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Sociological analysis on role of media on rape crime in Pakistan

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In the era of globalisation, media has been globally recognised the most effective mode of digital communication which does not merely bring people together, but also extends enhanced interconnectivity among world countries. Media executes its paramount role in receiving and disseminating information in socio-economic, political, religious and all human-related domains to revamps knowledge and understanding of people. This sort of contribution of media successfully uplifts information, shapes dominant perception and more importantly shrinks this global world into a global village.
According to the sociological paradigm, media is one of the paramount social institutions of society which executes its significant role. It contributes to developing socialization and successfully brings a considerable transformation in the attitude and behaviour of people. To think in a broader context, this sort of contribution of media explicitly demonstrates a pushing factor, where people remain in a constant state of collective consciousness.
Sociologically speaking, in the domain of crime, rape is globally considered inhumane, terrible, and the most heinous crime which is the sad story of every society of this world. Historically speaking, the most ubiquitous notion that rape is a myth (an individual wish to be raped) dominantly remained a part of society in previous decades. It was the time when the most narrow-minded resistance against rape acceptance was the social perception of people. I share one of the case studies that happened in the US. A woman was working under the supervision of a judge in the Supreme Court of the US in 1997. She was sexually assaulted by her supervisor. Later, she reported her rape case and raised her voice to receive public support but sadly, people rebuffed to own her claim. They believe the man who holds a highly privileged position can never do this act. In the same year, the intervention of media which highlighted her case and extended considerable coverage. Resultantly, she was given justice and the man was considered a rapist. Moreover, this development successfully modified the attitude and behaviour of people against woman’s claim. (a rape victim).
Media leaves a huge impact on its audience and public and private institutions which are responsible and accountable to deal with social issues and problems transparently. Undoubtedly, it can be said that the media acts as a watchdog for government and non-government organizations. Moreover, media as a social institution and its multiple outlets have often been utilised by government and non-government organisations to deliver its policy-framework and approach to the huge population of the world.
In this context, International organizations; World Health Organisation, and United Nations Organisation often update and share an extremely gloomy picture on rape statistics which prevails among the world countries. Simultaneously, it put forward the mechanism of remedy that how to curb the expedited pace of sexual assault and rape crime in the world. And this sort of activity cannot be possible without extending the role of media.
As far as the Pakistan case is concerned the media gradually reaches up its effective role in terms of booming understanding and educating to people through receiving and disseminating awareness. Media extends its wider range of coverage and highlights important issues that become responsible ingredients in provoking disorder and chaos in society. Rape is also considered a heinous crime in Pakistan and it prevails as well.
Recently, an unfavorable growth in rape cases has been observed in Pakistan. According to statistics of Police, Law, Justice Commission of Pakistan, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Women’s Foundation, and Provincial welfare agencies that 11 rape cases are reported every single day, and more than 22,000 rape cases are reported in the last six years. However, only 77 accused have been convicted which hardly consists of 0.3%.
As far as rape crime is concerned, Pakistan has been plagued under the ambit of the worst social narrative and misunderstood assumption on “Rape Myth Mantra” for decades. An individual wishes to be raped and deserve it because of multiple factors, where her physical appearance including her dressing code comes first. This sort of social narrative and deceit approach of people have been encouraged culprits for decades and also ruthlessly shattered the already poor rape conviction ratio which meets hardly 3%. Because most rape survivals avoided reporting rape cases to police to seek justice. Moreover, the sociological paradigm says that when a person becomes a rape victim, he/she has been realized badly by a society that he has lost all social and moral grounds in society. Rape survival often confronts symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and badly carries stress, anxiety, depression and persistent mental trauma to the rest of her life.
In this regard, the media leaves no stone unturned in providing enormous coverage and reports to all sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape cases across the country. The main purpose to educate and sensitize people against the negative consequences of it. Media has extended highly considerable and multifaceted impacts in establishing a massive shift in the attitude and behavior of people and all responsible institutions include Police, Criminal justice system, Judiciary, and Legislation which often deal with this sort of crime. The sanctity, integrity, and significant impact of media have been recently observed on lamented rape cases. A woman was forcibly raped by two culprits in front of her children on Lahore motorway (gang-rape) when her vehicle ran out of fuel. Another inhumane, terrible, and heinous rape incident happened in Kashmore, Sindh, where a woman and her 5 years daughter were raped by rapists.
Later, due to enormous coverage of media and its outlets including social media, these inhuman acts become a major cause of a massive uproar and outrage in Pakistan. People started long-march and protests across the country and demanded exemplary punishment to culprits. This sort of combination of media and public pressure was categorically extended to the government to come up with more advanced and result-oriented legislation against rape crime.
Resultantly, propitious debates, discussions, and policy recommendations have not been merely observed by ministers on the floor of the National Assembly, but also the President of Pakistan approved tough new anti-rape law 2020. It includes establishing special courts to expedite trials, chemical castration, inhibited the disclosure of the identity of rape victims, and rape crisis cells for medical examination which will be helpful for the investigation process.
To wrap up this whole discussion under the domain of the Sociologically paradigm, media is the powerful social institution, cornerstone, and reflection of society as well. Media is not free from black sheep and the loopholes are no exception here. But, a sense and a space of improvement are always pervasive. Media needs to make great strides in the development of dogged determination, dedication, commitment, and bring transparency except for ill-gotten gains while extending its coverage to all sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape cases.