From Saudi Arabia to Turkey, we’re watching the consequences of what happens when you do not control Pakistani men

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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In these past two weeks we watched along with the rest of the world in horror as Pakistani men demonstrated how lethally they act towards all women, whether she is a Muslim or not. In March, the entire Muslim community within Pakistan and around the world was horrified by the unhinged behavior of Pakistani men when during the holy month of Ramazan in April, they began heckling abuse at PML-N politician Maryam Aurangzeb at the most holiest places for Muslims: the Holy Kaabah in Makkah.

Then if this wasn’t enough, another American woman caused international rage when she went on Twitter to reveal that she had known a Pakistani man since her childhood days, and was dating him but his parents were against the match since she was a black woman. When she had gotten pregnant, the man had inserted abortion pills inside her which caused her severe pain and nausea, which eventually killed her baby by the time it was going to be delivered. And all the time the man was acting like the good partner and friend in front of their family and friends.

And now this time, it was Turkish women who had to suffer from the cruelty and abusive behavior of Pakistani men. Last week, videos flooded on social media of Pakistani men secretly making videos of Turkish women on the streets when they are wearing sleevless tops or shorts. Because of the outrage, the men responsible were arrested and deported by the Turkish police, and on Twitter hashtags like #banpakistanis and #pakistaniperverts began trending throughout Turkey as women demanded that Pakistanis are banned from visiting the country after such a horrendous incident.

This pattern of Pakistani men invading a woman’s privacy, making closeup videos and pictures and harming them during their pregnancy can all be rooted down to our country and its broken legal system and the way it routinely let’s harassers and abusers off the hook. Is any Pakistani women watching these atrocities horrified by these actions? Nope, because we have been dealing with this our entire lives. How many times have we been slut shamed as children for wearing a sleeveless top or for laughing too loud publicly because it might catch the attention of some pervert? How many stories have we heard of women beaten up or harassed by men, and making consistent efforts to go to court to get him jailed, but instead they are blamed for their own actions?

Our culture is deeply women hating to the core, and all aspects of it refrain from encouraging women and men to respect each other but champion an abusive patriarchal system every day. From the prime minister like Imran Khan who openly blamed women for wearing lose clothes around men who will rape them since they are not robots and removes the Domestic Violence Bill because it is considered “un-Islamic”. Or the media which keeps churning out stories that encourage women to be patient and loving towards abusive husbands and consistently encourages morning show hosts to hold more programs about teaching girls to use creams to make their skins lighter. And then desi families which would rather save up to spend on a daughter’s marriage rather than her education, and toxic concepts like “rishta culture’ and “honor killing” still prevail. Because to us, women are nothing but inanimate objects who are open to molding themselves according to the perception and opinions of others, rather than respect their own independence.

And now the monster that Pakistani society have kept ignoring despite consistent red flags raised by Pakistani women has been unleased worldwide. As the rest of the Pakistani community watches in complete horror at men who are raising havoc at the holiest places in the world, and even in other countries, Pakistani feminists can only say that we told you so. And now we all suffer because our leaders in public platforms refused to take the gender crisis within our country seriously.