Pakistan's prime minister causes uproar by blaming a rise in rape cases on how women dress

Pakistan's prime minister causes uproar by blaming a rise in rape cases on how women dress
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing backlash against recent comments he made that blamed how women dress for a rise in rape cases in the country.

“What is the concept of purdah?” Khan said during a live TV appearance Monday. “It is to stop temptation. Not every man has willpower. If you keep on increasing vulgarity, it will have consequences.”

Purdah is a practice in some Muslim and Hindu cultures where women will seclude themselves or dress in concealing clothing so men or strangers can’t see them.


Activists called out his remarks, saying the prime minister is blaming victims during a time when sexual violence is increasing Pakistan, The New York Times reported Thursday.

“Not only does this betray a baffling ignorance of where, why, and how rape occurs, but it also lays the blame on rape survivors,” said the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which took part in Thursday protests against Khan in the capital of Islamabad.

Even Khan’s two ex-wives came out against his comments on Twitter on Wednesday.

"The onus is on men," tweeted Jemima Goldsmith, Khan's first wife.


Goldsmith later said that she hopes the prime minister's quote was taken out of context.

The Imran I knew used to say, 'Put a veil on the man's eyes not on the woman,' ” she tweeted.

Khan’s office released a statement saying the quote has indeed been taken out of context.

“The prime minister spoke about the societal responses and the need to put our efforts together to eliminate the menace of rape completely,” it said. “Unfortunately, part of his comment, consciously or unconsciously, has been distorted to mean something that he never intended.”