With violence against women on the rise, we need to focus on creating awareness, former National Assembly member Mehnaz Rafi said at a seminar on Monday where the Aurat Foundation released its biannual report on Violence against women in the Punjab during July 2011 and December 2011.
The report, released on Monday in a seminar, was based on statistics on incidents of domestic violence, kidnap, rape, murder, honour killings and incest.
Rafi stressed a need for changing the mindset and attitudes.
“Both our law and religion seek to protect women’s rights,” she said, adding, “but the situation is worsening.”
Mohammad Tehseen, the South Asia Partnership Pakistan executive director, askd, “Does our provincial minister have any explanation to the fact that an average five women were kidnapped everyday in the province?”
He said it was shocking to note that areas where women had become vocal, had reported an increase in violence against women.
“It’s not just about laws. It’s how they are implemented,” he added.
Tehseen also commented on the increase in honour killing. He said it was unfortunate that killers in these cases defined honour to their convenience and it ‘restored’ at the cost of a life.
About incest cases, he said, it was next to impossible for young children to report it.
MPA Sajida Mir said the government had provided no support structure for women victims of violence.
She urged the government to allocate funds for the social welfare and protection of women. She also suggested a helpline to provide immediate assistance to women in distress.
As many as 3,153 incidents of violence against women were reported in the Punjab during July 2011 and December 2011.
It states that incidents of kidnappings were the most reported crime (860), with Sargodha on the top of the list with 90 reported abductions. As many as 19 women were subjected to various forms of violence on daily basis with five being kidnapped everyday.
The statistics represent a two per cent rise in violent crime against women compared to the first six months of 2011. It also indicated that the incidence of violence in the rural areas was greater than in the urban areas.
More than 170 women were killed in the name of ‘honour’ from July to December, most of them under 25 years old.
In most of the almost 500 rape and attempted-rape cases that alleged offenders were related to the victims in one way or the other. The rape cases were reported from Lahore, Kasur, Sialkot, Pakpattan and Multan districts.
The highest number of incidents of violence was reported from Lahore (248), followed by Rawalpindi (239).
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.