact that their approaches weren’t the most perfect ones, but are we all not guilty of the same?
Do we not ask a rape victim first if she was alone in the room with her rapist, do we not ask if she had a full jilbaab on when she
was raped or had she only a head scarf on her? Do we not say, when we see women who are dressed, yet unclad that if they
were to be raped, they would put the blame on men rather than themselves, as if justifying the dehumanizing act.
Do we not say those as if the fact that the woman was unclad would lessen the retribution for rape when the rapist faces Allah?
All these point to a common thing; we are empowering the rapists by ensuring that the first thing we do when we hear a story is to
rummage the story and pick on a point where the victim is to blame.
And in the case of a 7-year old whose heart is too fragile to embody the blames, we immediately turn to her parents and in the
process forget about the rapist.
The intrinsic effect of those responsive comments is that the victim sees things from an angle which sincerely is the angle from
which we can see the most vivid pictures.
What the victim sees? You are being sympathetic towards the rapist and not her since you keep blaming her for attracting and
not doing things to repel the rapist. It sounds to them like, “poor man, had the foolish girl left the room, he wouldn’t have been the one everyone is blaming now, see how she got the man suffering due to her own stupidity”
And that is the fear most rape victims have that makes them keep to themselves. I tell you, like I once mentioned in a poem of
many a lady has been a victim of rape, and ’lady’ saves neither your daughter nor sister.
While we say this though, it might be necessary to state that no one says that it is wrong to try to correct the mistake she made,
but definitely not as an immediate response to the news. And, from what I’ve read, it might even be unnecessary to ever talk
about her mistakes. This is because rape Victims have a natural tendency to look for every possible way to blame themselves,
and that is the main reason why the effect lasts for a long time. As long as she feels she should have done something to prevent
the rape each time something triggers memories of it, she would keep on being consumed by its effect.
So, you think you’re still the best person to point to her mistakes for her? she knows a billion and would never repeat them. yours
is to comfort her and not point to her mistakes, except of course, when you realize she doesn’t seem to believe she did anything
wrong despite having had only a headscarf on her, or being alone with a non-Mahram. But, while we are at that, we should also
understand that it is better not to link those mistakes directly to the rape, but rather, treat them separately from the angle of going
against Allah’s orders. You can simply tell her being alone with a man was a sin, but must you tell her that was why she got
raped? Must you expose her to these scars once again?
If you disagree, and are an exponent of the belief that she has to be repeatedly lectured to understand that those mistakes were
the cause of the rape, then I tell you, that if
you don’t know of a chaste
sister who has been raped, of one whose dressing aligns with the Islamic teachings, well I do, and lots of us do. Who is talking of
a jilbaabite? mtcheeeeew, niqabite is what we are saying here. but you’ll never know. why? because these sisters have a fear
your responses would go thus: “were you in your jilbaab?” yes. “Niqaab?” yes. “ehhhm, were you guys like close, like you do
chat?” no. “but you weren’t dumb when he entered the room, you weren’t disabled, you should have left immediately”
And wouldn’t it?
Also, we must understand that while it is compulsory that we instill and inculcate moral values in our daughters, it Is wrong,
totally wrong to rear them with that feeling that by simply covering up properly and adhering strictly to Allah’s laws, they would be
free from all sort of harms. what assures you of that? if it were so, then there would be no need for a Mahram when traveling, as
long as the sister is covered in jilbaab.
We must understand that if they are reared with this sort of thinking, they might never recover from a rape as their nights would
continue to be haunted and their lives, marred by the belief. They would keep rummaging their memories for that point where they
sinned to have deserved that. They would continue to live with that feeling that the rape was all their fault even if they can’t point
to a cogent mistake they made.
And if it were right to teach them such, then, we go to the Hadith which states that those of human beings befallen by the most
severe of trials are the Prophets. Are they the most prominent sinners?
If we are the most vehement propagators of traveling with a Mahram, then it doesn’t align with our ideas that we search for holes
to pick on in rape stories.
yes, we can learn and warn others from a victim’s mistake, but if we really hope to see her get back to living a normal life, we
must not make picking on her own mistakes the first thing we do when we listen to her.
The feeling it wrenches in her is that she deserved to be raped because of the mistake. Does anyone deserve to be raped?
Well, I think it is time we stopped thinking of rape as solely being the victim’s fault, meanwhile, she deserves little to nothing of the
None of us would plead guilty to the charge, but are we not really guilty of it?
how many parents teach their boys how bad and brazen it is to rape? they only teach the girls how to dress chastely and not stay
out late to avoid being raped. it shows that we believe that rape is all about the girl, if she dresses chastely and adheres strictly to
Allah’s laws, she doesn’t get raped, but if she doesn’t, she forces an ’innocent’ boy into a precarious situation where the only way
out is to rape her. Meanwhile, we boys should be taught simultaneously not to rape.
A good example: A Muslim is ordered to lower his gaze while the Muslimah is ordered to dress chastely (simultaneously), but if
the Muslimah fails to comply, does that then permits the man to look at her lustrously? and if he does that, does the severity of
his punishment abate because the lady failed to dress appropriately?
If it is so, then we have a long way to go with our kids, for what but sound knowledge of Islam instills in them that righteousness
that suppresses the natural will to rape?
Someone would say it is not natural, but this article is for theists. Next person!
Abdurrahman Alhasan Adedokun.
(Lan Rey Hasan)
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