Trapped by traditions: Report launched on violence against women
By Sohail Chaudhry
ISLAMABAD: A report titled ‘Policy and Data Monitor on Violence against Women’ was launched on Tuesday in a seminar, organised by Aurat Foundation.
Speaking at the seminar, National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairman Dr Arifa Syeda said so-called religious scholars remained silent on illogical customs.
“Our religion has no space for practices like Vani and Swara but the people following and supporting these practices consider them a part of religion and culture,” she said.
She said a majority of people thought like feudal lords, hindering progress of the country. “It is about attitudes of people rather than policies or law,” she said, adding no policy or law could be implemented unless people’s attitudes changed.
Syeda said women comprised 50 percent of the population but they were deprived of basic rights. “Politicians prefer to make tall claims for women’s rights but not a single law in this regard has been implemented till now,” she said.
Samar Minallah, Ethno Media Executive Director, displayed a documentary ‘plagued mindset’ to highlight illegal customary practices being followed in different parts of the country.
She said women had become ‘exchangeable’ commodities since they were offered as compensation for murders or other crimes. “The society is silent on this crime against women,” she said.
“There is no dearth of legislation against these crimes as Article 310 A of the Constitution denotes three-to-10-year imprisonment for those involved in exchange of women as compensation,” she said.
Gender Crime Cell Director Asif Paracha said the cell was established in 2006 for data collection, preparation of a policy draft and to advice the government on gender issues. “Almost 500 complaints regarding gender violence have been registered since establishment of the cell,” he said.
Aurat Foundation Chairman Naeem Mirza said the government and civil society were equally responsible to stem growing violence against women.
Crimes against women reported: Policy and Data Monitor on Violence against Women Report said out of total 1,705 cases of violence against women, 828 were reported in Punjab, 301 in Sindh, 278 in NWFP, 233 in Balochistan and 65 in Islamabad.
According to the breakdown, 20.9 percent of the all cases was about women’s murders, 20.9 percent abduction, 11.4 percent physical assault, 7.9 percent honour killing, seven percent suicide, six percent rape, 3.7 percent gang rape, 3.6 percent domestic violence, 3.1 percent torture, 2.3 percent sexual assault, 1.3 percent custodial violence, 1.1 percent burning and 0.3 percent cases were about acid throwing.
The report said the cases of suicides had increased alarmingly as 66 women committed suicide in the first quarter of the year, and 126 in the second quarter.