Not All Men But 1 In 3 Women

Not All Men But 1 In 3 Women
One in three women face sexual assault at the hands of their partner or non-partner according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Yet in these gruesome circumstances, men are more concerned with how they do not fit the equation of ‘all men’. In this fight to justify their own standing, women experience is once again overshadowed.

Many argue that they themselves are not personally a part of the problem. However, just that argument alone becomes a part of the problem at hand. With the harrowing statistics present before us and multiple rape cases being reported, not to mention the ones that go unreported, there seems to be less focus on the fear it spreads among women than on men not wanting to be a part of the conversation.

By assuming they are not part of the fear instilled in women, men fail to recognise the burden women carry on a regular basis. Patriarchy being prevalent in societies like Pakistan in particular have led to womanhood being defined through what is appropriate in the eyes of men.

We cage women till there is nothing left of them. We allow perpetrators of violence to roam free. Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her own brother in 2016, six years later, he roams free, acquitted by the courts. As a repercussion, generations of young girls will live in fear of their own families being capable of causing them pain.

The reason men must partake in this conversation and understand the repercussions of them blatantly defending themselves with baseless arguments is to create a space for women where they can feel safe. Not all men have committed crimes but it is a societal culture that has allowed for us to give leeway to men for being too aggressive or violent.

Using phrases like ‘All Men’ does not create the harm men fear it does, the harm associated with the term already exists. Women are already scared, society has been cultivated in such a way.

The other problem lies in our desensitization to cases of harassment or assault. We think of the extreme to be a ‘valid’ case and other scenarios to go by as a blessing that it didn't escalate into something worse. Numbing ourselves to the problem does not only normalize women to feel they will be subjected to such experiences once in their life but also sends a message to impressionable men that they have authority to do so or that there is no repercussion to their actions.
Using phrases like ‘All Men’ does not create the harm men fear it does, the harm associated with the term already exists. Women are already scared, society has been cultivated in such a way.

While it may be considered a stretch of an argument, the reality is this is the message being sent out there. This goes hand in hand with our weak legislation when it comes to protecting women. The law exists to set precedent to push perpetrators of violence away from committing these crimes as they will be met with adequate punishment for their wrong doings. But the law also exists to give citizens the confidence that they will receive justice for what has happened to them.

Sadly, with our poor rates on women actually reporting their cases and lack of justice granted to victims who have brought upon their cases, the fundamental flaws in our system only push us into a darker future for our women.

Many also jump to conclusions of how it is a woman's responsibility to carry herself a certain way. This is backed by the heavy cultural impact our society has, and unfortunately it seems to only apply to our women. Movements like the Aurat March will be deemed as foregin propaganda and a threat to our religion, but the ongoing femicide won't raise any eyebrows. Slogans of Mera Jism Meri Marzi will be seen as problematic but the right to bodily autonomy will be stripped off a woman the second a man cannot contain his anger. Questions on what she was wearing at the time of her assault will be brought into proceedings but why did it matter when a seven year old Zainab Ansari was assaulted and murdered.

Perhaps not ‘all men’, but it is the men who on July 16, 2022 decided to sexually assault a woman at Fort Munro. It is the men who gang-raped a mother of two on a train in June of 2022. Not all men but thousands of women who will feel unsafe for ages after trends on tiktok like Burqa nahi pehna tou kafin pehna deya (she didn’t wear a burqa so I killed her).

If not all men who perpetuate these crimes, it is 14,000 raped women who had to suffer them. It is every woman who lives out in fear of becoming just another number on this statistic which does not seem to budge.