The status of women has always been considered inferior to that of her male counterpart. Pakistan is a place where households are happy when they are blessed with a boy and go as far as to get abortions once they find out they are going to have a girl. Extremists are everywhere but still most women in Pakistan do not enjoy the same privileges and freedom their brother or father gets.
Equal rights are a separate story, but here women in many areas barely have any rights at all. Most of them are treated as second class citizens and they become subject to a lot violence. The men in our society take out their frustrations on the women of their homes and consider it their right to treat them as they wish.
Violence against women is an endemic problem of Pakistan. Violence does not only consist of physical abuse but economical, psychological, physiological and emotional abuse. The Human Rights Watch conducted a study in 2009 according to which about 70 to 90 percent of women in Pakistan had been subject to some form of abuse. The death toll per year on average of women in Pakistan reaches the high number of about 5000 with thousands being disabled or maimed.
An observational study was carried out and was published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. It was based on the mere sample of 218 in the gynaecology ward of 3 hospitals. About 97 percent of the women that were interviewed claimed that they had been victims of domestic violence which included verbal abuse, threats, non-consensual sex and beatings etc.
Everyday new cases are witnessed regarding men treating women like animals. In 2015 a man and his son beat his 12 year old daughter to death just because she did not make a round roti. Another case in which a women threw her neighbour’s 3 year old daughter in boiling Haleem just to take revenge for her son being scolded by the girl’s parents a day ago for playing cricket in the street. The girl died after 5 minutes.
Dowry is an old custom of the people of the subcontinent and is still practiced today in parts of India and Pakistan. Many women are attacked and murdered by their in-laws because they think that the dowry she brought is in sufficient. Dowry related deaths and bride burning are popularly known as stove deaths. Many acid attacks have also taken place. A lot of attention was brought to this after in 2012 when Sharmeen Obiad- Chinoy released the documentary saving face. Reasons such as refusing marriage proposals and turning down men’s advances have led to acid being thrown on women. The Acid Survivors Foundation reports that about 150 such attacks happen every year and most of the victims are women
Being called the honour of their homes, whenever a male has to take revenge from anyone, he causes harm to the women of the household. In rural areas whenever a man commits a crime against some person the chiefs of the village punish him by asking him to send his sister as a peace offering. The girl has to bear the consequences of her brother’s or father’s crime.
Domestic violence is not considered a crime by the law and so women get no help even if they report it to the authorities. Most of them are too dependent on their fathers or husbands and so cannot go against them. All this power gives men the leisure to treat women as they please. Thus, domestic violence against women is a major issue in Pakistan.