KARACHI: The term violence against women has been defined as a range of sexually, psychologically, and physically coercive acts used against women by current or former male intimate partners. A recent study, conducted in Karachi, reported that an alarmingly large proportion of women are subjected to physical violence and that this has serious physical and mental health consequences.
Acid-throwing is a form of violent assault. It is defined as the act of throwing acid onto the body of a person “with the intention of injuring or disfiguring [them] out of jealousy or revenge”. According to the Acid Survivor’s Foundation in Pakistan, there is a high survival rate amongst victims of acid attacks. Consequently the victim is faced with physical challenges, which require long-term surgical treatment, as well as psychological challenges, which require in-depth intervention from psychologists and counsellors at each stage of physical recovery.
Bride burning is a form of domestic violence, common in Pakistan, in which a bride is killed at home by her husband or husband’s family due to dissatisfaction over the dowry provided by her family. The act is often a result of demands for more or prolonged dowry after the marriage. Either Pakistan is home to possessed stoves which burn only young housewives, or looking at the frequency with which these incidents occur, there is a grim pattern that these women are victims of deliberate murder. The prevalence of rape in Pakistan and the general failure to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of rape, are all matters of concern.
If women are the key to Pakistan’s future, then we must figure out how to take away the barriers to their participation in national life. Indeed, a change in attitudes, culture and habits is required.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2013.