A woman was assaulted by over 400 men in Lahore's Greater Iqbal Park on August 14 and the nation is rightfully enraged.
An FIR has been registered against hundreds of unidentified assailants for assaulting and stealing from a female TikToker and her companions. Videos of the incident have been circulating online and show the woman being swarmed by men who literally pick her up and assault her. Along with Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore incident and 400 men, yes all men is also trending on social media, with people from across the political spectrum calling out the men present at the park who did not help the woman as well as the perpetrators.
There is palpable rage and fear on social media as enraged citizens express their horror, frustration and anger at the assault. That it happened on Pakistan's Independence Day in front of the Minar-e-Pakistan, one of the symbols of our nation, was all the more frightening.
Yes all men, say social media users. Many people who previously disagreed with this statement are now saying that they were wrong and that yes, all men are responsible if not accountable for violence against women.
Users are crying out that no one protected that woman, therefore all the men there were culpable.
How many men will be enough for people to understand that this is a problem, asked another user.
Women are scared, say users.
When a crowd of 400 men attacks you, there is very little you or anyone can do to be safe. This woman came to a terrible realisation that if even small measures women take to protect themselves won't be enough in a situation like this.
One user called out Pakistan's rotten mindset and said the country should be hanging its heads in shame.
Another user wanted celebrations banned, calling for the perpetrators to be punished.
Sharing a picture of Minar-e-Pakistan from the incident and another from 1940, one user apologised to Quaid-i-Azam for what we have become.
"The culture that we rave about has ingrained violence and harassment and that is exactly why it needs to be called out!" pointed out one user.
Some people would rather defend men than understand that women are not free, posted one user.
One user called this country a hell for women and echoed the sentiments of many, many other people when she said she just wanted to leave the country.
The Karachi Central deputy commissioner said this incident is not a one-off.
One user called for the immediate re-education of men in the country.
One user asked what the "patriotic" way of calling out such incidents was, since Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry warned against calling Pakistan an unsafe place for women lest it tarnish our "image".
Another pointed out that the problem went beyond the country being unsafe for women.
Another "isolated incident" tweeted one user, mocking the government's , nothing to actually tie it to the people and problems here
This is definitely not a one-off incident, no matter what anyone claims. Several horrifying acts of violence against women have been reported in recent months and despite social media outcry, they keep being reported. That people are calling out all men for their responsibility to actively stop harassment and assault rather than being bystanders is good, but what's not good is that it take a woman being assaulted by 400 men for it to happen.
Pakistani women deserve better than being made into examples of why women deserve rights. We shouldn't need examples of why we should protect women, it should be a forgone conclusion. How many women will it take for people to realise that we have a big problem in the way we view and treat women? And for our government officials who don't want issues to be highlighted lest we "tarnish" Pakistan's image — our image is being tarnished by the assaulters, not the people crying out for protection for our citizens or the victims.