Sadia*, the victim of a gang-rape, remained silent at first. Only when the video of her being gang-raped became widely circulated did she have the courage to approach the authorities. Four suspects have been arrested, with the trial underway. So far though, the video remains out there as she stays shut at home due to the stigma the act entails.
The above raises the bigger question about how many more such victims continue to suffer in silence. More importantly, it raises questions about cyber crime laws and their inability to protect the citizens’ basic rights.
According to the report, with the rise in access to technology across Pakistan, the video continues being shared via Bluetooth and Facebook, it is alleged. Needless to say, there is no pertinent legislation to prevent this from happening.
|The slight, young, elementary school teacher is now|
a prisoner in her own home ashamed to face the people of her village
She says she was on her way to the market to buy her sister's school uniform when she was bundled into a car and threatened with a gun. She claims the four men in the car took her to a house and raped her while filming the act on a mobile phone.
"After I begged and pleaded with them, they beat me even more," she says. "They said to me that if I don't listen to them and do what they want, they'll show everyone the video, put it up on the internet, that they would hurt my brothers and sister.
“A lot of people are watching this video for fun, they see it as something interesting.” She says, despairingly.
|The prisoners hung their heads and would not look at the reporter|
In such cases, the suspects are often tried under clauses from sexual harassment, defamation or criminal intimidation laws. Clauses on the violation of privacy from Electronic Transaction Ordinance (ETO) are also invoked.
In light of the above, it is surprising to note that a holistic cyber crime ordinance had been allowed to lapse four years ago before it could become the law. With a lack of political or social will power to combat this issue, a new law could be a long way off.
* Sadia is not her real name