After facing heavy international backlash for views on causes of rape in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan clarified his stance. In an interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour, Khan was asked about his previous comments that indicated victim-blaming for the crime of rape.
In the wake of the exponential rise in violence against women, Khan has received a lot of criticism for failing to take solid steps. On top of that, he sidelined the perils of women and blamed them for wearing shorter clothes which tempts men to commit this heinous act.
He was internationally labeled as a rape apologist after his oversimplification of femicide in Pakistan.
Imran Khan’s New Statement on Causes of Rape
Recently, the interviewer again tried to take PM’s views in which he denied blaming the victim. In fact, he called it “stupid” to blame a victim for getting raped. Khan acknowledged that it does not matter what women wear and only the rapist is to be blamed for his actions.
He added that “Purdah” (veil) was a metaphorical term in Islam and is not related to clothes. It has a wider meaning that applies to both men and women. The premier omitted this point in his last statement which led to criticism.
Imran Khan maintained that his previous comments were taken “out of context”.
Khan Compares Pakistan’s Rape Problem with the West
The interviewer also asked Khan if Islam was the reason, he was unable to deal with women issues strongly. The premier disagreed and responding that Islam provided dignity and respect to women. He also mentioned that while traveling all over the world, he noted that Muslim countries treated women comparatively more respect than non-Muslim ones.
Imran Khan added that in comparison to the west, Pakistan received rather “odd cases” of rape while admitting that the issue was rampant all over the world. He further said that even after an alarming increase in reports of violence against women in Pakistan, the number of cases was “minuscule” as compared to most non-Muslim countries.
The premier continued to praise Pakistan by saying that he has seen this society give more dignity and respect to women. He linked the issues of sexual violence to “cultural problems” and said that they can be resolved by cultural evolution.
Reaction from The Public
Social media users were glad to see that Khan improved on his previous controversial remarks about causes of rape. They felt like their efforts of calling out Khan have been rewarded. The women from Pakistan and all over the world raised loud voices for the safety of women after the leader blamed short clothes for rape. The strong campaign that women had led against the delusional mentality of some men, may have forced Khan to change his stance.
Even Khan’s ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith condemned his past views. Social media users have praised the combined efforts of women in bringing Imran Khan to admit that rape was indeed the fault of a rapist.
It’s important to note that it took international media backlash, tweets from Jemima, national backlash of all women, aurat march and rallies in different cities – a combined effort of women of the world for him to say that.— Zari has issues. (@PoltclCassandra) July 28, 2021
PM’s Previous Controversial Comments
While giving an interview to Jonathan Swan on HBO Axios last month, Khan came under heavy fire for his reaction to increasing rape cases in Pakistan. He accused women of vulgarity and said that it triggered temptation in men.
Furthermore, he said that it was common sense that men would get sexually aroused if women were wearing shorter clothes unless they were robots. The confused interviewer again asked him if this would provoke any man to commit sexual violence. In response, Khan said that it depends on what kind of society he lives in; if he hasn’t seen anything like that in real life, it would have an impact on him.
However, these remarks were ethically and factually incorrect, which he may have tried to clarify in the latest interview. Instead of “odd cases” as Khan said, Pakistan has been suffering from really sad cases of rape that were not related to clothes in any way.