Fight against gender violence continues to flounder

Published: February 21, 2012

Speakers said the existing laws and policies need to be implemented if we are to end violence against women. ILLUSTRATION: SAMAD SIDDIQUI

ISLAMABAD: The fight against gender violence continues to flounder, with men being the primary hurdle in implementation of policies related to women rights.

This was the crux of a seminar on gender-based violence, organised by the Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment on Tuesday at a local hotel to mark the National Women’s Day.

Students, civil society members, activists and journalists attended the event.

Speakers said the existing laws and policies need to be implemented if we are to end violence against women. The government should also focus on ensuring access to services for protection and rehabilitation of women subjected to violence.

Dr Rakhshanda Perveen, Executive Director Creative Anger, said that men should be included in seminars on gender violence, as they are the social gatekeepers in the Pakistani society.

Rabeea Hadi, National Coordinator Aurat Foundation, said 8,539 cases of violence against women were reported in 2011. She said that majority of the cases were reported either from urban centres or places with cash crops.

Saba Ismail, Executive Director Aware Girls, said according to a survey in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 90% of men believe that they have the right to commit acts of violence against women. What’s more worrying, however, is that 90% of female respondents also agreed with this point of view.

The event was part of a campaign of Gender Equity Programme, implemented by Aurat Foundation in collaboration with The Asia Foundation and funded by USAID. The campaign is focusing on raising awareness on gender-based violence, provide a forum for dialogue and information sharing.

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