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From shadow to spotlight: Domestic violence in Pakistan

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By Areesha Qayyum

Millions of people around the world are impacted by domestic violence, which is a persistent and gravely worrying phenomenon. This issue continues, subverting the social fabric in Pakistan, a country rich in culture and history. Not only is ending domestic violence morally required, but it is also a vital first step towards attaining gender equality and promoting a safer and healthier society. The severity of domestic violence in Pakistan, its origins, difficulties in eradicating it, and efforts to stop the cycle of abuse are all discussed in this article.

Women, children, and even some men are still victims of domestic violence in Pakistan, which is yet an unspoken reality. According to studies and surveys, domestic violence affects a sizable proportion of Pakistani households, with women serving as the main targets. The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or economic, and it can leave long-lasting scars on the victims’ mental and physical health.

Between 70 to 90% of women are thought to experience abuse according to a study done by the Aurat Foundation and surprisingly up to 50% of Pakistani men claimed to have been violently treated by their partners

These figures demonstrate the seriousness of the issue and the requirement for quick response. Understanding the underlying causes of domestic violence in Pakistan is essential for developing successful solutions.

The persistence of this issue is caused by a number of reasons, including:
a) Patriarchal Society: Men are given positions of authority and control in Pakistan’s strongly ingrained patriarchal customs, which can result in an imbalance of power within households.
b) Gender Inequality: Women’s access to resources and capacity to leave abusive relationships are both hampered by gender discrimination and the absence of equal chances for women.
c) Traditional Beliefs: Violence in homes is tolerated because of cultural norms that support male dominance and female subordination.
d) Legal Gaps: Inadequate laws and a lack of enforcement methods frequently make it difficult for the court system to defend victims and hold offenders accountable.

Domestic violence has a significant negative impact on victims as well as society as a whole. In addition, domestic violence has a negative effect on society as a whole, resulting in lost productivity, greater healthcare costs, and a decline in mental health overall.

Efforts to stop domestic abuse in Pakistan confront a number of obstacles, including: social stigma, lack of awareness, weak Legal System, limited Support Services

Growing up in violent homes can cause children to internalize violence as acceptable behavior, continuing the cycle into the next generation. Victims may shun seeking help out of a fear of being judged and shunned by society if they speak up about their abuse.

Due to a lack of knowledge about one’s rights or the resources available to address domestic violence, the issue is not reported as often as it should be, which contributes to its continuation. And despite significant legislative advancement, domestic violence laws are nevertheless frequently implemented inconsistently and with insufficient protections. Survivors have a hard time leaving abusive circumstances since there aren’t enough shelters and support services available to them.

In summary, combating domestic violence in Pakistan calls for a concerted effort from all spheres of society, from people and communities to politicians and law enforcement organizations. A society free from the constraints of violence and one that fosters a culture of respect, equality, and compassion can only be created by breaking the taboo around this issue, bringing it to public attention, and offering survivors adequate help. We can only expect to end domestic abuse in the lives of countless people by working together, and we can all benefit from a safer, more inclusive Pakistan.

The writer is a student of BS Journalism studies at Punjab University and can be reached at:[email protected].

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