People nowadays are rushing to get to their destination, even if it means passing through a street full of rare, hidden, and harsh rolling stones. They only slow down when they are hit with stones. My catharsis is that these stones are criminals who slow people down or sometimes even steal their rights to achieve their goals.
Being a Pakistani, I have witnessed, stones aka criminals stopping people from achieving their dreams, a thousand times. With these stones shoving people down I have noticed a rapid increase in the crime rate of the country especially sexual violence.
According to a media report, only in 2021, 15,844 rape cases were reported in Punjab, 153 in Sindh, 92 in KPK, and one in AJK and over 14,000 women have been subjected to sexual violence in past four years. That’s why being a woman in this country gives me chills.
The public must already know these highlighted figures, and whenever they get hit or someone gets hit by these stones aka criminals around them, they speak, they shout, but all go to nought.
Every time someone went through sexual abuse, I notice two types of people: those who cursed the rapist and those who blamed the victim, here I want to name two most distressing incidents in Pakistan; the Zainab case and the Motorway case. Now here, I am not even talking about justice or injustice, my concern is what happens next. The circle keeps moving around, and people keep getting hit by these alleged stones.
Yes, stone after stone struck women, some on trains, and another struck a 10-year-old girl who was brutally murdered by the owner of a swimming pool. My question is if these cases are being reported, why are they not being stopped? This question is growing inside of me, making me impatient.
From where are these rapists coming?
Is there anyone giving birth to them? I believe that no one is born with the proclivity to perpetrate a crime, but there must be a few factors that motivate them to do this inhuman act. So I decided to investigate, and after a lengthy search and authoritative signatures, I was able to visit rapists at Lahore Central Jail, also known as Kot Lakhpat Jail. I made a list of five questions before visiting them. I planned to investigate the factors that shaped them into rapists.
I asked a friend to accompany me because I was not prepared to go alone. My friend and I got up early in the morning and drove to jail. They let us in after checking our ID cards and permission letters. But this wasn’t the only difficulty; we had to walk down a long road before arriving at another gate where they stopped us. Many people pay visits to relatives in jail as I walk down the street. They were either alleged confessed or under trial criminals; who knows, but the Punjab police confiscated them.
They asked for our reference letter and all other documents when we arrived at the gate. One of them made us sit in a room and took all our documents with him. After a few moments, he returned and asked us to accompany him. My heart was racing and I was excited all at the same time. So we got to a huge door that was impossible to open. Before entering the building, a police officer approached us and confiscated our phones and other devices, allowing us to pass through that massive door, which they then closed and locked from the outside. This time I became terrified and asked myself, “Are you sure you want to do this?” A female police officer searched our bodies and questioned us.
“What are you doing?” I asked myself again as we entered a hallway. We walked into an office where two highly respected and honourable police officers were sitting. Unauthorized individuals were not permitted to enter the door I had just passed through. As I waited for the formalities to be completed, many questions arose in my mind. I was excited and terrified, as well as curious. After all, the formalities were completed, they provided us with two police officers for security and a few important instructions. We exited the office, and they let us in through another large door that contained another small door. Behind that small door was a world I had never imagined existed.
In my life, I always perceived jails to be filthy, but what I witnessed was the polar opposite of my perception. I’d like to discuss some positive facts that many of us aren’t aware of. For alleged or under-trial criminals, this jail has a special hospital, a cafeteria, and many gardens.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, at least according to my one-sided experience? It will be a different experience if I speak from the perspective of a criminal who is living a miserable life in prison. However, thanks to the protection of two police officers, I was able to meet a clinical psychologist, which made me very happy because I am a clinical psychologist by profession, and we had a great conversation over tea.
After tea, the moment arrived for which I was there. They generate a list of 15 rapists who also committed other crimes. Some of them were still on trial but were imprisoned. At that point, a police officer informed me that they still had a motorway criminal case, but we couldn’t meet with him because he was imprisoned in a special prison. My friend and I sat at two different tables, prepared with paper and pens.
Many men reached out to me and sat in front of my chair. I introduced myself and explained the rules of confidentiality. I informed them that I was not a member of the media and explained why I was there. I told them that I understand that no one is a born criminal and that I am here to see some common facts so that we can educate our people who are living outside. As a responsible clinical psychologist, I will not reveal their stories and identical information here. But I’m going to write about the environmental and developmental factors that shaped them as rapists.
After finishing the interviews, my friend and I exited the prison and discussed the cases together. After going through the entire interview responses, I concluded how they became rapists. It is taboo to discuss such topics, but I want to bring them up so that we can prevent people from becoming rapists and save their lives.
Let’s get to the point: many of those criminals had experienced childhood sexual and physical abuse. They had a strained relationship with their parents. Because their parents used to beat and punish them, they became estranged from love, affection, and attachment. Another factor that I discovered was they were all watching porn videos on the internet, and some of them even bought a large LCD television with expensive speakers. They told me that they used to get together with their friends to drink alcohol, sniff or inject drugs, and watch blue movies.
At the end of the interview, I also observed the misogyny phenomenon among them. Many of them despised women and saw them as sexual objects. They saw their father despise and abuse their mothers. I observe and analyze that many other environmental factors shaped a person’s criminal behaviour, and we need to learn more about them.
As a Pakistani, I believe we should raise awareness among people so that they can better treat their children during their childhood, and I also believe that if we control environmental factors, we can control Pakistan’s crime rate.