ISLAMABAD: Cases of Violence against Women (VAW) may still number in the thousands in Pakistan, but the figures reported in 2012 dropped by 12% from the previous year, according to an annual report released by the Aurat Foundation on Wednesday. The report, however, highlighted that certain forms of violence, such as acid-throwing, have in fact increased since 2011.
A total of 7,516 cases were reported in 2012 compared to the 8,539 cases reported in 2011. Some 8,000 cases of VAW were reported in 2010, 8,548 cases in 2009 and 7,571 in 2008, respectively.
Breaking it down by province, out of the total cases reported this past year, 4,753 were reported from Punjab, 1,674 cases from Sindh, 159 cases from Balochistan, 674 cases from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and 281 cases were reported from Islamabad.
Numbers and crimes
The crimes most reported in 2012 were of abduction and kidnapping, with 1,607 such cases recorded all over the country. The second most commonly reported crime was murder, with 1,747 cases reported. Additionally, 989 cases of domestic violence were reported last year.
Disturbingly, there was also a high prevalence of rape and gang rape in the country, with cases numbering 820.
574 suicides and 432 cases of honour killings were reported as well as 83 incidents of acid throwing and 63 cases of sexual assault.
The miscellaneous category – which includes attempted suicide, torture, injury, attempt to murder, attempted rape, threat to life, harassment, attempt to kidnap, illegal custody, trafficking, vanni, forced marriage, child marriage, incest, attempt at karo kari and watta satta— added up to a total of 1,201 cases.
Despite the numbers
Although the total number of reported cases of VAW has decreased by 12%, analysis shows that several forms of violence have in fact increased. One form which shows a significant increase in reported cases is acid throwing, with a staggering 89% increase, followed by domestic violence reaching 62%, burning at 33% and murder at 11%.
The crimes that decreased in 2012 compared to 2011 were sexual assault crimes (43% decrease), honour killings (39% decrease), suicide (24% decrease) and abduction or kidnapping (23% decrease).
From Punjab and Islamabad, abduction was frequently reported, whereas from Sindh, Balochistan and K-P, murder was the most frequent crime.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.