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"Akeli aurat zemadari hai mauqa nahi!"

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

TW : Rape and Victim- Blaming.

I recently watched a Pakistani short film called "Ab Bus" starring Sanam Saeed, directed by Mohsin Talat. This film was released after the motorway gang rape and gives a strong message to people that women in Pakistan are not safe.

Sanam Saeed plays the role of Maya, a girl who receives a mysterious phone call and starts packing knives, guns, and tasers etc. Anyone watching this scene would automatically think that she was just informed about the location of a person she would like to hurt. It looks like she knows what she is doing and has done this before a few times. However, that is not the case. At the end of the film the fact that she is preparing to visit her father who had a heart attack is revealed. This very detail, the fact that she had to make all these preparations for a 380km journey alone shook me. This is the reality for every woman in Pakistan.

Another thing that caught my attention was that while preparing for this trip she paints her face dark and covers herself with shawls hoping that might make her less attractive and she might have less chances of becoming a victim. Does the way she dresses up really play a role in her becoming a victim to rape or harassment? That's not really the case though is it? Women get raped when wearing a burqa and also when wearing a t-shirt with pants. The issue is that this argument is vile. They take away the freedom of women to be themselves' without having to fear being punished for it by being blamed for their own rape.

~Mariam Khalid

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