Warning: this article contains SENSITIVE CONTENT
Recently, a six-year old* was found dead in Pakistan. The young girl, Zainab, went missing on her way to her Quran class and was found dead , in a dumpster, a few days later. When her body was found, it was quite clear that young Zainab had been raped. Pakistanis, and other people, were filled with outrage. According to the BBC, Police in Kasur, her hometown, stated that there have been over TWELVE similar cases in the past two years. Protests have erupted in Pakistan, and many people around the world have sent their condolences to Zainab’s family. I was disgusted when I first heard about this, and I cried for her because she was an innocent kid who had done nothing wrong, yet she was killed in a brutal way. You can read more about the heartbreaking story here and here.
Here are a few more Tweets related to Zainab’s story and people’s thoughts on it:
This horrible incident led me wondering whether incidents like this occurred in Ancient Rome. While my heart tried its best to reassure myself that it didn’t, I took an educational guess that they most likely did. According to Vice, a popular magazine, there was no legal term for rape nor was it against the law. After all, the myths of the gods had many tales of them sexually assaulting mortals. However, what’s even more horrifying is that if a married women was raped, she could be tried for adultery. Besides that, according to a Classics professor at New York University, Michael Peachin, “If one did not want a baby, one could, without any legal consequence, throw it away––literally, on the garbage dump”.
Reading about how sexual violence was treated in Ancient Rome horrified me almost as much as Zainab’s story did. Ignoring victims and culprits is not alright. Making headlines for a few weeks and then disappearing into the back curtain is NOT okay (think of Brock Turner’s story). We, as a human race, need to do better; we must do better.
*different news articles state different ages for Zainab; she was between the ages of 6 and 8.