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Violence Against Women Act: Pakistan

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By Megha Sharma

Mohammed Hanif, a Pakistani author and journalist, has recently discussed the law passed to preserve women’s rights. The law, preventing violence against women, has been authorized and declares a total dismissal of domestic abuse against women. Further, the law will institute legal proceedings on the culprit and even ask to wear a GPS-monitored bracelet. The offender will also be prohibited to buy guns or other harmful weapons. They focus on initiating a women’s hotline to report such an act immediately. It comes across as another step towards women empowerment.

shariya, the religious text of Muslims
shariya, the religious text of Muslims

However, this isn’t a consensual act as a major population stands in opposition of it. From religious groups to the old men, all are suggestive of a unanimous denial of this law as the patriarchal society has long observed the men in the house as power structures. Women have seen a longish submission to all these superstructures and have undergone not only mental but a physical passivity too. The religious text shariah is said to observe the act of domestic violence as acceptable in the name of masculine power.

Where on one hand there is a wide open space for women, full of opportunities, on the other one sees this refutation of exercising their rights. The repercussions of such a law are street protest and a story of it being against the culture.

a picture of Malala
a picture of Malala

The world has seen how the Muslim Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, fought against the terrorists and showed the cosmos the power of a young girl. She became a representative of many other females who wanted to conquer the world but were hopeless.

Women today, are not only feminists, but they assert their individuality. From coming out of working on high posts with meagre wages, they have now understood how they can’t be engendered. A UN survey also suggested how women can work 4 times more than men.

Hanif also argues how there are several feminist men as well. They let their sisters go out, they respect their wives and believe in an egalitarian society. However, it seems these men are the most hurt with the GPS monitoring as hanif reports them saying: “See, I have never stopped my sister from going to school, never given my girlfriend a black eye. That makes me a feminist, right? But we must protect our families. You don’t want a family-loving feminist man going around with a GPS tracker, do you?”

Women who today are not afraid of making them known to the world, who respect the culture but want to transcend the social boundaries, are too scared of what happens to them in their private sphere. It is thus a major drawback of this law that it isn’t supported by its citizens.

(Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her masters in English and has done her studies in German Language.) GMAIL- loveme2010.ms@gmail.com

follow me @ https://twitter.com/meghash06510344

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  • Archita aggarwal

    A good start….we are with you.

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Women In India Turn To Technology To Stay Safe From Harassment

Police in many Indian cities are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints

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Women, Harassment
Women stand at a crowded place in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Oct. 9, 2006. Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a survey Thursday. VOA

New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.

Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces, which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots — from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.

Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released Thursday, as improving city access for women becomes a major focus globally.

“Women always strategize on how to access public spaces, from how to dress to what mode of transport to take, timings and whether they should travel alone or in a group,” said Sameera Khan, columnist and co-author of “Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets.”

#MeToo, Victim, Harassment
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician M.J. Akbar takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers, July 5, 2017, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The Indian minister and veteran newspaper editor announced his resignation, Oct. 17, 2018, while still insisting that the accusations of sexual harassment are false. VOA

Reported crimes up 80 percent

Indian government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.

The fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 put the spotlight on the dangers women face in India’s public spaces.

The incident spurred Supreet Singh of charity Red Dot Foundation to create the SafeCity app that encourages women across 11 Indian cities to report harassment and flag hotspots.

“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported,” said Singh, a speaker at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference on Thursday.

India, Harassment
Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi. VOA

The aim is to take the spotlight off the victim and focus on the areas where crimes are committed so action can be taken.

Dimly lit lanes, crowded public transport, paths leading to community toilets, basements, parking lots and parks are places where Indian women feel most vulnerable, campaigners say.

Stigma attached to sexual harassment and an insensitive police reporting mechanism result in many cases going unreported, rights campaigners say.

Apps are promising

But apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.

Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

“The data has helped in many small ways,” said Singh of the Red Dot Foundation. “From getting the police to increase patrolling in an area prone to ‘eve-teasing’ to getting authorities to increase street lighting in dark alleys, the app is bringing change.”

Also Read: Women And Girls In Poor Countries Are Using Contraceptives More: Report

Police in many Indian cities, including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints, promising prompt action.

“Safety apps are another such strategy that could be applied by women but I worry that by giving these apps, everyone else, most importantly the state, should not abdicate its responsibility towards public safety,” Khan said. (VOA)