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‘Both men, women resort to gender-based violence’

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday stressed on raising awareness among people about gender-based violence. They also called for providing a forum for dialogue and information-sharing and lobbying with public sector stakeholders regarding the national and international commitments on gender.

They were expressing their views at the moot, titled ‘Protection Against Harassment of Women At The Workplace Act 2010”. The event that was also themed ‘Celebrating 16 Days of Activism’ was organised by Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment (DTCE). A large number of people representing civil society and other walks of life attended the seminar.

The speakers also expressed solidarity with survivors and victims of gender-based violence (GBV). They also praised economic, political and social achievements of the women of Pakistan.

DTCE celebrates women-related events every year and it aims to raise awareness about gender-based violence. It deals with various forms of violence, including physical assault, emotional torture and sexual and economic violence.

The moot also observed that perpetrators of gender-based violence are found among both men and women. Recent studies undertaken in many countries have found a high prevalence of physical and sexual violence against women by intimate male partners.

Statistics from the United Nations Population Fund indicate that 95 percent of victims of domestic violence are women, while 99 percent of perpetrators are men. The gender-based violence has devastating consequences, not only for victims, but also for society as a whole.

The programme seeks to facilitate behavioural change in society by enabling women to access information, resources and institutions, and improve societal attitudes towards women’s rights issues.

Azhar Bashir from DTCE said violence against women is a persistent and universal problem occurring in every culture and social group. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been abused in her lifetime – most often by someone she knows, including a member of her own family, an employer or a co-worker, Bashir said.

Violence against women has been called “the most pervasive yet least recognised human rights abuse in the world. Gender violence occurs in both the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres, Bashir added. Fauzia Saeed, the chief guest of the seminar, said several forms of violence against women are reported in Pakistan. They include, but not limited to, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment, “stove-burning”, dowry-related violence, honour killings, karo kari, vani, trafficking of women and girls and harassment at the workplace.

Source: Daily Times