By Shambhavi Saxena for Cake:
A new campaign video by UN Women Pakistan boldly features several women asking the viewer over and over to beat them. Yes, beat them. And it is triggering as hell.
Women’s rights activists have been tirelessly fighting for decades to end the culture of victim-blaming that lets rapists and abusers off the hook, and here is a “women’s empowerment” video that actually invites violence towards women. Like many other countries in the region, including India, Pakistan has a high number of reported crimes against women, and the unreported crimes are likely to be higher. And just a few short months after the brutal honour killing of Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch, which highlighted gender based violence that is systemic in South Asia, this video is in particularly bad taste. One really does wonder how it got okayed by an organization as reputed as the United Nations.
Earlier in May, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had issued an absurd statement recommended that husbands “lightly beat” their wives, and Pakistani women launched a hashtag called #TryBeatingMeLightly, where they sharply responded to the CII. And it far outshines the #UNBeatable campaign.
The irony here is inescapable. The internationally sanctioned day to challenge violence against women is coming up this Friday. And in trying to raise awareness about the issue, UN Women Pakistan forgets to be sensitive about it.