Islamabad, October 13: A woman is raped in Pakistan in every two hours, according to a recent survey, highlighting the unsafe conditions for women in the country where cases of honour killing is also rampant.
The survey, which was conducted by Pakistani channel SAMAA TV’s Investigation Unit (SIU) based on the data collected from the Punjab province’s home department and Ministry of Human Rights, also found that while the rape cases of women spiked, the conviction rate remained an abysmal 0.2%.
“Newly collected and compiled data showed that as many as 21,900 women were reported to have been raped in the country from 2017 to 2021. This meant that around 12 women were raped across the country daily, or one woman every two hours,” said the survey.
According to the surveyors, these reported cases could be just the tip of the iceberg since societal stigma and fear of retributive violence prevent women from reporting the incidents to the authorities.
The data showed that in 2017, some 3,327 cases of rape were reported. This jumped to 4,456 cases in 2018, 4,573 cases in 2019, dipped to 4,478 cases in 2020 before rising to 5,169 cases in 2021, the report said.
In 2022, the media reported 305 rape cases across the country. As many as 57 cases were reported in May, June (91), July (86) and August (71).
Previously media reports have said that in Punjab, around 350 rape cases were reported from May 2022 to August 2022 but no data was available for the first four months of the year.
In 2022, as many as 1,301 cases of sexual violence against women were heard in 44 courts in Pakistan. The police filed charge sheets in 2,856 cases. But only 4 per cent of the cases went to trial, the report said.
The conviction rate in rape cases during this period remained at an abysmal 0.2%, the report highlighted.
In 2020, the United Nations Development Programme ranked Pakistan top among the 75 countries with an anti-women bias in courts.
In July this year, a report released by the World Economic Forum placed Pakistan as the second-worst country in terms of gender parity and put it at the 145th spot in a survey of 146 countries. The only worse performer than Pakistan was Afghanistan.
Pakistan (145th) has a population of 107 million women, and in 2022 has closed 56.4% of the gender gap that affects them.
This is the highest overall level of parity Pakistan has posted since the WEF report was launched.
Pakistan has also been urged by international bodies, including the United Nations, to take action against the rising cases of honour killings in the country.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan data, 1,957 incidents of honour killings were reported over the past four years, according to a report by the The Express Tribune.
The average rate of honour killing in women between 15-64 years was found to be 15 per million women per year. “This may be yet another dubious world distinction we have achieved”, the article in the newspaper commented. (PTI)