Violence against Women in Pakistan
The theme of violence against women remains one of the most difficult issues in modern world (“Violence against Women”). Despite the fact that women are trying to fight for their rights in today’s world hoping for protection of their interests, the problem remains rather common. In many eastern countries, especially Islamic ones, violence against women is a social practice with a long history. In this regard, Pakistan shows rather high rates. As it turns out, the Pakistani women suffer from various forms of not only physical but also psychological violence that is largely based on religious and social characteristics of the country. This paper examines different forms of violence against women in Pakistan and considers the ways to combat this problem.
Considering violence against women in Pakistan, one can see that on a par with such forms as rape and forced marriage, one of the most common forms of violence is domestic violence. According to statistics for domestic violence, “approximately 70 to 90% of Pakistani women are subjected to domestic violence” (Ali and Gavino). It means that virtually every second Pakistani woman is likely to become a victim of domestic violence. In turn, domestic violence is presented in psychological and physical form. The psychological form of violence involves constant monitoring of the behavior of the woman and the way she performs her family duties. If a woman breaks the rules established by her husband, it might lead in many cases to physical violence. In this regard, the beating is the most common form of physical punishment (Ali and Gavino). In addition to this, “some common types include honor killing, spousal abuse including marital rape, acid attacks, and being burned by family members” (Ali and Gavino). According to the research, violence against women can be associated with a variety of specific reasons. In particular, if a woman gives birth to a girl, not a boy, this could be a cause of violence against her up to the murder. As reported by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, “in the year 2013, 56 women were murdered solely for giving birth to girls” (Munshey). There are cases where husbands have crippled their wives if they wanted to get a divorce and live separately from their husbands (Javeria). Such cases were full of cruelty against women because some of the men used extremely painful physical procedures. In particular, one of the Pakistani women became a victim of a “vaginal electrocution” when she started to demand respect for her women’s rights.
As one can see, violence against women in Pakistan has a variety of forms. Ultimately, this can lead not only to serious health problems; it can lead even to death. The problem is compounded by the fact that it is not accepted to make public discussion of such problems. Pakistanis are paying particular importance to the image of their family, and the publicity of such cases could lead to undermining the authority of the latter. Generally, the analysis of the problem allows one to admit the fact that the main role belongs to sociocultural characteristics of Palestine. Within these features, women face a lot of restrictions of their rights in various spheres of life. The main feature of Islamic culture presented particularly in Pakistan suggests that the main responsibilities of women are reduced to their family duties. The woman is seen as a being whose main mission is to give birth to children. Thus, family responsibilities are considered to be the sole preserve of women. The concept of a ‘good woman’ suggests that she thinks primarily about the interests of her family members. In this regard, her role in the family is negligible in comparison with the role of a husband. The latter is considered to be the head of the family, while the woman must obey him in any situation. This fact has primarily religious reasons as the practical implementation of Islamic doctrine assumes constant subordination of women to male authority. “A woman is born to obey, not question. … She is subservient to men, tradition, and honor” (Javeria).
Gender inequality in Pakistan eventually leads to the fact that women are not able to receive good education, decent-paying job, etc. Unfortunately, the widespread belief that a female has no right to vote including family sphere often leads to violence against women. This problem has an extremely negative impact not only on women but also on the whole Pakistani society. Women often have serious health problems as a result of beatings and various injuries. In its turn, showing gender inequality, the Pakistani society is faced with serious problems such as an increase in the gender tension within society as well as an increase in the level of violence as a result of gender inequality. It should be mentioned that Pakistan has adopted a number of laws that are to help women to defend their rights. However, their effectiveness is questionable, while this problem requires effective and immediate solution. Considering that the Pakistani government cannot solve this problem on its own, the assistance of other developed countries including the United States is essential. Their main task is to work with Pakistani public. Pakistani society must recognize the importance of gender equality in society and the fact that no woman should become a victim of male violence. This task is quite difficult especially because the history of gender inequality is rather long in Pakistani society. Nevertheless, this work is absolutely necessary. It can also include cooperation with religious leaders in Pakistan who can influence public opinion. Such programs should be carried out along with programs to monitor and identify the cases of violence against women.
To sum up, the situation with violence against women in Pakistan is rather complex. Pakistan demonstrates extremely high rates of violence against women in its various forms. In this context, domestic violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women. The main reason for this type of violence is a disagreement of a wife to obey her husband’s will. In Pakistan, it is believed that man is the master of the family, and his opinion is decisive. If a woman is trying to challenge the authority of her husband, it can often lead to violence against her. In turn, this violence can have not only a form of psychological pressure but also a physical punishment in the form of beatings, inflicted various injuries, etc. The government of Pakistan has taken a number of laws regarding the rights of women. Nevertheless, these laws are not yet respected in practice. Given that the problem is urgent, the intervention of other countries including the United States is justified and absolutely necessary. This intervention should include the implementation of various programs contributing to the eradication of gender inequality and the reduction of the level of violence against women in Pakistani society. The work must be carried out not only upon the public opinion but also with various religious leaders within the country.