- Violence against women continues to be an ongoing issue in Pakistan and across the globe. November 25th is observed as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
- There are various forms of violence faced by women in Pakistan due to cultural norms, including honour-based violence and limited opportunities.
- Practical steps for change proposed are, emphasizing education, support for organizations, gender equality promotion, speaking up against injustice, and fostering open conversations to break the silence.
In a world striving for progress and equality, it remains disheartening that violence against women continues to be a pervasive issue in Pakistan and across the globe.
As we observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25th, it serves as both a sombre reflection and a call to action. This day beckons us to stand in solidarity against the various forms of violence that women endure daily in Pakistan and across the world.
Women face various types of violence in the form of physical abuse, emotional and psychological trauma, sexual violence, and economic exploitation. In many societies including Pakistan, patriarchal norms continue domestic violence, where women endure physical harm inside their homes. Additionally, incidents of sexual violence, ranging from harassment to assault, are prevalent both in public spaces and private spheres.
In Pakistan, the age-old cultural and societal norms contributing to the prevalence of honor-based violence, forced marriages, and acid attacks. A limited education and few employment opportunities also gives a rise to gender based violence.
Educate and Spread Awareness
Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against violence. Educate women in Pakistan and create awareness about the various forms of violence against women, its prevalence, and its impact. This will help them understand when matters need to be reported to organisations working towards violence against women.
With an increased use of social media, information can now easily be passed to and people can be educated through social media in the form of short informative videos. The Ministry of Human Rights has been posting relevant information for women to raise awareness and break silence surrounding these issues.
Support Organizations Fighting for the Rights of Women in Pakistan
Numerous organizations work tirelessly to support victims and eliminate violence against women such as the UN Women Pakistan, the ICRC, the Smile Again foundation, Aurat Foundation and the government organisations such as the NCSW. Contribute to these organizations through donations, volunteering, or simply spreading the word about their services.
Promote Gender Equality
Addressing the root causes of violence requires fostering a culture of gender equality. Challenge stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes in your community and workplace. Advocate for policies and practices that promote equal opportunities and fair treatment for all, regardless of gender.
Speak Up Against Injustice to Women
The biggest mistake people make when they see a woman being domestically abused is looking the other way and remaining silent. It is important to speak up when you witness an act of violence or harassment, do not stay silent. Intervene when it is safe to do so and report the incident to the authorities. Create a supportive environment where victims feel encouraged to speak up, and perpetrators understand that their actions will not be tolerated.
Encourage Open Conversations
Break the stigma surrounding violence against women by encouraging open conversations within your social circles. Discussing these issues helps reduce the shame and fear that often silences victims. By fostering a supportive environment, you contribute to creating a society where survivors are heard and believed.
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