Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has triggered a backlash after blaming surging rapes cases in the country on women's choice of dress.
Appearing in a weekend interview on live television, Khan acknowledged that incidents of rape of women had “actually very rapidly increased in society,” suggesting this was the consequence in any society where “vulgarity is on the rise,” AFP cites him as saying.
The former international cricketer and captain of Pakistan's national cricket team advised women to cover up to prevent temptation.
Referencing a term describing modest dress or the segregation of the sexes, he went on to say:
“This entire concept of purdah is to avoid temptation, not everyone has the willpower to avoid it."
His words prompted hundreds to sign a statement that circulated online on Wednesday denouncing his “factually incorrect, insensitive, and dangerous” comments.
“Fault rests solely with the rapist and the system that enables the rapist, including a culture fostered by statements such as those made by (Khan),” the statement reads.
♀️ HRCP is appalled by PM @ImranKhanPTI's recent remarks linking the incidence of rape to 'obscenity' and suggesting that 'purdah' would contain the problem. This is unacceptable behaviour on the part of a public leader. pic.twitter.com/5jeH5IG8uJ— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) April 6, 2021
A similarly strong-worded response came from The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
“Not only does this betray a baffling ignorance of where, why and how rape occurs, but it also lays the blame on rape survivors, who, as the government must know, can range from young children to victims of honour crimes,” it said.
The prime minister’s words also irked the Twitterverse, despite some comments suggesting the politician had a "valid point."
He has a valid point— The Brain (@Pinkys_Brain) April 7, 2021
There is a connection. Why are we denying reality?— Ted Jasper (@TedJasper2) April 7, 2021
Many used social media to deplore the “excuse for rape” that was being offered by Khan.
Dude it's the responsibility of men not to touch a woman w/o her permission— Based cooomunist (@BCooomunist) April 7, 2021
It's incredibly f ed up that just because men feel something they just do it
And it should never be an excuse for r@pe
Not a surprise it’s Pakistan .. where women are treated like dirt , yet we still send them out hard earned tax dollars 🤬— Mary (@Cubsmom61) April 7, 2021
Someone walks down the street completely naked, and someone else goes, “Well, what choice do I have? I obviously HAVE to rape that person now! There’s nothing I can do to stop myself from raping that person!! In fact, they’re naked, so it’s not even rape! I literally HAVE to!!!”— YellowÐogeÐemocrat (@DuendeSaudade) April 7, 2021
I suppose Pakistani women should begin wearing daggers under their clothes to stab would-be rapists. You know. Proper attire.— Neo Tolstoy (@TolstoyNeo) April 7, 2021
Men are the problem. Rape has always existed, no matter how much clothing women wore over the centuries. We teach girls to cover up and protect themselves, but we don't teach boys NOT TO RAPE! If you can't control yourselves around women (regardless of their attire) get help!— Quinn T. Sentially Masked for Life (@QuinnTSential) April 7, 2021