The bill for the protection of women, no matter whatever resistance mobilises from the religious sections of society, is a timely effort to secure the female population against societal violence. The violence against women is a crime against humanity, which our society is experiencing in day to day life. Not one but thousands of cases of violence and assault, recorded and unrecorded, against the female population are committed in our society each year. As the investigations into the incidents show, in majority cases women prove innocent or own little responsibility for the outrage in which they are the major sufferers. Women need protection against violence and societal injustices.
The major factors accountable for all this is the growing male-chauvinism, revengeful attitude of society towards females, and the societal norms as well as the social inferiority of their status confining them mostly to the household duties without any voice in public due to the highest rate of female illiteracy.
As the records show the lack of literacy amongst females accounts largely for the violence and deprived status in society. The cases of violence and human rights violation are nominal in case of educated females as they are less vulnerable to the societal pitfalls and male chauvinists’ behaviour than the ones without education. The illiteracy is the root-cause of their being helpless against societal violence and discrimination.
Apart from the male chauvinism, our society is least tolerant and highly revengeful of females’ misdemeanor and stubbornness. The females’ minor wrongdoing is not acceptable to the families and there is no excuse for them. They are considered as dishonourable for the family.
There are common cases of cold-blooded murders in Pakistan where females accused of developing affairs are subject to innocent killings. They are branded as siakar, which literally means adultery. The killing of siakars is a centuries old norm, still practiced in this modern age. To put it simply: a man and a woman suspected of having “illicit relations” are put to death. Such murders are common in Pakistan’s male dominated rural/tribal areas, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan with low literacy rates and socio-cultural backwardness.
Over the family affairs, females particularly the ones without education, stand more fragile and are the main sufferers. Against the basic Islamic principle requiring her consent for marriage she is tied up by her parents with an odd match for the sake of vulver (bride-price), sata-wata(giving and taking in marriages each other’s daughters) or settling family feuds. In the entrenched tribal system the settling of many family feuds, particularly over the murder cases, involve the giving daughters in marriages of the accused to the bereaved.
An engineer was murdered by his rival. The FIR was registered against the man and was arrested. The dispute was however settled mutually by a notable Pir (a religious man) with the consent of both parties involved. The bereaved party put forth a demand of two lakh rupees in cash and marrying of one of the sisters of the killer with the brother of the killed. The settlement was materialised, payment was made and the girl, 16 years old and a very good-looking, was married to a person against all her wishes. Hundreds of girls, like her, are forced to sacrifice their happiness at the altar of family disputes. They have no choice. If they run away, the custodians of the family find her and put to death.
Apart from the societal stigma, the run away from their husband’s houses over family grievances and harsh treatment are liable to severe punishment. Even her own parent’s house may not provide sanctuary against those whose honor and trust she has allegedly violated. The revengeful hunt for them often results in mutilating and killing of such girls. There are cases when husbands are provoked over their wives’ plea in the court for divorce due to the ill treatment they mete out to them. The commitment of violence and infringement of the rights of females is a sad aspect of our society. Lack of education and moral values is the root cause of these injustices in our society, where the man is encouraged to subdue the woman.