Domestic Violence in Pakistan

Domestic violence starts when one partner feels the need to control or dominate the other in one way or the other. Domestic violence is a widespread social and public problem in Pakistan – so common that it makes Pakistan the 6th most dangerous country in the world according to 2019 statistics. Due to the lax law structure of Pakistan as well as the male superiority epidemic in Pakistan, many of the domestic violence cases are not even reported and women suffer them for their entire lives. Many also do not report violence for the sake of their children, whereas a lot simply have nowhere to go as they are financially dependent on their husbands and have no or unsupportive families. However, the thing to note is that domestic violence in many cases leads to death as well as mental trauma on the inflicted as well as those who see it daily. Those children who have grown up seeing domestic violence in their homes are more likely to harbor the psychological effects of it growing up and have a troubled childhood and adulthood.

Types of domestic violence:

Domestic violence is often thought to be just physical assault which results in physical injuries. However, there are many types of domestic violence, each with its own set of consequences. The types of domestic violence are:

1. Physical abuse

This involves kicking, pushing, slapping, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. It also refers to denying the victim medical care as well as forcing drug or alcohol upon him/her.

2. Sexual abuse

Yes, sexual abuse is also a category of domestic violence. Any attempt at sexual contact without the will or consent of the other person is a form of sexual abuse. It can refer to marital rape, attacking one’s sexual parts, or forcing intercourse after physical violence.

3. Emotional abuse

This, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult forms of domestic violence as it leaves no marks, scars or evidence of the mental trauma it puts its victims through. Hence, seeking justice for it is close to impossible. Constant criticism, name-calling, unnecessary prohibitions, and undermining one’s self-worth in front of themselves or others are all forms of emotional abuse.

4. Economical abuse

in this form of violence, the victim is stripped of all of their financial independence by the abuser maintaining complete control over the finances, withholding one’s money, denying their entry to school and/or employment.

5. Psychological abuse

This form of violence includes playing with the victim’s minds by creating fear or intimidation, threatening to harm oneself, the victim, children, family and forcing the victim to isolate from work, family and friends.

Usually, it is more than one form of abuse that goes on in a domestic setting and the abuser gets more and more powerful with each passing day controlling the victim’s mind, money and every form of action with different types of violence.

Causes of domestic violence

Domestic violence, of course, is not normal human behavior. It is caused due to many factors some social and some psychological such as:

  • Low self-esteem of the abuser
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Anger control difficulties
  • Inferiority complex
  • Men superiority complex
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychological disorder
  • Growing up in households seeing domestic violence as a norm
  • Being a victim themselves in childhood to abuse
  • Alcohol and drugs also play a large role in violence

Preventing domestic violence

The majority of cases of domestic violence are indeed reported as the abuser being male and victim being female but the roles are often reversed also. However, due to most victims being females especially in Pakistan, prevention of domestic violence is discussed from the viewpoint of females only.

Some ways women can be saved from bearing the violence for years and years are:

· Female empowerment

The government under Imran Khan is focusing on empowering females by giving them a fair chance at education. An educated women is a self-sufficient women and she will not have to stay in mentally taxing or physically abusive circumstances if she can earn for herself and her children.

It is a plea to all parents to focus on the education and self-sufficiency of females so that they are not in a situation to be abused in any form.

· Equal economical opportunity

Females should have equal economic opportunities for all types of jobs just as males do. Moreover, if women make up 45% of the population then they should have equal representation in the legislature as well!

· Don’t ignore it

If you ever come across any case of domestic violence, call the police and inform them and help the victim out. Do not think it is none of your business, being a part of the society; it is your business and responsibility!

· Lend an ear

If you can’t do much for the victim, at least hear their problems patiently. Maybe speaking to an understanding person is the only thing keeping them mentally stable in an otherwise horrific situation.

· Organized community programs

Domestic violence is a plague that should be fought by a community together. There should be organized community programs educating the people about domestic violence and facilities and shelters that can help the victims in such cases to exit the abusive household. A consistent structured approach of the community is very important to discourage abusers and give some strength to victims.

· Tighten law structure

Even if victims in Pakistan report domestic violence, it is often futile as the law systems are not tight enough to be of any help to the victim. Instead, the abuser is usually able to go scot-free by giving some money to the police or paying for his bail or blackmailing the victim for child custody. If the law in our country is strict and adherent then only can domestic violence be reduced!

Afshan Riaz Bhayani
Afshan Riaz Bhayani

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