Noor Mukadam, A victim of victim blaming

Victim blaming is now very normal in our patriarchal society and the most unfortunate fact is that many of our women are also supporters of this anti-women narrative.

Noor Mukadam, not only the victim of the heinous crime of murder but is also another in the list of people being ‘victim shamed’. The 20th July morning trembled the capital territory of Pakistan, Islamabad when the police recovered Noor’s dead body. Nonetheless, it wasn’t just the corpse but a badly injured lower body with a head thrown away like a ball with a room that was full of blood. When I think about the pain she must have suffered and the emotions she would have felt just before murder gives me shivers.

However, the real story begins few hours after the outbreak of the news of her murder. Social media was suddenly full of things about Noor, more rumours but fewer facts, more ‘victim blaming’ and less solidarity with the family.

This case has many interesting yet saddening factors. It has shocked the entire nation and has created again a sense of extreme fear and anxiety among women around the country. This case is again showing us the none empathetic side of our society where a woman is the cause and forcing factor for the crime that has happened with her. This case is also a test case for our law and enforcement agencies and the fragile justice system. Because it is the fight between Justice and money.

Noor Mukadam was the daughter of a former ambassador and naval officer while the accused Zahir Jaffar belongs to two powerful business groups, the Jaffar and Adamjee group from his paternal and maternal side respectively. Till now the police are working well to investigate the case but it happens with every such case that remains highlighted in media and trends on social media. Let’s see whether justice will prevail or not.

Noor’s heart-wrenching murder and many other such barbaric incidents prove that women are not safe in this country. Regardless of the fact that she is the mother of three children or a toddler, whether she is a housewife or a working woman, whether she is wearing jeans or the jilbab, simply she may get harassed, raped or even murdered anywhere anytime and ultimately she will be responsible in the eyes and mind of people rather being the victim.

Sadly our prime minister also believes that women clothes cause the growing rape case but in reality, rape is a crime

We know how our people responded to the motorway rape case that why she was out without a “man” at night but didn’t bother to ask why our roads are not safe for the mother of three even? Even the higher police authorities were doing ‘victim blaming’.

Zainab was murdered and raped and this sick mentality and the so-called religious people asked why the parents allowed her to go outside alone or didn’t keep the check. They were least concerned about the treatment and punishment for paedophiles.

Another woman was murdered by her husband and people were so cruel to blame the victim instead of demanding justice for her. The dead woman was not safe from men’s ‘victim-blaming’. They were blaming her of having illegal relations with another man, accusing her of being a disloyal wife.

Khadija was stabbed and her character was questioned. These are just a few real examples out of those thousands of violence against women and then victim-blaming in our country.

Noor Mukadam has faced all this mansplaining and victim-blaming even after her death. It is not something new but hurts us even more with every new case. No one can ever understand what kind of fear, depression and anxiety such statements and incidents give to women. While arguing about following Islam we forget what Islam really teaches us. Victim shaming or victim blaming is now very normal in our patriarchal society and the most unfortunate fact is that many of our women are also the supporters of this narrative of women shaming and victim-blaming, anti-liberalism in most cases.  Coming towards Noor case while reading the comments I saw and read very ridiculous comments of people and let me narrate a few of them;

  • “This is the result and punishment for the supporters of Mera Jisam meri marzi”
  • “This will ultimately happen with liberals.”
  • “Noor had illicit relations with criminal and she was there for Zina.”

Our society, each and every member, particularly men and elderly women have their own definitions of liberals, for this sector of society, they are those who say women shouldn’t be a part of the economic cycle, those who believe that women empowerment is a foreign-funded agenda, that a liberal is the one who wears jeans and shirts, belongs to a rich, bureaucratic or business families and have male friends which they believe must be having physical or sexual relations. This is such a strong mindset in our society that such brutalities like beheading are even unable to change.

In fact, no mature girl would ever be involved in the wrong relation, even if women were safe and free to move anywhere alone, they would never be in sexual contact with other men, every mature girl knows her boundaries.

If even it is true that Noor was a friend of Zahir, still the people doing her character assassination have no proof of “Zina” or any kind of sexual contact with the person. Our religion also demands the witness and evidence to declare an accused as a sinner. Our religion doesn’t allow even backbiting or character assassination.

Noor is believed to be liberal because she belongs to the upper class and her dressing as usual which is the topic of debate after every such incident, sadly our prime minister also believes that women clothes cause the growing rape case but in reality, rape is a crime and the county should be that safe for women that no one even dares to stare at women.

“Mera Jisma Meri Marzi” slogan is a reason for these barbarities and violence against women – isn’t it a rubbish excuse?

The harsh reality of this society is that we are bothered for our daughters only. Most parents wouldn’t let their daughters wear by choice because of society. We are allowed to go outside because of the men roaming outside. We are not allowed to work because of society. We are allowed to set our career goals by our choice, nevertheless, there are no such obstacles for our men.

“Mera Jisma Meri Marzi” slogan is a reason for these barbarities and violence against women – isn’t it a rubbish excuse? Because 95 per cent, I believe, don’t want to understand it as a matter of ego. And if Mukadam was a supporter of this slogan, was it a certificate to behead her?

When will the time come, when will we try to understand that we should not misuse Islam for our own justifications? When will the time come when we focus to the crimes? When will the time come when we will consider women a part of our system and come out of this gender discrimination and bashing? When will the patriarchy end?

Today the women of Pakistan is badly terrified. We are the victims of staring, groping and harassing on roads, in our institutes and everywhere, no matter what we are wearing. Men will horn while passing by us while we stand or walk while passing by our cars when we drive, why? Just to harass us. We are not allowed to go outside by our choice because if something happened to us, it will be considered our fault and we will be questioned why we were out? No matter if we are the victims.

We are the easiest target for character assassination? There are hundreds of rules for us from sitting to eating, from choosing filed to building careers? A lot more to say but my heart is just wrenching and I am thinking what the mother of Noor must be feeling when people are bashing her daughter even after her death. What the people will say to Allah on the day of judgement if Noor was not a “Zani”. How will they justify themselves as judges for the murder and her character assassination when she is not alive.

While writing this, I am still thinking about when will we behave as mature humans on such matters?

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