WORLD

Why Pakistani women feel insecure in public space is a global problem


Auret March 2018 Credit: Joffin T. Ibrahim / IPS
  • By Joffin Ibrahim (Karachi)
  • Inter Press Service

“If I am not safe in my own city, I will never be safe in any part of the world,” said Tiktakar, a woman who, in an interview describing what happened on August 14, the 74th day in Pakistan, was freed and captured. Video Which soon went viral.

Actor Ushna Shah echoed the sentiment on Twitter: “What else does everyone have to do to accept the fact that women are not safe in Pakistan? Women are not safe. ”

“Over the years, public space for women in Pakistan has been declining,” lamented Shima Kermani, a well-known classical dancer and founder of the Karachi-based Tehreek-e-Niswan, a women’s rights group. She and her group have gotten involved in non-fiction episodes, performing in public spaces, and even doing street theater. They have been stoned or told to stop their performance, in which case they immediately pack up and leave “to avoid a collision”.

Despite the influx of women into the workplace and the rise of young feminist groups that have “actually pushed for securing public spaces for women,” Kerman observes, “the last few years have pushed Pakistani society back hundreds of years” where women are “hated, humiliated, exploited. , Tortured, even raped. “He added:” It’s a small consequence of their lives. “

And that’s what the ticker felt when he said: “They were playing with me,” when they tore his clothes.

The incident comes just weeks after the former diplomat’s daughter was beheaded in the capital. In another unspecified video that went viral after the tick attack, a man leans towards two women riding in the back of a rickshaw and is heard kissing one of them. Police are investigating another video of a woman being snatched by a group of men in a park.

Prime Minister Imran Khan does not make it easy when he blames women for these crimes which he says are “spreading like cancer”. “Wearing very little clothing,” he said, “will affect men unless they are robots”. In 2019, the information minister quoted the prime minister as blaming Tiktok, a social media outlet, for “growing obscenity and pornography in society”.

“But I didn’t even wear porn,” Tiktok said in an interview with Survivor.

TV anchorperson Maria Memon said, “I can well imagine this woman’s injury.

While covering anti-government protests by the current ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Faisalabad, Punjab, in 2011, he was confronted by an incoherent crowd, which left him “frustrated” after being attacked by a volley of verbal abuse.

“They saw me break down,” he said. When that didn’t happen, they “started throwing empty plastic bottles and sticks at me,” he told IPS by phone from the country’s capital Islamabad.

Seven years later, Memon said, Pakistani women journalists are surrounded by a crowd of “untrained”, “unprepared” and “weak” who can quickly turn violent. Although media outlets want to send women to these events, they rarely have a contingency escape plan to quickly remove them when the situation worsens.

In 2018, the London-based Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked Pakistan as the sixth most dangerous country and fifth in terms of non-sexual violence against women, including domestic violence.

“These people cannot be detained until they are punished,” said Sana Mirza, a Memon colleague who faced a similar situation at another PTI rally in Lahore in 2001.

Unlike Memon, he collapsed in front of the camera, “feeling humiliated,” he said, and the episode continued to haunt him and he refused to go off the field for a good eight months. “I even removed myself from social media because these platforms became too toxic and I could not sleep,” he told IPS by phone from Islamabad.

Mirza said many women, if they felt what was going on through the tick, would have remained silent, Mirza said, adding that he saluted the woman “for the courage to lodge a complaint with the police”.

More than a dozen men have been arrested so far after being identified via video using the national database. Police have geo-fenced 28,000 people and listed 350 suspects and arrests continue.

But Mirza remains unsure whether those arrested will be punished. “They never are. Just look at the statistics! “She said.

According to the Karachi-based War Against Rape, the incidence of sexual assault and rape has risen, but the conviction rate is less than %%. And this statistic is about reported crime.

Although “the system may not be perfect”, Islamabad-based policeman Amna Beg said it was a “stimulus” for criminals to protect the police system without reporting such incidents. He filed a TickTock user complaint, although three days late, it was a “bold” move.

During her five years in the army in different cities of Punjab, she said, she has faced several killings of women by their husbands. Yet, no person or family member of the deceased has ever complained of Domestic Violence (DV) before the murder.

“You can save a lot of lives if you report,” he said, adding that “just filing a complaint can act as a deterrent because the person knows he or she will be held accountable”.

Interestingly, Beg felt “safer” and “empowered” in police uniforms than in plain clothes. “I think the uniform carries both a cause of fear and respect,” and never been harassed while on duty.

Still, if you ask Senator Sherry Rehman, it’s not too late to make sure “women’s likes, voices and lives count”.

It was time to revive the first Domestic Violence Bill, which she first introduced as a member of parliament in 200, but which she is stumbling upon “obstacles to prejudice and anti-women advocacy.”

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is examining whether it is in line with Sharia.

“Why are only women’s laws sent to the CII?” Rehman asked. “Like the rest, these can be discussed in parliament and their fate is decided by voting in the same way that other bills are discussed and passed,” he said.

Although he acknowledges that no law or continuous law will change the game, moving the law is the starting point, not the end point of change.

“For example, without a baseline law against domestic violence, such as in Sindh, there would be no legal framework for relief, even if the courts were so inclined,” he noted.


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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service





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