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Stop violence against women!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 12:55

In a society where a lot is happening to tarnish the image of the country as a moderate nation, the recent event of honor killing which caused death of a pregnant woman through pelting, has further worsened the situation for the most disempowered and helpless folks particularly the women.

This is pity that women in Pakistan are not merely denied basic rights rather violation of these rights by their men counterparts and the society at large has become a rule rather than exception. The most exasperating part of the fact is that majority of the people don’t realize the severity of the issue. They refuse to consider it a social evil. On the other hand, they interpret it as a private affair of a family which tantamount to deriding the woes of women.

This callous approach towards women is borrowed by a large section of the society in the name of centuries old traditions and inhuman norms. Though state laws out rightly condemn such traditions but the fact is that in all such cases, the accused being the blood relative of the victims, manage to seek acquittal from courts of law because the law allows the victims’ families(culprits themselves) to forgive their assassinators.

ActionAid in collaboration with other civil society organizations have since long been struggling to highlight issues of gender based violence against women. ActionAid has been taking these issues holistically by devising strategies to ensure women’s economic empowerment, rights awareness and advocacy campaigns to guarantee passage of women friendly laws from both national and provincial legislatures.

Unfortunately, there is dearth of research data around this issue. As per the figures quoted by different civil society organizations, more than 1000 Pakistani women are killed each year by their families in the name of honor killing. This is feared that the number of such horrible incidents could be higher if a comprehensive research study is carried out across Pakistan.

This is high time for the civil society to speak loudly against inhuman incidents of honor killing. Unless women are allowed to seek education, learn entrepreneurship skills and take independent decisions, gender based violence and acts of honor killing may continue to recur in future. In Pakistan, gender based violence against women continue to prevail in different forms.

ActionAid Pakistan has developed different local level programs to raise awareness against different forms of gender based violence. Similarly a number of policy advocacy campaigns have also been launched which marked a success in recent months when Sindh government passed Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 which specified age limit of 18 and above for girls to get married.