In a recent Axios interview, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan doubled down on his claim that victims are to blame for the crime of rape.
Khan first made problematic statements blaming victims in April 2021, when he stated that “vulgarity” and a lack of observance of purdah, a Muslim practice of the seclusion and concealing of women.
Khan’s June 2021 interview provided an opportunity to clarify his earlier victim blaming, in which he simply doubled down on the perspective that a woman wearing very few clothes “will have an impact on the men, unless they’re robots.”
“Imran Khan’s statement shows a callousness towards women and children victims that is deeply concerning,” Deepali Kulkarni, HAF’s Director of Human Rights stated. “PM Khan’s discrediting and disbelief of victims explains how the targeting of women and girls of Hindu, Sikh, and Christian religious minorities is allowed to continue with impunity,” she added.
Khan came under fire the first time he blamed women and children victims for the rising tide of sexual violence which he acknowledged was “spreading like cancer.” Indeed, the instances of child sexual abuse cases in Pakistan rose from 4% from 2019 to 2020.
The objection to Imran Khan’s April statement was swift in Pakistan and included protests in the major cities of Karachi and Lahore. Aggressive sexuality is not to blame for sexual aggression, one Pakistan woman wrote in response to Khan’s initial statements. The response to the June 2021 statement has been equally swift and overwhelmingly critical of the Prime Minister.