Dr Saira Asad
A lot has been spoken on the issue of domestic violence against women since last year. It was seen that the voice was debated and raised with the Introduction of Women Prevention and Protection Bill 2021 also. The question is here, how many cases have been resolved and how many abusers are caught with the announcement of punishment. But, are all registered cases? The answer to this is, No. Many women in Pakistan are afraid to register their cases and spend their lives in a toxic environment for the fear of society reporting their issues. In this regard, it should not be hidden where a man shows his dominating attitude by force in form of an abusive act. Islam also doesn’t appreciate this act on a woman.
According to the reports of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) that the most common forms of domestic abuse are slapping (52%), threatening (49%), shouting (76 %), punching (40%), kicking (40%) and pushing (47%). An extreme case of recent domestic violence has been reported in Rawalpindi by highly educated people for the demand of property share of a woman from her parents after 17 years of marriage. On which a woman was beaten mercilessly, punched, abused mentally, physically, and verbally in front of her in-laws as a framed pre-planned drafted sketch which was heard by the victim by herself. The man refused to have any financial assistance per the girl’s affordability and demanded an expensive car with a bungalow in an expensive locality initially of his own choice. On the impossibility of doing this, the girl was given talaq twice on minor daily routine work. She was harassed continuously for getting talaq if she would fail to bring her property share. This whole pre-planned plan was heard from time to time by the girl which was being discussed among her husband sister-in-law, brothers in law and mother-in-law. Her husband was continuously being provoked to abuse her physically daily for many hours for his demands. The girl was kept in isolation without any interaction with her parents and without any provision of communication medium. A strange kind of case has been seen where the lust for money, greed, and jealousy could be seen. What kind of man was that who was easily been provoked by his close relations for getting property share with the imposition of brutal attitude toward his wife. She was told as a liability by husband as using his facilities and eating his food. The question here is, should a woman not be a responsibility of her husband? WHY is a husband running away from his responsibilities? There is a matter of his mindset, who came back after getting his doctorate degree. It is seen that one can not change the mindset and values of the educated person also. For such an attitude towards a wife is highly condemned and offenders should be brought at the front with punishment.
The incident developed various questions in mind being a woman, for which I am looking for the answers from our society, authorities, lawmakers, members of parliament, and not the least, male members of our society. Is a woman not safe in her husband’s house even after spending 17 years of married life, and WHY she is dishonored and disregarded on non-fulfillment of one’s demand? Having grown up kids, a woman still can’t be safe in her husband’s house? Is a woman still unsafe after 17 years of marriage and can be pushed out of a house by husband and in-laws at any time on the unethical demands’ fulfillment? WHY do the spent 17 years of marriage have no importance in the eyes of the husband? Are property and jewelry more important than a woman or a wife than her loyalty to her husband? WHY women are not felt protected in our society and their houses? WHY a woman remains an outsider throughout her life in her husband’s house? WHY there is a feeling of fear among women of losing their home or husband most of the time?
We all have to find the answers to these questions together. The statistics of Pakistan Demographic and Health surveys (DHS) 2017-2018 say that 34% of married women have experienced spousal emotional, sexual, and physical violence. In which 26% is emotional violence and 23% is physical violence by the spouse.
A lot of other cases of extreme domestic violence are required to reach for justice also. Such as, Noor Makadam killing; an attack by acid on woman by her ex-husband; assault of woman at minar-e-Pakistan by nearly 400 men, and rape of mother and daughter by rikshaw driver are recent prominent cases of violence against women. Question here that how many cases are still not known or reported? This is the time and need to raise voice. The concerned government departments are required to increase their efficiency via performance.
Thomas Reuters Foundation survey 2018 says that Pakistan was ranked the sixth most dangerous country for women, and the fourth-worst nation when it came to the discrimination in the access to economic resources such as risk to their safety owing to cultural, religious, and traditional practices and discrimination at workplaces. In domestic abuse, Pakistan is ranked fifth. The reasons behind the domestic violence on women are context-specific and general. In Pakistani culture, social norms seem to be favorable towards women who phlegmatically bear marital abuse. On the other side, women who seek legal procedures against violence look at wariness. There is a need to define the punishment over domestic violence and the presentation of Prevention and Protection Bill 2021. Besides, misrepresentation of religious teachings also leads to conceiving the wrong implementation. There is a loud SHOUT OUT for the authorities for their prompt actions for the women who are behind closed doors.