Human Rights Women Rights

Violence against Women A global threat to social cantours

Women and girls continued to face violence and threats. At least 4,308 cases of violence against women and girls were reported for the first six months of last year. The figure included 709 cases of murder; 596 of rape and gang rape; 36 of sexual assault; 186 of so­ called “honour” crimes; and 1,020of kidnapping. Despite the enactment of the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act in 2011,at least 40acid attack cases were recorded between January and June. A number of knife attacks were reported against women seen outside their homes without a male companion. Up to six cases were reported in one week in September. Despite efforts in recent years to enact legislation protecting women from violence, laws remained in force under which female rape victims can be convicted for adultery. Women continued to be denied equality and protection in law, a situation exacerbated by factors including the absence of legislation against incest and a gender-insensitive criminal justice system. Violence against women is now well recognized as a Center Of Pakistan & International Relations public health problem and human rights violation of worldwide significance. It is an important risk factor for women’s ill health, with far-reaching consequences for both their physical and mental health. Women in Pakistan live in a world structured around strict religious, family and tribal customs that essentially force them to live in submission and overall fear. In a nation where Islamic law dictates traditional family values and is enmeshed in the legal system, Pakistan’s government, law, and society discriminate against women and condone gender-based violence. Pakistan has yet to integrate many of the Women’s Convention’s provisions into domestic law and educate the Pakistani population of its responsibilities under international law to promote women’s rights. Due to these failures, women’s rights in Pakistan are progressively deteriorating. Women are subjected to discrimination and violence on a daily basis due to the cultural and religious norms that Pakistani society embraces. Pakistan’s interpretation of Islam views women as needing protection, which essentially results in their suppression physically, mentally and emotionally. Though they constitute approximately forty-eight percent of the population, women have a low percentage of participation in society outside of the family. According to the 1999 report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, only two percent of Pakistani women participate in the formal sector of employment. Ninety-three percent of rural women and seventy-two percent of urban women are illiterate. Women are often confined to “char divari,” a term translated literally to mean “the four walls of the house.” Men are the decision-makers, especially ill family matters such as marriage and divorce. Male dominance and co modification subjects women to violence on a daily basis in Pakistan. Approximately seventy percent to ninety-percent of Pakistani women are subjected to domestic violence.4 Typical violent acts include, but are not limited to, murder in the name of “honor,” rape, spousal abuse including marital rape, add attacks, and being burned by family members (often labeled an accident by family members). A rape occurs in Pakistan every two hours with one in every 12,500 women being victims of rape. Five women per Center Of Pakistan & International Relations C~R day are killed and two women per day in the region of Punjab alone are kidnapped. Incidents of women being burned by men throwing acid, an act that severely disfigures its victims, has increased as well. Women are killed in the name of honor due to society’s view that a woman’s every action reflects upon a family’s honor, especially a man’s honor. Therefore, if family members, especially a male family member, view that a woman’s action is “dishonorable,” he feels that in order to restore that honor to him or his family he must kill her. The decision to kill a female family member is often a family or tribal decision. Many women are killed due to an unsubstantiated rumor that has been passed around the community. Many men do not give women the benefit of the doubt or bother to find out her side of the story. Many young women are killed due to the mere accusation of having sexual intercourse outside of marriage, only to have been found to be virgins during an autopsy. Women in Pakistan continue to be Victims of this senseless violence. Though patriarchal family and tribal traditions exacerbate violence against women, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Pakistani Government to protect these women and to prosecute those who commit these horrible atrocities. Instead, perpetrators of violence against women are provided with impunity by Pakistan’s society, the judicial system and overall the government. Pakistani women are left with little if any, protection from violence and discrimination.

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