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Violence Against Women

Much has been written and said regarding "Violence Against Women", this word 'violence' comprises of several connotations, definitions, and explanations, forms of which are usually verbal, physical, and sexual. Almost 80% women in Pakistan endure violence in any form, every now and then a mishap is reported, newspapers are filled with the incidents of honor killings, abductions and rapes; apart from that domestic violence is prevalent all around the society. Despite that no concrete actions are taken yet on grass root level.

In such a civilization where victims are stigmatized and perpetrators get protection, repeatedly each case is brought into limelight for few days then allowed to be buried again.Whenever a mishap is reported all and sundry remain insensitive and act as mere silent spectators. Where 'image building' policy prevents a victim from going abroad or seeking justice, another one is pressurized and forced to leave her homeland without getting justice, still one more is striving hard to attain this unattainable 'justice', but almost has lost the hope to be provided with. Insecurity haunts, whereas injustice and sadism harass people to great extent.Calling this an image problem serves to illustrate just how bad the problem is in Pakistan. The country is more concerned with how the world views them than justice for its women.

The government's argument that violence against women is worse in many other countries and that violence against women is a global problem does not lessen the fact that they are doing little to eliminate the tribalism, retrogressive cultural values, and a criminal justice system in a state of deep rot that has allowed such treatment to continue with little, if any, consequence for the criminals. For a government to actually take the position that "things are improving" when women are still being assaulted at an alarming rate?and even worse that their offenders are not quickly investigated and prosecuted?is sickening!."In theory and practice, law codifies a society's customs, ideals, norms, and moral values. Changes in law undoubtedly reflect changes in what a society takes to be right and wrong, good and bad. But it is a mistake to see law as sufficient to establish the moral standards that should guide an individual, a profession, an organization, or a society.

Law simply cannot cover the variety of individual and group conduct. The law does prohibit egregious affronts to a society's moral standards and in that sense is the floor of moral conduct.".In the early beginnings of the Stone Age era, it has been the women who have been pulled on the ground using their hair by their male counterparts.It was the women who stayed behind whose primary task were to bear children, where they were responsible only for keeping the lineage going.

Years ago she used to be buried or burnt alive, on the threshold of rituals and traditions, even now in 21st century society she faces the same violence, dies everyday, who is more vulnerable to all the misfortunes, whose security and protection point toward question marks, her 'empowerment' has become only the subject to talk about or discuss in seminars.In Pakistan a woman is supposed to be the ultimate follower of virtual textbook of morals. She is born to obey, not question. Her accomplishment lies in leading an "exemplary life." She is submissive to men, tradition, and honour.

Women are encouraged only to perform domestic duties. Procreation, obedience and meekness are considered to be the basic traits of any "good woman." Family decides the course of her life, eventually her destiny. Therefore she is bound to obey her parents and husband in the matters of education, marriage even reproductive rights are often determined on her part by those around her, those who prefer their own opinion and want to take decisions by themselves are considered rebellious, unruly and often morally wrong.

A streak of independence prompt chastisement and punishment from the family or system. This involves more often than not violence, ostracism and at times, murder. The retaliatory action is aimed at teaching women a lesson and discourages the future generation from challenging orthodoxy.In our society woman is the symbol of 'honour' and is often killed by her guardians for that, but when she loses her own honor nothing stirs nothing.moves rather she face yet again humiliation and disgrace at the hands of so called custodians of law, who play an effective role in adding insult to injury.

Women in Pakistan are not allowed to participate actively in politics. Though there are reserved seats in parliament for them, but elected representatives have failed to provide concrete solutions to the problems and perils faced by women. Being confined in the virtual chains of taboos, whenever they raise a voice against injustice and discrimination, always face disapproval, censure and hindrance put by their family, social system and Judiciary.

The upcoming generation of literate Pakistani urban women may refute this claim and state that they are outnumbering men in grabbing better positions in college and school education. In Metropolitan cities they are creating more competition for their male peers. This is true of a strong female class emerging in the urban societies, which is challenging the patriarchal agenda and voicing its aversion for discriminatory actions against women. But the fight is long and their number is still far from the right critical mass.

Illiteracy among women is pervasive in rural areas, whereas the situation in urban areas of Pakistan could be termed encouraging.Lack of education and general misconception regarding women rights are major hurdles in the emancipation of women, thus this bleak ignorance nurtures the seed of violence watered by suppression, chauvinism, and injustice. Majority of them is unaware of their own rights, it's not the religion but the social fabric and false norms, which bring discrimination between man and woman, make dominant the former and deprived, the latter. The Quran in particular is addressed to all Muslims, and for the most part it does not differentiate between male and female. Man and woman, it says, "were created of a single soul," and are moral equals in the sight of God.

But, why are they denied of equality by their society, especially those we assumed ought to be the most knowledgeable ones of the scripture of the Quran. When would they be given human status and when they would be treated equally and humanly? In particular, we are talking about Pakistani women, but this can also be said in the majority of the Islamic world.For years, women in Pakistan have been denied the enjoyment of a whole range of rights - economic, social, civil and political. Even during this epoch of "Enlightened Moderation" the need of the hour is to redress the current plight of women and that is not possible without their access to justice.

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By: Emma Alam



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