Women, violence and society, the way forward | By Waqar Hassan


Women, violence and society, the way forward 

LET them subsist; this earth also belongs to them; let them luxuriate in the beauties of the natural world. Women, in tyrannical communities, are treated like plebeian beings.

Such societies crush women, repudiate their rights and never let them breathe facilely. Lugubriously it is stated that women are subjugated to savagery, mortification, social smirch and what else — particularly in developing countries.

And for a peace-loving society, paroxysmal propensities against women are a bane. Such hostile proclivities are rife in many parts of the world and our country is no exception to it.

In fact, mushrooming browbeating and outraging bends toward women in Pakistan can be attributed to our sagging moral values and the appalling state of rule of law in the country.

Having placed at 153rd position out of 156 countries on the Global Gender Gap 2021 index by the World Economic Forum, Pakistan is witnessing a spike in gender-based violence.

A skyward surge in complaints, regarding domestic and online violence, is observed during the years 2020 and 2021, according to a report by The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

This upsurge of violence against women hurls a question upon us that are the women in our country living amid a plenary sense of security?

The answer invites a debate on this critical issue. Indeed, there are numerous laws to bulwark women against any kind of maim to them.

But poor implementation of laws sets the pace for the incitement of hammer-and-tongs tendencies against women.

In Pakistan, women confront multiple challenges that jeopardize their safety, at home and workplace; we seriously need to contend with the core issues that exacerbate the occurrence of such crimes.

To start with, the victim of sexual and physical violence requires psychological counselling and social hand-holding.

But the irony is that society usually dispraises the victim which is one of the causes of the astounding upsurge in the cases of violence against women.

Besides, if such barbaric acts, especially cases of rape and sexual harassment, are reported by the media, it turns out to be a life-long embarrassment for the victims.

Resultantly, many women choose to stay quiet for safeguarding family honour which gives the perpetrators of the crime ample courage to keep inflicting misery on the victim.

Having said that, influence peddling, by the puissant criminals, begets pressure on victims which dragoons them to step back out of the fear of falling for the bait again.

Similarly, many cases of exercise of violence against women also go unreported owing to the paucity of trust of people in the system, keeping the victim in a state of Gehenna.

Furthermore, hiccups and crannies in the investigation process bring further anguish to the victims.

Actually, trepidation of getting chastised dissuades criminal-minded elements from materializing acts involving fury and battering against the enfeebled gender, but exiguous and sapped implementation of laws fade away the fear factor, resulting in up-ticking of gender-based violence.

Besides, familial violence gains momentum when the compulsion to have children and make a family leaves no option for many women but to accept torture as their fate offering the victim no choice but to choose from the devil and the deep sea.

And many women acclimatize themselves to oppressive circumstances to obviate the social stigma of divorce which forces them to endure such blood and guts tendencies throughout their lifetime.

Withal, as a society, we seriously fall behind in providing education, the best buckler against tyranny, to our girls, rendering them vincible to such social evils.

With might and main, property rights are taken away from many women, making them bank on their male counterparts which makes them prone to the torridness of life.

In addition to it, psychological violence, which is the most sinister one in nature, erupts when a mentally inimical offender takes to social media platforms to falsely tarnish the repute and social standing of the victim.

Indubitably, the incidences of whaling and flogging of women are gaining ground in our society.

Therefore, to pulverize this crime, aiding, embracing and supporting victims of violence, through the following means, are the leadoff steps.

First, positive redoing in social attitudes can de-escalate the chances of an outbreak of this moral ailment.

It can be done through seminars and media campaigns to give awareness to the public to demean the intensity of such crimes.

Secondly, a crackerjack task force, involving women police officers, should be formed for investigating and solving cases of violence against women.

Unquestionably, a dedicated helpline for women and girls’ protection can help law enforcement agencies to deal with this offence on priority.

Such an approach can trigger a prompt response from law enforcement agencies to such kinds of complaints which is cardinal to inhibit the criminals from materializing their unholy plots.

Fourth, the assuredness of the castigation of the criminals is a prerequisite for confecting the trust of people in the criminal justice system.

If justice is served timely, crime peters out from society. Fifth, we need to extend rights to women in all spheres of life.

Empowering women, by educating them, can be instrumental. An empowered woman becomes capable enough to deal with such kinds of threats.

For good measure, including women in the decision-making process and furnishing them with rights of property can, significantly, compress the space for the perpetrators to inflict harm upon women.

Most importantly, we need to school our youth that violence is not a solution to any problem as it breeds brawls, and differences of opinion should not be taken as a justification for playing blood-and-guts with women.

Women are not lesser human beings. They lay the foundations of society, and if women are not guarded against slash-and-burn practices, we, as a nation, cannot thrive and prosper.

Therefore, time calls for making the protection of women a top priority for making our society a safe haven for women.

However, in case of failure in making this happen, the delicate fabric of our society will get rotten to its core.

—The writer is CSS Officer, based in Lahore.


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