How I Was Slut-shamed By The Law Enforcement Of Pakistan Because I’m A Woman

How I Was Slut-shamed By The Law Enforcement Of Pakistan Because I’m A Woman

Earlier this year, I was struggling with pre-graduation blues. On some days, I would sit in my bed and cry all day, worrying about my lack of plans for my life after graduation. On others, I would be all excited to have finally come to the pivotal moment of my college life – graduation. Sometime during those days, I along with some of my friends decided to take a day trip to Islamabad, from Lahore. It was just like any other ‘hangout’ except that it was a whole day long. It was me and a few of my male friends. I had been going out with my guy friends all these years and I was so comfortable in their company that I did not for a second think that this trip was something that I should worry about. We all knew each other way too well and it was just like any other university hangout plans.

 

It was just a group of friends going to a different city to live these last few days together before graduation.

ho-mann-jahaan-friends
Source: The Vision Factory Films

I was thrilled. The absolute monotony that had become my life was going to be broken and all I could think about was how amazing it was going to be at the Monal as I had never been there before. The first half of the trip went amazing. We reached Islamabad, roamed around a bit, had dinner at Monal and then set off for our return to Lahore.

I actually felt refreshed and the thought of exams and graduation did not seem that horrendous. It was all good until we reached the toll plaza to exit Islamabad and enter the motorway. A policeman standing there waved my friend to stop the car. I was at the front passenger seat so I was a witness to all of this action, first hand. I just assumed that we were going above the speed-limit. However, when the police man arrived, instead of going to the driver seat, he signaled me to roll down my side of the car window. Confused, I obliged.

 

Yeh larkon kay sath kahan ja rai hain yeh,” was the first thing he said while looking at all of my friends.

Source: dawn.com
Source: dawn.com

I was completely dumbfounded, and began to retort at him with a “aap se matlab!” when two of my friends got out and took him to the side.  They came back after five minutes and instead of saying anything, immediately sped off the car. It was rather unusual for me. Upon my insistence, they told me that apparently the police man could have easily charged me under some Pakistan Penal Code section for vulgarity but now they had ‘settled the situation’ because he asked for five hundred rupees if we wanted him to stay silent, I had nothing to worry about.

What exactly was it that I was doing? Sitting in a car with some guy friends? How exactly does one categorize it as vulgar?

 

I felt humiliated for being born a woman, in that moment.

I stayed silent for quite some time as I had always thought that the laws introduced during worse times had been buried in history but apparently this was not the case.

Source: dawn.com
Source: dawn.com

What was worse was that on the pretext of some archaic law, the policeman was going to lace his pockets just because he could do that. I was told that he wasn’t in the least bit interested in what I was doing with boys in the car, he just needed some rishwat that he eventually did extract by capitalizing on my situation. My friends, scared for my safety, did not refuse and I just sat there cursing myself for being born a girl in Pakistan. The story, unfortunately, did not end here.

 

The same thing repeated when another rishwat-hungry policeman stopped us in Lahore, except that this time instead of me arguing with him, we just gave him a 500 rupee note and he shut up but not before he called me a slut.

slut-shaming
Source: thelibertarianrepublic.com

I just kept cursing myself and the entire fucked up chillar culture that I had encountered. Not only is this extortion a gross violation of these policemen’s duty, the laws that allow for suppression of women are doubly problematic. Like me, some of my friends were of the view that we should have stayed our ground instead of giving him the money because we were doing nothing wrong while some thought that it was actually a wise decision to just get the whole matter solved as quickly and quietly as possible, since a girl (that would be me, unfortunately) was with them and they couldn’t risk having phone calls made to all of our parents asking to come down to the police station just because we were ‘hanging out together’.

As for me? The policemen could have easily lodged a case of vulgarity and/or adultery against me and then I would have to spend some time in a thanna and go through the legal ordeal to prove myself innocent just because we had pissed off a fricking chillar.

 

Cover Image Via: dawn.com



Yaar, newsletter join ker lo.

Latest Videos