LAHORE: Aurat Foundation (AF), under its USAID funded Gender Equity Program (GEP), launched five research studies on gender based violence (GBV) on Thursday that provides a comprehensive analysis of some crucial aspects of GBV prevalent in Pakistani society.
The researches include ‘A Primary Data Research Study on Domestic Violence’ by Sebcon; ‘A Research Study on Internal Trafficking of Women and Girls in Pakistan’ by Maliha Hussein & Shazreh Hussein; ‘A Primary Data Research Study on Customary Practices Leading to Gender Based Violence’ by Department of Gender Studies, University of Lahore; ‘A Primary Data Research Study Sexual Harassment’ by Semiotics Consultants (Pvt.) Limited and ‘A Primary Data Research Study Social & Legal Responses to Rape’ by Naghma Imdad.
The Gender Equity Program (GEP) is a fundamental part of Aurat Foundation’s long-term commitment and action to serving the cause of women’s empowerment and advancement in Pakistan. GEP is a five-year USAID-supported, grant-making programme which aims to close the gender gaps in Pakistan. Implemented with the collaboration of Asia Foundation, GEP strives to facilitate behavioural change, enable women to access information, resources and institutions, acquire control over their lives and improve societal attitudes towards women and their empowerment. Combating gender based violence is one of the four major objectives of GEP.
The research studies on GBV are part of GEP’s efforts to pursue this objective that is directly linked with development of women in the country. Findings and recommendation of these studies have not only helped to assess the enormity and patterns of different forms of GBV prevalent in Pakistanis society, but have also proved to be an invaluable asset for GEP sub-grant cycles 6 that is designed to offer seamless service to victims and survivors of violence. They will also help in the design of grant cycle 8 which is on access to justice. The research studies depict that almost 100 per cent respondents viewed domestic violence as a serious issue. The findings reveal that violence has long lasting effects on women and children. Children often repeat the violence they see at home. In Primary Data Research Study on Customary Practices Leading to Gender Based Violence, 68 per cent respondents shared that early marriages, watta satta and honor killings are the most prevalent customary practice that leads to gender based violence. It shows that 64 per cent of the times, cases of GBV linked with customary practices are not filed with police. The findings show that human trafficking is most likely to occur in areas where there is a concentration of illegal migrants or internally and externally displaced individuals owing to natural disasters or political and social conflicts. The factors that assist internal trafficking to thrive in Pakistan include criminal intent, financial gain, poverty, illiteracy, patriarchal views and injustices imbedded in deeply held beliefs and customs in context to women.