Violence or value: Choice is yours
Legislative protection is also not being practiced to halt the practice of violence. Similarly, laws which are not women-friendly are also fanned by the semi-Mullahs who are using the religion as a tool against women. Violence is generally defined to be act that inflicts severe physical, psychological and sexual harm to an individual. Violence can be against men but 90% of the cases that grasp attention show women to be the victims either at the hands of males, intimate partners, co-workers and relatives. Violence is the extreme form in which one’s right to life is not secured. It starts from harassment, bullying, teasing and aggravates to extreme forms in which one’s life and chastity are under threat.
Dowry deaths, rape, physical assault, bride burning, acid throwing, forced prostitution and female genital mutilation are some of the most heinous crimes committed against women. Almost all over the world women are struggling against the well established patriarchal structures reinforcing the idea of inequality between the two genders, where such behaviours on part of men are considered appropriate and are true representation of their masculinity. Nascent stalking, persecution and women trafficking are silent features and dark spots exist in many societies. Ironically, in some traditional parts of our beloved country, lives of women and girls are completely under control of male dominated society, bringing their lives to stand still. It impinges on their ability to work, restricts their mobility and shakes their confidence and is also a serious public health issue.
Almost 50% of the population comprise the women. Realistically speaking, in such sophisticated age still women are having difficulty in representing themselves as competent and significant members of the society due to the consequences — they have to face. In our society, female cadre has minimum say in the political arena; even in traditional societies right to vote is considered to be a male prerogative. It is to put women in perpetual subordination and to make them inferior by delimiting them and making their mobility restricted. The potential perpetrators in most of the cases are absolved since they have taken the right step to uphold the rotten system which is against the freedom of women. Societies are shaped much by the prevalent cultural practices in most parts of the South a woman’s worth is nothing more than a commodity or a man’s property. Violence is an important issue in the realm of women’s life. As a result of the existing understanding and knowledge regarding the issue of violence certain intervention programs have been employed or executed.
Heavy duty lies on the shoulder of the civil society and law enforcing agencies to secure women to become victims of various forms of violence. Role of anti violence, anti harassment campaigns and of media to eliminate violence is pertinent. Violence and harassment against women is such a widespread issue that women belonging to different racial, ethnic, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds have to face it as a part of their everyday lives.
—The writers work for IPRI.