Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in a statement to the Washington Post on Tuesday said “This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say that if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”
Musharraf claimed he was expressing an opinion widely held in Pakistan, implying women are voluntarily raped – an obvious oxymoron – to gain attention and visas from sympathetic nations.
The response has been immediate, as governments and media worldwide have decried his remarks as chauvinistic and callous.
It is inconceivable that the leader of a developed country would blame rape on the victim and even portray it as a moneymaking scheme.
This is the same man who banned a rape victim from traveling to the U.S. to attend a woman’s rights conference. That woman had been gang raped on the orders of a village council after her 12-year-old brother was convicted of befriending a woman in a powerful clan. The ban was eventually lifted after drawing outrage from world leaders.
What hope does a woman have in a country where the president himself in effect turns a blind eye to their plight.
The rest of the world should keep a close eye on Pakistan. If their own president won’t do it, someone owes these women the right to live a life free of sexual abuse. If we do not, we are no more human than the rapists.