I didn’t know what to expect today as I picked up my phone. I had received a harrowing message from a girl last night who had asked for my number. She didn’t say much. All her message said, that she needed to talk, and didn’t have anywhere to go to. I am not in the habit of giving out my number. But, I had a few mutual friends with the person in question, so sent her my public number. I told her to call me tomorrow morning.
My phone beeped, and I received a text from her. She asked if it was okay to call. I replied that it was. The next second the phone rang. I picked up. She was crying. She said Salam. I replied. She said she didn’t know who to turn to. I asked what happened. She told me her story.
She liked a guy in her college. She was from Islamabad. They had been together for over two years now. It was an ordinary day, they went out on a date. She said this was nothing unusual and that she would go out with him regularly. She said that she was quite intimate with him. They hadn’t had sex, but they would make out and be intimate. She said she always felt safe with him. She trusted him and he would always be respectful of her.
They drove around until they decided to go to her home. They would do so often when either of their families weren’t at home or were out of town. They sat down and started watching a movie. They also started being intimate. It was in her bedroom. However, what was a normal date night for her was about to turn into one of the worst days of her life. It was going to be a day that would haunt her. Shatter her. Destroy her.
The guy told her that he wanted to have sex, and she said no. He insisted. She said NO. He insisted again. She said NO again. But, he didn’t listen. He didn’t listen. He didn’t stop. She was left in tears. Asking him what he had done. The guy she said expressed no remorse. She felt hurt and betrayed. She told him to leave and threw him out. She sat their in her own bedroom, trying to understand what had happened.
She completely broke down on the phone at this point. It is painful. The betrayal. The lost of trust. The rape? She had been raped in her own bedroom. The place she spends most of her day and night in. She would have to sleep in the bed she was raped in. She also didn’t have anywhere to go. No one to turn to.
She couldn’t face her family. She couldn’t tell the police. Why were you with him in the first place? Why did you invite him into your room would be what everyone would ask. She chose to stay quiet. I insisted that she go to the authorities. Get a medical check up done. She said she didn’t want to suffer more humiliation than she already had. She said her father would be devastated. She would carry this burden, but wouldn’t put it on her family. There were no witnesses and it was the word of one person against the other. She has to see him every day at college. She can’t say anything.
The injustice of this is absurd. Why can someone who does that walk away. She wanted me to write about her story. So that women and girls everywhere would know that they need to be careful about safe spaces and trust. She said that that was the only good thing she could get out of this. She could save others from suffering her fate. She also wanted me to tell parents, that they should give their daughters the space to tell them whatever wherever and not be afraid. If she was certain her parents wouldn’t punish her for being the victim and punish the criminal she would be willing to press charges against the rapist.
The problem here is that when young people engage in relationships and are intimate they hide it from everyone. Thus, those who seek to oppress and to take advantage can do it with impunity. So, I will ask everyone to be careful. I know it’s wrong to tell women to not get raped, it is not their fault and that is certainly not what I am saying. What I am saying is be safe, and be careful. Monsters build trust and prey on it to get what the want. We also need comprehensive review on police practices and how best to deal with women without them feeling any indignation for being victims of such a heinous crime.