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‘Women across globe face domestic violence’

By Asad Farooq

KARACHI: Violence against women, particularly domestic, is a burning issue across the globe be it developed or developing countries, said Sehra Waheed, a United States’ citizen of Pakistani origin on Wednesday.

Waheed, who also authors a renowned book, ‘Silent Submission’, that narrates her real-life story of braving torture and domestic violence in the US was talking to the journalists, in a round table discussion, organised by the US Consulate here at a local hotel.

She explained how she was subjected to torture by her spouse with whom she had tied the knot at own will. Later, she had to contact the law enforcement agencies to help her get out of the anguished wedlock.

Waheed in a derelict but strong tone said that the women affected by domestic violence had to come forward and stand against domestic violence.

Responding to a question she said though domestic violence was prevalent in the US as well, it was difficult for a woman to get a legal solution in countries like Pakistan whereas women from developed countries like the US could easily get legal help. She said that she would like to support any project against domestic violence in Pakistan.

Waheed was accompanied by Zehra, an inhabitant of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who was constrained in a wedlock at age 16. Since the very initial days of her married life, Zehra faced the harsh behavior of her spouse. She complained to her father, who only asked her keep a mum on the pretext of family’s honour.

Zehra spent 19 years of embarrassment, pain and injustice. One day, when she came to know that she was going to be executed, Zehra decided not to remain silent and escaped. Now, under the influence and deception of her spouse, her own children hate Zehra and she is compelled to adopt asylum in another city. The participants of the discussion stressed the need for the implementation of laws against domestic violence, besides sensitising the society. The role of media was termed crucial in this regard. Several measures, including formation of committees on community basis, were discussed to tackle the issue.

Talking to Daily Times, both keynote speakers stressed the need to spread awareness and form proper mechanism to ensure the elimination of domestic violence. To a question, Zehra said that the role played by almost all the non-governmental organisations was unsatisfactory as they took the incidents as an opportunity to gain limelight and money while the issue remains unresolved.

Karachi US Consulate’s Information Officer, Amanda Cauldwell said, “As per its programme, the US Consulate brought women rights activists and other speakers to speak on politics, human rights, health, education and several other issues”. She further said that domestic violence against women was a global issue, which needs to be addressed as females form about 50 percent population of the world and a large number faces discrimination and domestic violence.

US Consulate Office of Public Affairs Information Specialist, Mushtaque A Rajpar, announced that the consulate would furnish Waheed’s book to the major libraries of metropolis.

Source: Daily Times