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President Arif Alvi just equated the trauma of rape to corruption

President Arif Alvi just equated the trauma of rape to corruption

When you draw these parallels and use such language, you're undermining and trivialising the suffering of rape survivors
23 Apr, 2020

Public figures should especially carefully consider the words they use in their speeches and statements, but every few weeks we are served a reminder that this is not the case.

A clip of President Arif Alvi in conversation with journalist Hamid Mir started doing the rounds on social media last night in which the president can be seen using a rape analogy to describe corruption.

With regards to a recent inquiry report on independent power producers (IPPs), President Alvi said that if the findings are to be believed, the nation has been subjected to rape: “My exact words were, forgive me for what I am about to say but what I said to PM Imran Khan was that the country has not only been raped but gang-raped by mafias."

The insensitive use of language did not go down well on Twitter, and for good reason.

It's 2020 and we still need to explain why it's not okay to equate the trauma of rape survivors to things like a tough exam or the state of the economy but here we are.

Why couldn't Dr. Alvi make his point without using the term rape? Rape is a powerful word, it is meant to elicit shock (especially in a society like ours that is prone to victim-blame) and everyone is aware of its devastating impact. Ironically enough, it's why some people continue to use it casually, not realising just how deeply distressing such language is for some.

When you try to draw such parallels, you are undermining and trivialising the suffering of real victims. Here's a tip: if you find yourself questioning whether the comparison you’re about to make with rape is acceptable, it most definitely isn’t. Because ultimately, no one understands what it’s like to experience sexual assault other than a survivor.

Comments

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M. Saeed Apr 23, 2020 12:57pm
Very correct observation by the writer. It reminds of the then president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf saying that ... crying rape was an easy way to "be a millionaire" and get citizenship of , "Canada", in response to the news of one of such events in Pakistan.
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Solomon The King Apr 23, 2020 01:12pm
what do you expect from them, a president of Pakistan is always the one who is not worthy of doing anything else
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Atif Apr 23, 2020 01:17pm
It would be nice if he does use this kind of terms.
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M. Umair A. Khan Apr 23, 2020 01:19pm
indecency is PTIs trademark.
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Cris Dan Apr 23, 2020 01:23pm
The president has used an apt most analogy. Nothing is more distressful painful and terrible than knowing the facts in under reference report by a loyal pakistani. What worse can be a scenerio than this-millions of helpless tax payers were looted through a crookedly built out contracts. Mr. Alvi has used correct analogy. Rape is one if the most painful experiences in anyoneś life. It is more of a feeling of helplessness and a self humiliation than actual physical injury which recover with time . Same is here. Was it not as terrible as a gang rape?
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Pure ind Apr 23, 2020 01:26pm
Nothing surprising
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M. Emad Apr 23, 2020 01:43pm
Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi's statement add insult to injury for Rape Victims.
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MG Apr 23, 2020 03:04pm
Shame
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Ganesh Apr 23, 2020 03:52pm
What an inelegant comparison. This statesman is better off not being involved in matters for which he is not experienced to talk about.
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Laila Apr 23, 2020 04:31pm
Trust me, when I say, you don't know what rape is. And this is our leadership? People who misuse serious trauma and physical violations to sensationalise their own work? So disgusted. Such an insult to actual victims of rape.
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Ibrahim S Apr 23, 2020 04:42pm
@M. Saeed : People have very weak memory. The psyche of desi men no matter where they live (Pakistan , USA , or any civilized country) never changed. Almost all of them have very low opinion about women. It's coming right from our early religious teaching, where it's ingrained in our minds that men are superior and women are always subservient to men. Does it ring a bell. Mr. Alvi or IK , you and me are no exceptions.
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Omar Apr 23, 2020 04:43pm
He must think before he speak.
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Ibrahim S Apr 23, 2020 04:54pm
@M. Emad , Do you think if Mr. Alvi will have a moral courage to apologize to women
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Kumar(Varanasi) Apr 23, 2020 04:56pm
Silence suits some person and would appear much more nice and dignified thereby.
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LAHORI KID Apr 23, 2020 04:56pm
The only reason he is the President is because he is one of the few original people who helped Imran Khan launch PTI.
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Nasir Apr 23, 2020 04:59pm
The head of state is the top position of country and responsible wording should be used on any forum. Its the demand of the position that the person should avoid any below level act, words, deed or self presentation.
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Kumar(Varanasi) Apr 23, 2020 05:00pm
If he wants to be a successful Head of state he should take inspiration from Queen Elizabeth who has been head of state for more than 5 decades . And the reason for her resounding success is only that she has kept her mouth shut all along speaking only on rarest occasion .
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Izaz Haque Apr 23, 2020 05:01pm
Really disappointed. Goes to show how cultural biases against women are so embedded in the popular culture that even an educated man like mr alvi sees no harm in using rape as a everyday metaphor to emphasize a political point.
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Ratan bhai Apr 23, 2020 06:57pm
How deep can a dentist think?
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Multani Apr 23, 2020 07:29pm
Poor choice of words, lacking any empathy for the rape victims, ignorance of the physical, psychological and social trauma endured by the victims. If this is the state of our leaders, then Pakistan must choose better ones next time.
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ExMohajirInUK Apr 23, 2020 09:12pm
Wondering if President's academic credentials are genuine after this morally incorrect comparision.
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Shahzad Akbar Shaikh Apr 24, 2020 01:31am
@M. Saeed rape is a serious accusation. You guys take it so casually in Pakistan. Pakistan is all set to protect rapists but not victims.
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Bhaijan Apr 24, 2020 02:32am
@M. Umair A. Khan . Very bad terminology exercised by President Arif Alvi. He forgot he’s President. Not impressed.
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Anwar Apr 24, 2020 06:25am
People need lessons in the English language before commenting. Consult the English dictionary!!
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SM Apr 24, 2020 10:10am
I agree 100% with the author. I would also like to point out that his comment that disobedience of the agreement between the ulema and the state is a 'sin' rather than a 'crime'. This is shameful coming from the head of state. Also, his gesture of putting his hands together (as if in apology) is highly inappropriate in this context.
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HKG Apr 24, 2020 11:16am
Alvi is a genius
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Laila Apr 24, 2020 12:47pm
@M. Umair A. Khan well to be fair, indecency runs rampant in our political arena. All parties. But yes you are right. Just look at PTIs Firdaus Ashiq Awan and how she attacked Khusmala Tariq on national TV. The clip is still online. It shows how politicians treat especially females. Now Firdaus is special advisor to our PM.
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