Growing Domestic Violence; Need for Action
Domestic violence is also known as ‘domestic abuse’. It can be interpreted as a pattern of behavior adopted to gain and maintain power over the partner. It includes behaviors such as threatening, manipulation, humiliation, physical, sexual and psychological abuse to influence or control the other person. It occurs within the family members such as between husband and wife or among other family members.
Major Sources of Domestic Violence
In Pakistan, a tremendous enlargement in domestic violence cases has been observed. The major causes of domestic violence include the patriarchal society, lack of education and awareness, low social status of women, and inadequate protection by the law. In most Asian countries (like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India) men are considered superior to women. Women are raised in a society where females assume themselves as incomplete, vulnerable, and less confident without men and men are authoritative and have economic and social privilege.
In most of the regions, girls are not allowed to study and due to lack of education, they do not get aware of their rights. In this patriarchal society, there is insufficient protection by the law so in the majority of the cases women are suppressed, humiliated, tortured, abused, and exploited.
The Silent Culture
Society plays a vital role in the development of culture and setting the norms. It has become a part of a culture that 1 out of 3 women is battered, bullied, and physically tortured by her husband and the other family member cannot interfere because it is their personal life. A greater number of women adopt the silent culture and do not speak of their sufferings to anyone because of several reasons. One of the reasons for not sharing their miseries is, they are extremely afraid of the vexing attitude and threats of the males. Also, they are not accepted by society.
Domestic Violence&Its Consequences
Women are harassed, tortured, persecuted, raped, and brutely murdered. Domestic violence has an immense effect on females. Some of the women encounter severe mental health disorders, psychological issues, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, the studies have revealed that a huge number of women commit suicide.
Not only the victim suffers through consequences but the children and the whole family. The initial period of children is fundamental for growth, learning, and grooming. Children are highly neglected. They do not acquire an appropriate environment for their growth and nourishment. They get mature before their age, lack confidence, courage, and start to underestimate themselves.
Domestic Abuse in Pakistan
The number of reported cases of domestic destruction is increasing rapidly in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked as the sixth most dangerous country for women and the second-worst country that ranked 148th in the terms of gender equality. According to a media report, there were 180 recorded women murder cases in 2018, and the number of cases increased to 217 in 2019.
The most common violence includes shouting or yelling (76%), slapping (52%), threatening (49%), and pushing (40%). All the data and reports revealed that all types of violence against women and girls are intensified. According to the news, the ratio of violence increased by 45% in KP during the Covid-19 pandemic. The reports present an alarming situation in the country regarding the failure of the government in protecting women.
Every day there is a new report of a woman being a victim of physical abuse, rape, or murder. According to a media report, a man from Nankana Sahib murdered his wife with an axe. She left the house earlier because her husband used to abuse her physically. The man brought her back and promised not to repeat. He murdered her the same day in front of their daughter.
A video got viral on 4th July, 2021 of two men beating their sister and mother with a helmet and a hammer because she asked for her rightful inheritance. On July 7th, 2021, Usman Mirza allegedly breaks into a hotel room and assaults a couple. On July 15th, 2021, a husband tortured his wife and killed her in Hyderabad. Raza Ali shot his wife and injured his children in Peshawar on 18th July 2021. Zahir Jaffer raped and brutely killed Noor Mukaddum in Islamabad.
The mentioned cases are those which are viral and reported, there are thousands of incidents and cases that are not even reported because in Pakistan people are reserved to report.
Implementation of the Law
The anti-violence bill was passed on July 6th, 2021 by the senate. The bill states that the perpetrator shall be punished with imprisonment of a maximum period of three years and a fine of Rs 100,000 and a minimum of Rs 20,000 shall be paid as compensation. The bill was passed from the lower house and referred to the upper house.
The members of the opposition parties of the National Assembly objected to the bill. The bill was referred back to the National Assembly for the amendments. Due to the political opposition, they were against the bill. This gave perpetrators the free will to indulge in crime fearlessly. After the objection of the bill, the violence and abuse cases are increased.
Immediate measures should be taken against the perpetrators and they should be given such punishment that gives a lesson to the other people. The bill should be passed against violence for the prevention and protection of women. The law intends to create an effective system of domestic violence protection, alleviation, and rehabilitation for women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people. It also strives to help victims of domestic violence who are in domestic relationships and are linked to one another through consanguinity, marriage, or kinship, among other things.
Violence Prevention Strategies
With the rapid increase of domestic violence, it is necessary to work on the tactics to overcome the situation and to deal with the circumstances at the moment. Following are the violence prevention strategies proposed by the World Health Organization:
- Developing safe and stable relationships with the children and their parents. The parents should educate the children difference between right or wrong. Parents should train their children to share everything with them.
- Developing life skills in children and adolescents. Children should take part in pre-school programs and social development programs.
- Diminishing the availability and harmful use of alcohol. Alcohol leads to several harmful things. It can be done by increasing the rates of alcohol. There should be a proper ban on alcohol usage.
- Decreasing access to guns, knives, and pesticides. All the toxic things should be ban. Several policies should be implied over the use of such items.
- Supporting gender equality to prevent violence against women. It can be adopted by demolishing the concept of dominance, superiority, oppression, and suppression.
- Shaping cultural and social norms that promote violence. The culture and practices that promote domestic violence should be changed.
- Victim identification, care, and assistance programs. Education should be provided regarding victim identification and it should be guided that how to recognize perpetrators.
The government should take immediate action against the perpetrators and punish them. The anti-violence bill should be passed because due to the party’s opposition, it is the women or girls who are being victimized.