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Violence against women on the rise in Punjab

LAHORE: Some 3,035 cases of violence against women were recorded in the first six months of 2011 in Punjab, says a report.

Ex-MNA Mehnaz Rafi, MPA Sajida Mir, Legal Advisor to Governor Abdullah Malik, Erum Sajjad Gul, Advocate Supreme Court, Nabeela Shaheen Regional Coordinator and Abid Ali Programme Officer while addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Thursday said an NGO released these statistics in the first of its bi-annual reports for 2011 on violence against women in the province.

The report said 3,301 women and 266 men had been victimized from January to June 2011. The report is the work of Aurat Foundation under its PDM-VAW project. The data showed that abduction/kidnapping topped the list as the most frequent crime with a total of 1,069 women victims. Murder came in second with a total of 611 victims. Out of these, 156 cases were instances of honour killing, and 96 women were targeted with attempts to murder but survived.

There were 345 victims of rape/gang rape including two cases of incest. Suicide was also seen on a high level with 278 women committing suicide and 189 attempting to commit suicide. Apart from these cases, the types of offences committed are as follows: acid throwing, burning, domestic violence, early marriage, forced marriage, trafficking, and threat to life, harassment, illegal custody, vani, sexual assault, torture and injury.

Of the total 3,035 cases 2,542 cases were registered with the police, i.e. their FIRs were registered while 103 were not registered and 390 did not have enough information to be registered. Furthermore, 1,404 cases were reported from the rural areas of Punjab, 1,489 from the urban areas, and 142 cases were unknown. It’s pertinent to note here that the urban areas show a higher number of cases irrespective of claiming to be more literate and sensitized.

Of the total females victimized in Jan-June 2011, 1,558 have been unmarried, 1,309 married, 43 divorced, 65 widowed and 326 were unknown. The age group distribution showed that 506 women were under 18 years of age, 267 women ranged from 19 to 36 years of age and 61 were above 36. The ages of 2,467 women were unknown.

It is a very alarming scenario that most of the abusers are husbands, fathers, brothers, relatives or people they knew. It reflects the insecurity of these supposedly secure relationships where the ‘protectors’ are the ones who are actually committing crimes against women.

A district wise categorization of the data shows that Lahore has a large number of VAW cases; Lahore 506 cases, Faisalabad 499, Rawalpindi 220 cases, Sargodha 168, Multan 165, Chakwal 143 and Sheikhupura 128 cases. Moreover, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Jehlum, Attock and Okara also show a reasonably large number of VAW cases.

According to the data, from January to June 2011, 18 women are being victimized daily in Punjab. On average, the further break-up is as mentioned; 5 abducted, 2 murdered, 2 raped and one suicide per day. Out of the 986 cases of abduction, 1,069 women, and 39 men &children were victimized.

Of the 1,069 women, 741 were unmarried, while 277 were married. In most of these cases, the abductor was a known person or a local residential, neighbour etc. Motives behind such cases were reported as marriages of choice, revenge etc. the district-wise break-up in abduction cases is:

Lahore 127 cases, Faisalabad 199 cases, Rawalpindi 68, Sargodha 60 and Sheikhupura 55 cases. In 405 murder cases, 455 women and 62 men were victimized. Most of the murderers were husbands, brothers, sons and fathers.

Source: The News