Violence against women is the ugliest reality that’s all too common; no matter what walk of life people come from. Yet it’s still a hidden problem. Freedom from the threat of harassment and assault is a concept that most of us have a hard time imagining because violence against women has become such a deep part of our cultures and our lives.
Abuse against women at workplace is widespread more in underdeveloped counties like Pakistan. Domestic and physical abuse is, however, common in all parts of the world. No matter how hard we try to prevent violence against women by passing laws, it still happens to be the most common cause of trauma to women.
Physical abuse against women in Pakistan is an endemic social problem. Many women are in abusive situations that they cannot get away from because of social pressures and fears or just because they think that by speaking they will provoke the abuser to inflict further pain and misery.
Violence against women is woven into the fabric of Pakistani society to such an extent that most of the time the person who is victimized is treated is if she was at fault. Whereas those who perpetrate violence feel justified and usually they get away with their crimes because of the strong societal messages that say that harassment, abuse and other forms of violence against women are acceptable.
A video went viral on social media today when a female reporter of a private TV channel K-21 was slapped by an FC guard. She was doing a live show about the problems faced by citizens at NADRA registration office. This case was just another example of women abuse from our everyday lives. It got coverage and became a trending topic today because the victim was a journalist and the incident happened online.
Violence against women is a grave violation of human rights and it should be condemned without any ifs and buts. The impact of violence against women ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical and mental consequences. People tend to overlook but this behavior affects women’s general well-being in a very negative way and it prevents them from participating fully in the society.
The violence inflicted on one woman not only has negative consequences for one person but it also affects her family and her community. The consequences can last for generations and can hold back any development and sometimes they may fuel cycles of conflict. The cost we have to pay for this social behavior is tremendous and it’s far bigger than just health care and legal expenses. Turning a blind eye towards this issue will result in loss in productivity and it will impact national budgets and overall development.
The hard work and struggle of civil society and women right organizations is finally putting an end to gender-based violence on national and international agendas. Pakistan has passed a bill against domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence. The big challenge, however, remain in implementing the law and ensuring a woman’s access to safety and justice. Unfortunately, enough hasn’t done to prevent violence, and when it does occur, it often goes unpunished.
We have to stop violence against women because for too long, too many women around the country have experienced terrible abuse. According to a study carried out in 2009 by Human Rights Watch, it is estimated that between 70 and 90 percent of women in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse. An estimated 5000 women are killed per year from domestic violence, with thousands of others maimed or disabled.
We also have to tackle the culture of discrimination that allows violence against women to take place and justifies it. We have to help women into work, to support their access to all careers at all levels, and to close the gender pay gap.