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4,548 women subjected to domestic violence during eight years

Karachi – Database Center of Madadgaar Helpline for Children & Women (a project of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid-LHRLA) has reported that 4548 women were subjected to Domestic Violence since January 2000 to August 2007 across Pakistan.

Out of total number of such cases, 107 cases were reported in 2000, 194 cases in 2001, 665 cases in 2002, 675 cases in 2003, 689 cases in 2004, 719 cases in 2005, 454 cases in 2006 while in current year since January to August as many as 1045 cases have recorded.

The database is based on cases reported in various newspapers which is only the tip of ice burg as majority people do not report domestic violence cases because of social stigma and police officers’ discriminatory attitude against women hence one can imagine the real number of cases of women victimization by their family members would be ten times greater than the reported numbers.

The province of Punjab took the lead where the number of cases reported was 2320, Sindh recorded 1505 cases, N.W.F.P. 554 cases and 169 cases of domestic violence against women were reported in Balochistan.

The types of violence against women include 247 physical torture, 618 murder, 254 sexual harassment, 1763 burn to death, 251 strangulation, 147 throat slight, 214 acid burn, sexual abuse 102, cut off physical organs 186.

Psychological violence remains attached with all kinds of physical torture and sexual abuse.The causes behind these cases of severe violence were property maters, inheritance matters, quarrel on pity matters, forced marriage, poverty, misunderstandings, husband’s frustrations, suspecting bad character etc.

Out of total number of cases 3333 women were married and 1215 were unmarried. The culprits of domestic violence includes husbands, father in-law, brother in-law, mother in-law and sister in-law in majority of married women cases.

Parents and siblings also committed violence in many unmarried women’s cases.Above mentioned year-wise break up of total number of cases clearly indicates that the trend of domestic violence is increasing day by day, and it could be because of lack of awareness and non-cooperation of police in rescuing women victims of domestic violence as well government’s failure to control the situation.

In domestic violence cases not only women are victimized but children are indirect victims as well. As they witness violence, learn violence, they learn abuse of power, they see helplessness of their mothers, they experience stress which leads towards anxiety & frustration consequently they grow as psychologically disturbed individuals, their personality development gets destroyed.

Finally if the witnessing child is male he appears as abusive adult and if the child is female she appears as submissive woman who has learnt to tolerate the violence hence the cycle of violence remains continues and violence accurse in more dangerous forms.

Despite being a state signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), there is a disturbing rise in cases of violence, murder and torture inflicted on women in Pakistan.

By accepting the Convention, Pakistan has committed to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination but still the country do not have laws on Domestic Violence. Because of non-availability of Laws police refuses to help women who come with severe injuries.

However, the women of this country can never be provided safety unless there is awareness amongst the police, judiciary and the society about the rights of women. As per the signatory status of Pakistan, according to the CEDAW article 3, “States Parties shall take in all fields …. Human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.”

it is incumbent on the government to take appropriate measures to ensure the full development of women for the purpose of guaranteeing them equal rights.

President of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid, Zia Ahmed Awan has expressed deep concern for the rise in and nature of horrifying cases and strongly suggested that the related justice agencies must take appropriate actions against offenders.

Moreover, Advocate Zia Awan recommended the implementation of bills such as the Women Protection Bill to provide security to the Pakistani woman.

Source: The Nation