The Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) has released the latest statistics pertaining to violence against women in the Punjab.
According to the NGO, the latest figures pose serious concerns for human rights advocates working on gender issues in the province. In a joint statement AWAM representatives Naseem Anthony, Ms Shazia George and Ms Nazia Sardar expressed grave concern over the significant rise in incidents of violence against women.
“Violence against women in the province isn’t a one off occurrence, it is the norm,” Sardar said. “Many cases still continue to go unreported. These figures do not account for hundreds of domestic abuse cases that often go unnoticed,” said Sardar. Ms George said that least 1,469 incidents of violence against women were reported in the Punjab during the first six months of 2011 (from January to June). “The latest figures we have compiled reveal that the highest number of cases pertain to kidnapping and gang rapes,” she added.
AWAM revealed a detailed presentation on these statistics on the international day for elimination of all forms of violence against women. The NGO said that women continued to be abused and assaulted in the context of marriages more often than any other incident. “There are hundreds of cases of marital rape that go unreported because most women themselves don’t know that they have the right to refuse their husbands. Other violence occurs in the context of in-laws torturing women because they don’t give their husbands sons,” said Naseem Anthony. “These medieval practices are witnessed daily in Pakistan. No matter what we do in the Parliament the statistics on the ground keep getting worse. The main reason for this is that pro-women legislation is not being enforced,” she added.
According to the statistics for the first six months of this year, 123 women were raped in southern Punjab, while another 46 were gang raped. A total of 158 women were murdered, while 58 were killed in the name of ‘honour’; 621 were kidnapped, and 65 committed suicide. “There have been at least 27 recorded cases of acid throwing and stove burning in the province,” Anthony added. “A total of 152 were beaten, 20 reported harassment and seven were sold in ‘midnight auctions’,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.
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