After an Indian Minister Says ‘Sometimes Rape is Right’, #MenAgainstRape Stand Up in Pakistan

Photo Credit: Philipp Engelhorn

Photo Credit: Philipp Engelhorn

Is it easier to condemn rape when it happens elsewhere? How about when it happens right across the border? The #MenAgainstRape hashtag started trending again, this time in Pakistan, reportedly after Babulal Gaur, an Indian state minister, said this about rape, ‘sometimes it is right, sometimes it's wrong’.

Hundreds of young men from Pakistan started standing up to join the hashtag campaign. A Pakistani Twitter user whose handle baysharam translates to shameless joined in saying:

When the 2012 Delhi gang-rape story hit the news wires, hundreds of tweets emerged from Pakistan condemning the barbaric incident. Some spoke about India's rape problems while others looked at the rising instances of rape in the South Asian region. It was a story so horrific that it garnered world media attention for weeks and since then an increase in coverage of rapes in India is evident.

Indian Blogger Krshna Prashant took the myths regarding rape head on, in her scathingly satirical piece:

He wobbled in at 11pm. She did the dishes quietly, her heart racing as she heard his footsteps get closer. Tears stung her eyes as he put his hands on her waist. She could smell the whiskey on his breath. He tugged at her pallu, letting it fall to the ground. Not today, she begged. Her back ached and her head felt like it was going to explode.

He grabbed her hair and pulled her to their bedroom. She scrambled to find her pallu as they walked past the hall. Their son stared in horror. He shut the door behind him and slapped her. He told her to stay quiet and take her clothes off. She did as she was told.

What do you mean my son raped his wife. There is no such thing.

This, is a refreshing and powerful stance against violence, however a closer look at the tweets reveals many of the myths Prashant addressed.

Here's some rape apologia at display from South Asia:

They wear seductive clothes and incite people and end up getting raped. It is not rape, it is sensual sex.

Some used the hashtag to suggest sexual violence as a punishment for rape:

Some had more nuanced views.

While many feel that this trend is a step forward as men stand up against violence, others have questioned the effectiveness of a Twitter trend on real life circumstances. Will it change the way rape survivors are seen in the society? Will it stop rapes from happening? Will it provoke law enforcement agencies into action? These are some of the questions being raised. Whether you are on the cynical side of social media trends or an enthusiast, discussions like #menagainstrape provide a small window in to young minds and their perceptions about sexual violence. 


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