‘Beyond Saving Faces’: A History of Female Abuse
Women in Pakistan belong to a marginalized group and are more vulnerable to various forms of violence from family members and others than men. In addition to the various factors that make women more prone to violence and bullying, one of the important determinants is their economic dependence on men. For this reason, most women continue to be oppressed because they think they cannot live on their own.
Many cases of domestic violence and harassment in the workplace or in public places are reported by women, but a few succeed in securing justice. “One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling violation of human rights, but it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time, ”said Nicole Kidman, Ambassador to the United Nations. The use of acid or kerosene on women is a blatant act of violence against women. intimidate them but this one is discussed less frequently.
In 2012, a documentary titled “Saving Face” was released which involved victims of acid attacks and the underlying conditions that give rise to such incidents. Dr Farhan Navid Yousaf who is Associate Professor at the University of Punjab, Lahore, with Bandana Purkayastha wrote an article titled “Beyond Saving Faces: Acid Attack Survivors in Pakistan” to discuss the experiences post-attack victims, violations of the legislation regarding acid attacks, its relationship to globalization and the socio-economic challenges faced by victims.
The authors argue that the acid attacks on women are carried out with the intention of causing them physical, psychological and social pain, and in this way, the authors attempt to express their frustration by inflicting the opposite sex.
The authors believe that power inequalities make women more vulnerable, furthermore, the ineffectiveness of the government in “allocating sufficient resources for the social protection of marginalized groups” serves to increase these cases with unwavering vigor. As our society becomes more and more violent day by day due to insufficient economic resources and increasing poverty and unemployment rate, men tend to vent their anger by targeting women.
Additionally, acid attacks occur as a result of dowry issues, rejection of marriage proposals, family disputes, etc. Moreover, female autonomy also harms the inflated sense of ego in some men and they feel that the patriarchal structure is under threat, so they try to silence women by opting for such means.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution in April, addressing issues related to blasphemy and the marginalization of journalists and women in Pakistan. He discussed the violation of human rights in Pakistan and said he “is concerned that economic conditions often prevent minorities and marginalized groups from accessing justice.” I
t also stated that “the rights of women and children must be protected at all times; calls on the Pakistani government to improve access to services for victims of gender-based violence and to ensure appropriate prosecution of those responsible for sexual abuse of children ”.
The availability of justice for victims is rarely seen for different reasons. Most women do not know their rights; they do not resist violence because they believe it is the inherent right of male relatives to abuse them. This is due to family values and the high illiteracy rate.
Second, even when cases are reported, they are not dealt with effectively due to lack of awareness among the police and the judiciary.
Third, societal pressure is a major obstacle to the victim’s access to justice; society stigmatizes the victim and prevents the injured woman from bringing her attacker to justice. In addition, some women opt for an out-of-court settlement and do not pursue their lawsuits due to pressure from the opposing side.
To alleviate these problems, sensitizing women to speak out against the myriad forms of injustice is the first step. In addition, laws exist for assault, but care must be taken to ensure that prompt punishment of perpetrators is made possible by justice agencies. Civil society and NGOs at the local level should continue to voice the concerns of marginalized segments for the state to act against these social evils.