By: Xari Jalil
LAHORE: One in every three women is a victim of violence, revealed UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Kazi while speaking at the formal launch of a short video that was earlier released online only.
Meant for social media, the video features pioneering women from various fields challenging their male counterparts to beat them at their own game. It includes singer Meesha Shafi, journalist Sana Bucha, mountaineer Samina Baig and athlete Naseem Hameed among others. Their words “beat me” do not sound too right initially but later prove that they are talking about being challenged in their respective fields.
“Women who are victims of all kinds of violence are sadly mostly attacked by those who they trust the most,” continued Kazi. “A woman should have the right to walk safely, to be safe at home, and in the public place, whether it is her place of work, or place of leisure. Keeping all this into consideration, UN Women Pakistan has brought this campaign so that people can engage in discussing why it is that women are not challenged in the professional field. At the same time, we are not demonising or ostracising men because we know many men and boys are also victims of violence, but instead we are focusing on women who are victims because of their sex and gender.”
The campaign coincides with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, a global initiative led by UN Women on behalf of the UN Secretary-General’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, from Nov 25 (International Day to End Violence Against Women) until Dec 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Kazi said it was important to include men in the process of campaigning. The biggest barrier that men had in campaigning for women was the ideas that were drilled into them since childhood.
The message of the video focused on the strength of women no matter where they are from and debunks the erroneous notion of women being inferior to men. “We wanted the word ‘beat’ to be associated with something other than physical abuse,” said Faria Salman, UN Women Pakistan’s head of communications.
Panelists at the launch pointed out how important it was for men and women to support each other.
Fiza Farhan, chief executive officer of Bukhsh Energy and Bukhsh Foundation, said she was very young when she took up the position, and while it was intimidating at first, she resolved not to back down.
Musarrat Misbah, who runs the Acid Survivors Foundation, was also present at the occasion. Speaking to Dawn she said women should be made aware of the laws that protect them. “In remote areas often when a woman is burnt by acid even as an accident they do not bother treating her.”