Women in Kashmir are silenced to shame, and the shame is not theirs, it’s yours

Representational Photo

“It was then when I felt a hand brushing my rear. I tried to ignore it, hoping it was accidental and started walking as fast as I could. But then, the hand boldly squeezed my behind. For that moment my entire existence crumbled under the weight of his hand. I wear a Burka. I could feel him rubbing his private organs against my back, all the way, I was helpless and it was worse when the person sitting in front of me realized it and instead of helping me, giggled and passed on an encouraging smile to the beast”


Men in closed cultures like South Asia enjoy an inherent position of being more accomplished, right from the birth, irrespective of the actual achievements they might or might not have made on social, or moral grounds.

Women are forced to accept the idea of, ‘supremacy of manhood’, irrespective of the many sane ad-junctions that must have been attached to the idea of ‘supremacy’ of any one person over the other.

In Kashmir, they are asked to imbibe the dictum, ‘czoppe gayi rope sinz’ (Silence is made of Silver), and accept that they are responsible for their honour and dignity. They are taught that the onus is on them to prevent rape, molestation and that the men are inherently belligerent and it is ‘in their nature’ to touch, grope or fondle a female if she is not very ‘careful’ with her dress, her way of speaking and her being feminine.

This has been internalized by women. They often think that they need to prevent being sexually assaulted or raped. If they are raped or assaulted, they blame themselves. They think of ways in which they could have prevented the attack on them. Maybe they should have not gone out, maybe they should have done this, or that, and maybe they should have ceased being women.

The society, our parents, our elders, with all their valuable advice, hence, teach women how to get molested, and yet remain silent. We have already found an alibi to exonerate the sexual predators of their depravity and granted an impunity to their sexual perversions, by making the victim responsible for whatever was inflicted upon her, and advising her to shut her mouth up to however she was exploited. What a shame!

All of this is a hideous cycle. The society while silencing the victim, knowingly or unknowingly encourages the decadence of the depraved. It gives them a hope that they thrive in such a spineless lot of humans that will nip every resentment and reaction to their hedonistic perversions.

The grotesque facade of the civilizations, like our own, lies unsheltered when there are people from among us, who instead of stopping such acts, encourage the perpetrator with the admiration of his castigation of the victim, blaming her, very shamelessly, for her way of carrying herself, for her dress, for the fact the she is out, travelling in a bus or for her speaking in a particular language. The mental faculties of such pundits can take extremely nadir plunges with some even blaming the ‘Burka’ of being ‘erotic’ in that it invoked a sense of mysteriousness in its occupant and ‘invited’ harassment and bother.

How often do we hear or see such obnoxious pundits actually standing against the criminal, verbally or being a little more brave and taking swing at him?

Is it that we have become immune to the idea of dignity and honor or is it that we lost the sense of association with other people and their emotions?

The answer is bitter, we have lost our shame.

We need to get over our extremely false interpretation of ‘Men being men’. Being a man, comes with a sense of self awareness and courtesy towards the other members of society, especially women. Being a man, isn’t a predicament of being an animal. A man, because he is sure of it, wouldn’t need to enforce his manhood upon others in form of his degeneracy. It is, hence, often evident that people who indulge in such debaucheries have had history of events that had made them question those very facets.

My dear perverts, groping a woman, touching at her back, rubbing yourselves against them, makes you no better than a filthy little insect which bites its own tail to feed itself and ends up dying a confusing death, your ego (if any) too, dies a confusing death when you impose your depravity.

The society needs to teach its young boys to respect women, their emotions and their bodies. They need to teach them to stop being predatory cavemen of the bygone era.

Healing is realizing that carrying “shame”, silently, prolongs the power your perpetrator had over you — and getting angry about that.
That anger is healing.


Khawar Khan Achakzai  is a writer and a social activist. By profession, he is a student of Medicine and practices in Kashmir. 

Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Free Press Kashmir.


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