Pakistan-based American blogger Cynthia D Ritchie levelled accusations of rape and molestation against some top leaders of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led Pakistan People's Party. On Friday, Ritchie accused Pakistan's former interior minister Rehman Malik of raping her in Islamabad in 2011 after he laced her drink with sedatives.
She also alleged that former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of "physically manhandling" her. Gilani has rebuffed the accusations.
"In 2011, I was raped by the former interior minister Rehman Malik. That's right, I'll say it again. I was raped by the then interior minister Rehman Malik," Ritchie said a live video on her Facebook page. Ritchie was embroiled in controversy with the PPP last week after she made objectionable remarks against late Benazir Bhutto, the Dawn reported. The PPP termed her remarks against late Bhutto as "slanderous and derogatory".
As the case surfaced online, Ritchie faced opposition,but support poured in too with #MeToo trending on Twitter. #MeToo movement began 2018 where women across the world came out with their stories of facing sexual abuse. Men in influential, political circles came under scanner after they were accused of raping, abusing and harassing women.
The worst thing a woman does to another: #victimblaming,not believing another woman when she says she was #RAPED. Are you in your senses? You’re negating the entire #metoo movement & are not worthy of being called a woman if you cant offer another woman empathy for being violated https://t.co/rgAM1I2GZU— San’a Mir (@SanaMirTweets) June 5, 2020
What ? I was raped by Ex-Interior Minister Rahman Malik at the President House In Islamabad@CynthiaDRitchie This needs to be investigated. This is too serious of a claim to be taken lightly.Cynthia stay strong. This is too much. Too too much.We are with you.— Mir Mohammad Alikhan (@MirMAKOfficial) June 5, 2020
I admire your courage, bravery and thank you for coming out against this mafia, stay strong. God Bless— syed hamza ali (@syed_wiki) June 5, 2020
I am so sorry to hear all that happened to you in Pakistan. May Allah help you in bringing those scoundrels to justice.— Amina Tariq (@aaminah_tariq) June 5, 2020
There were some who found vested interests in Ritchie's allegations, much like the debate back in 2018 where people discredited allegations owing to political affiliations of either the accused or the accuser.
First they used dharnas of every goon (TuQ, IK, KR) in town, then they used media pups, then they made judiciary their maiden, and now they are using their Mata Hari.... All but to malign and discredit political parties. Shame on you doctrine owners. Shame on you.— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) June 5, 2020
Is it too late to expose them?Why not earlier?— Shafiq Ahmad (@shafiqndu992) June 5, 2020
Before going live from her Facebook page, Ritchie tweeted saying she was being threatened by the members of the PPP.
#ZardarisFilthyPPP keeps threatening me. Why? Because they know that over the years I have been raped/assaulted by men in the highest ranks of PPP. They don't want the world to know. I have decided to go live on facebook in approximately 30 minutes & continue to tell my story.— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 5, 2020
"I have received countless threats against my life, rape threats, claims that PPP has my father," she said in the video, adding that she has "evidentiary support". The blogger said that she had informed about the incident to "someone" at the US Embassy in 2011, "but due to 'fluid' situation and 'complex' relations between US and Pakistan, response was less than adequate".
On Saturday, Ritchie wrote in a series of tweets, "This is not an indictment of PPP, as I have been mistreated by men from various parties. However the majority of my cases, including two more have not mentioned were either Pk lobbyist or 2nd tier PPP."
2/ This is not an indictment of PPP, as I have been mistreated by men from various parties. However the majority of my cases, including two more have not mentioned were either Pk lobbyist or 2nd tier PPP. Many loved BB, and the original message I was trying to convey was— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 6, 2020