Wednesday, December 2, 2009

White Ribbon

Domestic violence against women in developing countries is budding as a serious concern for public health workers. Women are subjected to various forms of violence especially in less developed societies. World Health Organization (WHO) defines domestic violence as "the range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts used against young and adolescent women by current or former male intimate partners

The traditional, behavioral and social norms that are often prevalent in an Islamic state as Pakistan, creates more difficulties for women. The prevailing systems of Purdah and Izzat are misused to push the social isolation of women and thus, women are more confined to their homes, they are not allowed to go out side, or even to seek any medical help or meet any relative.Even though they are aware about those restrictions, still they are unable to come forward to prevent themselves from domestic violence as either they are too young, weak, ill or they believe the hot-tempered behaviours of men as normal. Furthermore, in Pakistan majority of women consider the behaviours and actions of men in societies as inherited normal actions which really make them more vulnerable to any type of abuse in their home. Other prominent points for domestic violence in the Pakistani culture are societal pressures, imbalance of power between men and women which keeps women as followers of those rules and regulations of society and defiance to follow those rules leads to penalties like acid throwing, honour killings etc. In 2002 a research on domestic violence, showed that husband abuse was reported by 98 (46.9%) of the women interviewed, in which only 43 (58.1%) reported only to their sister. After reporting, only 54.8% had a temporary decrease in the violent behaviour from their husbands. Furthermore, women always fear paybacks, have concerns about the future of their children, and even more they have lack of any other moral support like friends. In case a woman wants to approach any social support, she has to face rejection and non supportive response from her own community and parents. Women who reside in rural or tribal areas are subjected to higher murder rates.

In Pakistan,Women and girls suffered human rights violations at the hands of the state and, in the absence of appropriate government action, in the community, including “honour” killings, forced marriages, rape and domestic violence. The Protection from Harassment at the Workplace Bill, approved by the cabinet in November, and the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, submitted to the Ministry of Women Development in August,passed by National Assembly.

On 13 July, a girl, aged 16, and two women, aged 18 and 20, were reportedly abducted and taken in a car bearing a government number plate to Babakot, Jaffarabad district, Balochistan province, where they were killed apparently for wanting to marry men of their choice. A post-mortem examination revealed that two of the young women had died of head injuries inflicted with a blunt weapon. The third body was not found. A Baloch senator defended the killing as “tribal custom”; locally influential figures reportedly hampered the police investigation.Girls were also handed over in marriage to settle disputes.

In these turbulent times in Pakistan, it was even more imperative to ensure women empowerment.If you have the upper hand in a relationship and tend to exploit your power, you are indeed involved in domestic violence. It’s not just about having a tough day at work and venting your frustration by slapping around your partner. If you make your wife beg for some extra cash to manage the household affairs, or belittle your husband over his over-indulgence in religious practices and try to dissuade him in one way or another; rest assured, you have joined ranks with perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Islam condemns domestic violence. Once a number of women came to the Prophet (S.A.W), to complain that their husbands had beaten them. The prophet announced that men who beat their wives are not good men. The Prophet (S.A.W) also said, “Do not beat the female servants of Allah"

What do we really know about domestic violence though? My mind jumps onto images of a woman huddled on the floor while a relentless hand comes down on her again and yet again. True enough, this is domestic violence at its core-and it’s ugliest. It’s not where it ends though. According to an online source, types of domestic abuse include physical, verbal (also called emotional, mental, or psychological abuse), sexual, financial, and spiritual abuse. Moreover, despite what most of us would ever believe, the women aren’t always the victims.

In a 2003 research paper printed in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, a survey of 216 women was conducted, and a staggering 96.76%(209/216) admitted to have been subjected to abuse, ranging from hitting and shouting to being threatened by a gun or knife. Even though the scope was limited-covering only the twin cities-it was appalling to say the least. More astounding: 108 (51.7%) reportedly did not respond in any way and merely suffered the violence and its attendant consequences in silence.

To uphold dignity-family’s and one’s own-the suffering continues behind barred doors. Divorce is unthinkable; release is impossible. You hide your fears and wipe the tears, you supplicate and despair in vain. It seems like things are getting better again, but inevitably, you’re pulled back in. These are the remnants of the glorified institution of matrimony.

Domestic violence is prevalent in Pakistan at an alarming rate. Women are the sufferers and are subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse in their home by partners, in-laws and in some circumstances by their brothers and parents. The factors associated with domestic violence in Pakistan are low-economical status of women, lack of awareness about women rights, lack of education, falsified beliefs, imbalanced empowerment issues between males and females, male dominant social structure and lack of support from the government. Integrated supportive services, legal intervention and redress should be made available in situations of domestic violence. Support and help for women to rebuild and recover their lives after violence, should be a part of the intervention strategy, including counseling, relocation, credit support and employment. In order to prevent women from domestic violence and provide them medical as well as judicial and legal support, new plans and interventional maps should be made in the societies in collaboration with health team members, religious and societal leaders, NGOs, police department and people from other similar groups. This strategy implementation should be enforced.

Zainab Sohail.


Rana Saad said...

Thumbs up to the cause you people are upto.Must say that the article by Zainab is informative as it is backed up by facts and figures and study research.We people should realize the critical level of Domestic violence in Pakistan.For this we must develope two pronge strategy: Awareness and Education of people,both religiously and moraly and no.2 there should be stringent measurements to empower women in society politicaly and socialy.From last ten years there is much better position of women in society.They are more educated,socialy and politicaly vocal but alot is need to be done.I can see the ray of hope now by looking at blogs and article like this from you guys and Zainab again very well done.We all youth must stand up and light up the candles to eradicate the darkness around us.

Muhammad said...

A Great Job is Done by Zainab on this sensitive and serious issue. Her research on this issue to dig out facts and figures and strive to address the issue and its causes from very grass root level, shows her keen and deep interest and attachment with issue and its victims.

The most important thing is the identification of root causes, which she clearly and boldly mention in her blog.
Keep it up Zainab.

Muhammad Rehan Aslam.

Muhammad said...

nice effort i agree with points rased by saad.
keep it up

hamza said...

Good One.We seriously need to do alot of things and specially in these dificult times.God be with us.

hamza said...

And I'm prety much sure youth will not let down the hopes.

hamza said...
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hamza said...

very very nice effort as the awareness is really needed to support the cause these guys are trying to pursue. i am very happy and want to help you out in any form..

kanza said...

Today,the women in society should act coherently to finish all the injustice with them and prove everyone that without us coutry can not progress.

kanza said...

The best part is that the youth including Men are understanding the issue.I expect from them, they should be the one to stop it starting from their own homes.

Domestic Violence in Pakistan said...
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Domestic Violence in Pakistan said...

This is a sensitive topic that can not be ignored that is why we girls raised our voices through these articles published on our blog which we wrote after alot of research, backed up by pictures, facts and figures.
We would appreciate if you stay updated with our blog as more is yet to be posted!
Zainab Sohail

faisalkh said...

I am impressed the way these girls have raised there voices against this increasing rate of domestic voilence in our society! These articles are very informative!

Mystical Raindrops said...

splendidly written I must say, a great job.
i really like the insight. this is the type of youth our country needs. this was the dream of muhammad ali jinnah!
i really like the political and socail aspects highlighted in "white ribbon"
two thumbs up!