“Hushing” others when it comes to talking about certain topics is not something new in Pakistan. It’s been that way for a long, long time. Whether it is women who have been victims of rape and harassment or whether its domestic disputes, fearing social standing and “log kya kahengay” (what other people will say) becomes the top priority for a lot of people. But why it becomes more important? Is the opinion of others really so important that we hide the injustice done to us? Is it so important that we kill ourselves in the process? Or decide to watch others kill themselves and say nothing? Who benefits the most from hushing and being hushed? The oppressor. The harasser. The enemy. The rapist. The “log” and maybe this system of silent crimes. It is the enemy who ultimately benefits from the silence. Silence is its saviour. Thanks to our system of fearing to talk against wrong, the oppressor confidently commits a crime and probably thinks this social stigma is such a blessing, right? I can literally do anything I want and get away with it because the victim will fear the questions he or she will have to face. It is the victim who will ultimately pay the price, never me.
Apart from social taboos there are also legal issues which discourage victims the most. The legal process is slow and never ending. Waiting for justice becomes a pain and ultimately there are no strong laws which make people fear the possible punishment they might face. Bribery and connections are enough to get out of these kind of situations. Because of the long, tiring and exhausting judicial system, many opt to just leave out legal procedures. Silence like this is often paired with “patience” to give it an Islamic touch, and giving more reasons for it to continue. But saving the enemy is not “patience.” In fact, this entire logic is wrong, patience is not being quiet while you are being attacked, and it is not being beaten while you are cherishing silence. Patience means being calm when a trouble comes your away. But that doesn’t mean that you separate yourself from the realm of justice and fairness. In many cases, victims are asked to stay shut because they are told it was probably a part of your “ill fate” and you should accept it. The people who talk about decree and the will of God should keep in mind that it is also God who has said to speak against evil. The minor act being to think bad about evil and the major ones being doing action against evil whether it is by words or actions. Speaking out against evil is difficult but thanks to certain social taboos constructed, it becomes even impossible for a lot of people, and not just women even men and children. In the end, silence helps the enemy and hence, giving them the confidence to continue the crime they do. They know they can get away it. No one will speak about it. Anyone who tries to will be “hushed” in the name of “shame.” The girl who was raped will fear her and her family’s reputation. The child who was molested never had the confidence to inform his parents.
The woman who faces domestic verbal abuse and violence fears the safety of her “marriage” therefore refuses to talk. The man who is harassed everyday by his boss fears losing his job and the quote ;unemployed” status so he keeps quiet at all kinds of personal attacks. The student who was harassed by her teacher fears getting failed so she decides to keep it a secret. Maybe one day, when we will be brave enough and wise enough as a society, we will understand that instead of being overwhelmed by unknown fears, speaking the truth and being a little bit brave can do wonders. In many ways. And even if we have to suffer a setback, there will be many like us who will be, hopefully, be saved.