Population around the world as well as in Pakistan has been staying isolated during the lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus, Though the measures were and are still relenting positive results, but this lockdown has also resulted in a dangerous scenario for women who face domestic violence. One out of three women in the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the WHO ‘making it the most wide spread but among the most least reported Human rights abuses’. When women face violence, entire families and communities suffer. The families undergo huge crises and different issues including swear mental health issues which wraps up the victim as well as the minors in the family.
There has been a huge increase in the number of domestic violence cases during the covid-19 pandemic especially in Pakistan. It has been reported by the Government Officials that there has been a 25% increase in the cases of domestic violence on women during the lockdown of 2020.In the Eastern Punjab Provence, the authorities have registered 3,217 cases between March and May. To be exact 399 murder cases of women were reported in KPK during the lockdown in March and 25 calls were received by the police helpline (who knows how many were missed or over looked)
Pakistan, a country of more than 200 million people has been included in the top 10 Most Dangerous countries for Women!
According to the statistics collected by White Ribbon Pakistan, an NGO working for women rights, 4,734 women have faced sexual violence in Pakistan between 2004 and 2016. Almost 15000 cases of honor crimes were registered. There were almost 1800 cases of domestic violence and 5500 cases of women kidnapping during this time period. Meanwhile the only 2.5% of all the reported cases end up being convicted by the courts.
To help the victims of domestic violence the Authorities in Punjab upgraded their Women Safety smartened app, which was introduced by the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA).
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a non- governmental organization also launched a helpline for the victims of domestic violence. Though it has been said by some activists that the help line is not very effective. As the authorities have largely failed to provide support to the victims of domestic violence, women in such crises are often haled by Human Right activists and lawyers.
Every Province has a legislation to enforce the protection of women, which is biased on Islamic Shari’ah. Still serious violations continue due to severe lack of implementation on the existing laws and amendments. As the “so called justice” keeps of failing the victims on and on, they stay trapped in a never ending loop of injustice.
Most of the victims facing violence are mostly living with the abusers and due to the lockdown, they are stuck in the houses with them. In this way the abuser is able to keep an eye and control all the activities of the victim .They also make sure that the victims isn’t contacting any one for help (even a close family member or a friend). As we know that the economy of Pakistan is suffering because of this pandemic and that there is a huge rate of unemployment, which has lead all of us to financial crises and mental health issues (to some extent at least).Many of us are frustrated and have been feeling helpless, same is the case with the abusers but the difference is that they take out their frustration on the people around them. It is such a shame that still even in such a modern world, the society thinks of it as a family matter than a crime that shouldn’t be reported. For GBV victims in semi-tribal societies, family and tribe is considered the only option for refuge, but in cases where ‘honor’ is considered more important than human life, the only option left is a shelter.
The highest rate of honor killing and physical abuse is found in the under developed or the more backward areas of Pakistan. The major factor that leads to such actions is lack of education and non-serious attitude by the Government Officers.
So the question arises that What can be done to eradicate domestic violence from our society?
⦁ First of all, try to keep your eyes and ears open, lookout for people around you (your neighbors, relatives, workers, etc)
⦁ Be more observant.
⦁ If you feel like someone is going through domestic violence ask them if they need help.
⦁ Try to make the victim comfortable so the they can share their problem with you
⦁ Be supportive and contact a proper organization or person for help.
”BUDLAIN GAY HUM BUDLAY GA MASHRA TO HE BUDLAY GA PAKISTAN”
Veresha Khan is Writer, Blogger and upcoming emergent talent in Social media