Violence against women is worldwide yet hidden in our society. Freedom from harassment, sexual assaults and battering is a concept hardly imaginable for a Pakistani women. Every year thousands of girls and women have to face this violence in the name of honour. But there is no honour in honour killing.
As it is commanded in Quran
“Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (Qur’an, 5:32)
The concept of women violence is so deviously woven into the fabric of our society that victims consider themselves at fault. Every day we see images of male violence against women everywhere be it home, at work place, or on media. Even in the advertisements female is portrayed as a sex object. Accepting violence as norm is considered a part of life for women of every age, class and race.
Each one of us grows up with the fear of such violence. We consider violence like rape, battering as a part of our environment. It is something that we women fear our whole life and can be its victim any time and anywhere. Every form of violence is blood curdling for each one of us and forces us to limit our ability while making any choice of our lives.
Years ago such violence was hidden under the veil of women as their respect and dignity stayed hidden, along with any signs of violence. With time women started talking more and more about their issues and realized that violence against them occurs on a massive scale.
Same is the case of Pakistan where women fought for decades to get their rights and justice. Unfortunately still violence like acid attacks and honour killing remains very common.
Last week a bill was passed in the Punjab assembly for women protection. Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill redefines “violence” to include “any offence committed against a woman including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime”.
According to the bill passed centres will also be set up for reconciliation and resolution of women disputes. Protection Officers will be liable to inform the defendant whenever a complaint is received. Offering resistance to Protection Officers will be punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs500, 000.Once a complaint is received it will be updated into a database which will soon be set up. Filing a false complaint or levelling false accusations can be push able by up to three months in jail and or a fine of between Rs50, 000 to Rs100, 000. The law will not allow victimized women to be forced out of her house. The defendant can be made to leave the house for two days, according to the law.
This bill is of a lot of importance for every girl living in Pakistan. It gives each one of us the feeling of contentment that we have the force of law on our back now. But who knows how it will turn out to be? Already people like Mulana Fazlul Rehman started mocking Punjab government by saying that they didn’t need to present such a lengthy bill in the assembly rather they should have started acted on two word, calling the ‘husband as wife and wife as husband’.
In last few years one has seen as great number of laws enhancing women protection and rights in Pakistan which is highly commendable but what one fails to understand is why the implementation can’t be seen the way it is presented?
And another problem we are facing is that women themselves are not aware of the laws specifically meant for them, so we need to raise our voice and make them more aware. It is high time to implement what we believe in.
To avoid such violence it’s best to start prevention early in life by educating and working on young boys and girls. Making them aware of the fact that respect and equality for each gender is very important for a healthy and prosperous society. Starting with youth is the best bet for faster and sustained progress on eradicating gender based violence. We often over look this time of life but we forget that this is the time when norms and values around gender equality can be improved and put in the right direction