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Plight of women

Plight of women

Islamabad:Zohra (name changed to protect privacy) came out of the violent relationship and approached Family Protection and Rehabilitation Center commonly known as Women Crisis Center in Islamabad, as she didn’t want her children to live with the same abuse and remain illiterate. Her journey would not be easy but she is ready to fight and have taken her decision.

“When no one in my family helped me get out of there, I decided to take a decision on my own,” said determined Zohra who shared her story in an informal interactive session with Secretary for Ministry of Human (MoHR) Rights Rabiya Javeri Agha held at the Center to commemorate International Day on Violence against Women (VAW). The event was organised by the Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration UN Women as part of their activities planned for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Zohra is not alone. There are 33 such brave women along with 17 children accompanying them at this time at the Center. There Sheroes from modest background and little capacity to survive in the society are the real fighters who stood up for their rights and continued their struggle for dignity despite all odds.

“My brother in law alleged me of steeling. My in laws were very violent with me. So I decided to come to this center,” said Asiya.* Another survivor Husna (name changed) seemed to belong to a well off family. “There were some family and property issue. Neither my in-laws nor my own family helped me. I didn’t want to give up my right. I came here for help,” she said while sharing her story.

Nuzhat (name changed) with one-year old Ayesha in her lap, told ‘The News’ that she was beaten by her brother in law as her husband was away from the country for work. “He used to beat me mercilessly. When I complained to my husband, he always asked me to forgive him,” she said. She decided to leave home with her daughter. “They still threaten me that they will take away my daughter. Can they really do that?” said Nuzhat asking the scribe with fear in her eyes.

Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2017-18 reflects that 34 per cent of ever-married women (age 15 to 49) have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence. The most common type of spousal violence is emotional violence (26%), followed by physical violence (23%). Of this, 56% of Pakistani women never sought help and disclose GBV due to socio-cultural barriers, economic dependency and lack of information, accessibility as well as existence of support systems such as health care and psycho-social support services. The percentage of women who have experienced spousal physical, sexual or emotional violence is highest in erstwhile FATA (66%), followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (52%) and Balochistan (49%), Punjab (32%) and Sindh (18%).

In her message on the International Day on VAW, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari said that violence against women is an issue that affects women across the world. “In Pakistan we have laws for the protection of women against all forms of violence but unfortunately there is a lack of awareness; and within society and families there is insensitivity toward this issue. Our government is committed to creating greater awareness and ensuring that this crime of violence against women is punished with no exceptions. Women and girls need to be protected and their safety and security, both physical and mental, ensured by the state and by society.”

Secretary MoHR Rabiya Javeri Agha also stressed to create awareness among women and society in general about facilities, laws and mechanisms created by the government to facilitate survivors of VAW. She also urged the stakeholders to work on creative occupations for survivors.

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