Women violence in Pakistan
Pakistan is a basically Muslim country located in the basin of the Indus valley. It has an area of 803,940 square kilometers. It has four provinces (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan). In Pakistan Pun most of the population living in rural area, agriculture is the principal occupation. Pakistan is a male dominant country. Majority women are limited in their homes. Women unaware from their right, that’s why women face different kinds of violence. Women are abused by men in every field.
Violence against women is also a big issue in Pakistan. In Pakistan, violence against women is mostly not considered as a violation of human rights but rather as a normal aspect of lives. In Pakistan Women hurt by husband, father, brother and all society. Violence includes honor killing, acid throwing, bride burning, domestic violence, denial of property, rape, child marriages, sexual harassment, torture, exchange of females to solve disputes (swara/vanni).
Women suffer massively especially in their homes, and face the most abusive forms of violence. Traditions and customs may deprive women to marry out of choice, deprive them of their share of inheritance and may even take their lives in the name of honor. Women are considered as personal properties of men and men control every aspect of lives of women including their behavior. Men have the right to make decisions, and women have to follow their decisions in family, community and society.
The customary system of purdah and izzat (veiling the bodies, honor) is misused to push the social isolation or loneliness of women and thus women are more limited to their homes. Women are not allowed to go outside and cannot meet their relatives. Woman is faced to discrimination and violence on a daily basis due to the cultural and religious norms that Pakistani society accepts. In Male dominance subjects women to violence on a daily basis in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, Women suffer excluded from social, lack of economic independence; limited or lack of access to education, representation of women in decision-making and women’s lack of knowledge of their legal rights. In our society majority men unaware about women rights, but those who are aware from women rights but they do not tolerate women rights.
Access to health facility is a basic right of woman, but they cannot go to health facility without her husband or in-laws permission. Most deaths are due to not reach to health facility on time. There is general concept in community that only married female can go to (BHU), basic health unit. When young girls avoids visit to basic (BHU) hospital due to the fear that the society will stigmatize her as a bad character person. In the same stigma can create hurdles for her marriage. More over there some example in which girls approach to BHU, Basic health unit were rejected on the above mention false notion.
Women suffer all forms of violence for their respected father, brother, husband and their children. There are various types of violence in Pakistan, but only few are quoted here.
Early age of marriage:
Early age of marriage is also big issue in Pakistan. Early age of marriage is a crime and violence. A little girl has no idea that how to treat with husband and her in-laws . When a girl turn to 13, 14 years, the family wants to arrange her marriage.
In Pakistan, there are many reasons of early age of marriage ,who have a lot of daughter, because of poverty, and the main issues is , that men want to marry with those girls which are under 12,15 . Men perception is that when they will marry aged girl so they can not enjoy their marital relation. When a girls cross 19 or 20 so the proposal are stopped for them and she spend her life without marriage.
Although child marriages affect both the male and female life.I n fact, the boys often grown up and get second marriage. When girl get marry in early age, there are a lot of burden and responsibilities on her shoulders, being a wife, a sister, daughter-in-law and a mother she faces ill health, losing her own life & her children’s. She is mentally and physically abused . A girl has restricted autonomy little mobility and zero economic power.
When a girl gets married in early age she cannot continue her education. Illiteracy issue is also in Pakistan.Such females less likely to complete their education and often suffer from poor health because they are burdened with domestic chores. Pregnancy related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for girls between the age of 15 and 19. Early marriages are far more prevalent in Pakistan’s rural areas, where they are associated with culture and custom.
Sindh is one of the most affected regions in the country .young girls who are forced to get married at an early age, often to men much older than themselves. Same situation in south Punjab.
Honor killings are the most awful and the most shameful of all form in manifestations of violence against women in Pakistan. Honor killing is a brutal murder; women are mostly the victims of honor killing. Honor killing is brutal violence in this cases perpetrators are usually brothers and fathers.
In Pakistan all the four provinces honor killing have different names like Kalakali in Punjab, karokari in sindh, siyakari in Balochistan and “da path pa nama wajal or tor toora” in Khyber paktunkhwa. . According to women’s rights group, the Aurat Foundation, about 1,000 ‘honor’ killings take place in Pakistan every year. Aurat Foundation’s , is NGO in working for female rights. They reported in their Annual Report 432 cases of honor killing in the country in 2012 (227 in Punjab, 158 in Sindh, 42 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 8 in Baluchistan and 2 in Islamabad).
Many conservative families in Pakistan consider it shameful for a woman to fall in love and choose her own husband. When a girl not accepts arrange marriage the result is “Honor killing”.
Express Tribune, 5 November 2013. 299, KiIIs in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The killing of innocent women is mainly due to inhuman, violent customary practices across Pakistan’s conservative society in the name of so called honor.
Swara is also a brutal practice in Pakistan .The meaning of the SWARA/Vanni is to hand over the girls,babies in marriages or exchange marriage to the aggrieved party to resolve the blood feud. Conflict among two families a girl given over the aggrieved family as compensation for blood or faults and crimes their male, relatives may have committed.
This type of compensation is awarded by an informal decision making group. In Pakistan, this decision making group a decision making assembly of male elders), it has deffrent names like, Jirga in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sindh and balochistan. punchayet in Punjab, Jirga is an old tradition of resolving disputes or rivalries at village level. Jirga/panchayat decision making process is completely male dominated , it decided the fate of women and the pronouncement of Swar/ vani without seeking opinion or consent of the women concerned.
IF someone receive information about sex relation of his sister/daughter/mother/wife closed relation with an illegal male, usually people kill both male and female but, that party who is guilty and save from killing, he submit his request to the jirga. So the guilty party case is solved by Swar/vanni. . In Sawara the guilty person gives his sister, daughter or nephew girl to the other family.
When a girl is forced into marriage under the custom of Swara, her in-laws don’t treat her with dignity, love and respect rather they go hard and cruel on her. She is given no honor at her new house. She lives a life lower even than a maid servant. life.She could never get full benefits of a married woman. She is treated as a slave who has no say in her own life.
“whenever a boy or man commit a mistake, in order to resolve the problem females are given away to the opposition party , why not men?? Men be the one who should be given, so that no more men will commit mistakes.
According to the activist named Samar Minallah Khan has identified at least 132 cases Swara across Pakistan in 2012.
In Pakistan, religious speaker have also a big role in our society. Majority people believe on religious speaker. For Example, in district Mardan, city in Khyber pakhtunkwa, Lady Health workers visit door to door in create awareness on female reproductive health and also work in polio campaign. When Lady health visit door to door to provide polio vaccination to children,so the community male treat them harshly and rudely because they believe that western countries does not have any sympathy with our kids or children that they will secure our children from polio virus, further they say that the western countries added some an ingredient in polio vaccine which will affect our females reproduction health system and female will not able to birth a child.
Some people include religious speaker even believe that the polio vaccine have change/ ruined the behaviour and values of younger generation.
Their main allegations are that these NOGs are spreading anti Islamic doctrines and they are working on a foreign agenda, moreover according to religious sector they have hired female employees and order to implement their hidden agenda as female are soft target. Due to these strong allegations from a strong religious section created so many problems for female working in NGOs.
There is a main role of lady health worker in Pakistan. These lady health workers are working in rural areas to spread awareness among rural women; unfortunately they are also targeted by religious sector.
NGOs and Government department:
Different non-government organizations are working in Pakistan for women’s rights, violence against women. NGOs are working to prevent from violence and not only protect the victims but also addressed their issues, help them and raise their voices for justice. Unfortunately these organization working for rights and raising or receiving funds from donors and instead of protecting and facilitating these vulnerable women, are making more hurdles in the form of cultural in religious reactions and confrontations.
Now Media is a forth pillar of state In Pakistan. Media did not give much coverage to the women issues especially the early child marriage and also about female and its negative impacts on mothers’ health. The participants highlighted the role of media in eradicating such practices. They believed that media could bring a change. Media highlighted only hot issues in the women.
Violence is no private matter but rather require public positive approach by the law makers, religious scholars , social and political activists to aware and sensitize communities in having policies and laws . the proper implementation to eliminate all kind of violence against women /girls in every aspect of the life. It’s a male-dominated society, women live only to protect the men in their families, sacrifice themselves and then fade away silently
In this society a woman does exits but her own identity doesn’t ; before marriage she is known as daughter of someone, sister of someone and live at someone’s home , after marriage she is again someone wife making some one family in living in someone’s homes.
Isn’t there any status of a woman in our society?
Isn’t she has no recognition in our society? That she would recognize from herself.
Writer : Rahila Ali