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International Women’s Day: Exhibition encourages joint efforts to fight violence

By Mahtab Bashir
ISLAMABAD: Nomad Gallery on Sunday opened a two-day exhibition of paintings and posters on its premises to mark International Women’s Day.
The exhibition, being organised with the collaboration of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM- Pakistan), was titled ‘unite to end violence against women’.
A panel, consisting of UNIFEM head Alice Shackleort, poetess Kishwar Naheed and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) chief Kamal Hayat, selected paintings and posters for the exhibition.
The works of art highlighted different kinds and aspects of violence against women through symbols and colours both dull and bright.
Progressive Women’s Association (PWA) exhibited posters carrying images of the women victims of honour killing, acid attack, stove explosion, gang rape, molestation, harassment, involuntary divorce and state violence.
A discussion among poets, writers and artists on issues and challenges facing them was also part of the event.
There also held a seminar on ‘Institutionalising Gender Mainstreaming’, ‘Media and Women’s Human Rights’, ‘The Rise of Violence Against Women: Highlighting Issues and Strategies’, ‘Women Dealing with Harassment and Abuse’ and ‘Bol Keh Lab Azad Hain Teray’. A Women Action Forum’s statement was also read out on the occasion.
PWA Director Shahnaz Bukhari said domestic violence against women was on the rise in the country. She said often, domestic violence was dismissed as a private matter in society.
She said sexual abuse, mental and physical torture, honour killing and marriage with Quran were common acts of violence against women. She said regrettably, such acts were acceptable to the majority of the people concerned in the name of traditions and customs.
Bukhari said no legal or social support system was available to the victims of violence and distress.
Uks Director Taslim Ahmer talked about women rights issues covered in media, while Aasha Director Fauzia Saeed shed light on women harassment at different places.
They called for public-private collaboration for creating women awareness of violence and ways and means to fight them.
Source: Daily Times

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