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‘Rape survivors must be encouraged to speak out’

‘Rape survivors must be encouraged to speak out’

LAHORE: Governor Chaudhry Sarwar has termed rape the most heinous form of violence, saying it must be ensured that no one in the country can feel that he can get away with this crime.

“We must encourage rape survivors to speak out and the society must not blame the survivors,” he said while addressing the UN Women Pakistan event at Governor House, marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Mr Sarwar also said identifying male gender champions to seek equitable relationships in the public and private spheres was one of the cornerstones for eliminating violence.

“Men need to not just respect the rights of women but also support and protect these rights with their words and actions,” he said.

Nabila Malik, GBV adviser UN Women, said globally one in three women was impacted by violence at some stage of her lives.

“We are calling on the people from all walks of life to learn more and take a stand against the pervasive rape culture,” she added.

AIG Punjab Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh gave a presentation on the cases of violence against women from 2015 to 2019.

According to the data, in 2015, around 283 women domestic workers were reported to be murdered, 372 in 2018 and 362 in 2019. At least, honour killing cases have been dropping consistently as there were 269 cases in 2015, and 149 in 2019. Rape cases, however, presented a more dire situation. In January 2018, there were 2,846 women raped while 3,387 were raped in 2019. Prosecution of these rape cases was even worse. As per the data from 2014 to18, around 2,281 cases were decided and 152 rapists were convicted in 2014. There were 2,618 cases in 2015 and 144 were convicted; in 2016, 2746 were decided and 155 were convicted; in 2017 there were 2,998 cases were decided and 186 were convicted. In 2018, there were 2,937 cases decided and 189 convicted.

Mr Kashif from Punjab Directorate of Ministry of Human Rights, Punjab Minister for Women Development Ashifa Riaz Fatyana, Uzma Kardar, Lubna Manzoor, Shamza Ali, and others also spoke.

LCWU: The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence was celebrated at the Department of Gender, Development Studies and Women Institute for Leadership and Learning (WILL) at the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU).

It was held in collaboration with the Bedari Organisation. A provincial conference and parliamentary dialogue were also organised.

The events were aimed at raise awareness on girls’ rights and to eliminate child marriage, child sexual abuse and other forms of violence against girls.

A documentary, Ehsas Ki Rukhsati, was also played. There were three sessions in the conference.

Speakers in the three sessions of the conference included Adeel Qaiser, director programme Oxfam, Kaneez Fatima, chairperson-Punjab Women Protection Authority (WPA), Dr Talat Sohail, director Women Institute for Leadership and Learning (WILL), Dr Subah Malik, head of Gender and Development Studies Department, Ambreen Ajaib, representative Bedari Organisation, Sadia Sohail (PTI MPA), Bushra Khaliq, executive director WISE Organisation, Nabeela Shaheen, coordinator Mumkin Alliance.

Dawn

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