I read this evening on the website for Violence is Not Our Culture about the passing of domestic violence bill in Pakistan. VNC congratulated their partners Baidarie Sialkot and Shirkat Gah and other civil society groups and women’s human rights activists who have been campaigning over the past few years to pass this bill.
Baidarie Sialkot is a non-government and non-profit organization which was established in 1993 by the rural women of UC Roras who were keen to work for the empowerment and development of the women of the area. It carries out its operations without having religious, lingual, political and social discriminations to motivate the rural communities, particularly women, to take an active part in the social developmental process. The organization strives hard to develop women into active, productive and dynamic citizens of the country.
Shirkat Gah literally means a place of participation. It was formed as a non hierarchical collective in 1975 by a group of women with a shared perspective on women’s rights and development.
The organizations’ fundamental goal was to encourage women to play a full and equal role in society by promoting and protecting the social and economic development of women already participating in, or wanting to participate in, the national development.
The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) bill makes violence against women and children an offence carrying jail terms and fines, state media said. It was introduced by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar and passed unanimously by the upper house of the federal parliament, Pakistan Television reported. It was passed unanimously in the National Assembly, the lower house in parliament almost three years ago in August 2009. It will come into effect after it is signed into legislation by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Under this bill those found guilty of beating women or children will face a minimum six months behind bars and a fine of at least 100,000 rupees ($1,100). In addition to protecting children and women, it provides protection to the adopted, employed and domestic associates in a household.
The law classifies domestic violence as acts of physical, sexual or mental assault, force, criminal intimidation, harassment, hurt, confinement and deprivation of economic or financial resources. In the past if a man beat her wife or children, the police could not arrest him because it was considered a domestic affair. Now, thanks to the passing of this bill, the police can step in and make an arrest.
Human rights groups say that Pakistani women suffer severe discrimination, domestic violence and so-called “honour” killings. This means that a victim is murdered for allegedly bringing dishonour upon her family. I read that in Afghanistan running away from an abusive husband or a forced marriage are considered “moral crimes”, for which women are currently imprisoned. Rape victims are imprisoned because sex outside marriage, even when the woman is forced, is considered adultery, another “moral crime”. I cannot believe that the woman who is abused by her husband is imprisoned. I fail to see how rape can be classified as adultery which is consensual sex between two people outside of marriage. Rape is not about sex. It is a violent act. And rape victims should be protected not treated like criminals. It would be really great if Afghanistan were to pass a similar bill.
It is believed that the spread of Islamist fundamentalism is increasingly isolating the women in Pakistan, especially in the areas where the Taliban are. Thankfully this bill will change things in the Pakistani women’s favor. Men will no longer get away with their crimes.
It is truly a victory for Pakistan and especially the women and children whose rights are finally going to be protected. This is a testimony that awareness + action = change.
February 28, 2012 Posted by notestowomen | Encouragement | action, activists, assault, awareness, Baidarie Sialkot, beating, campaigning, change, children, criminal, development, discrimination, dishonor, domestic, domestic violence bill, economic, equal, family, force, fundamental, fundamentalism, goal, government, groups, honor killings, human rights, intimidation, Islamist, isolating, legislation, Man, mental, non-profit organization, Pakistan, parliament, physical, police, President Asif Ali Zardari, prevention, protection, rights, sexual, Shirkat Gah, social, society, Taliban, victim, victory, violence against women and children, Violence is Not Our Culture, wife, women, women's rights | Leave a comment
Notes to Women’s purpose is to encourage, inspire and motivate women to reach their utmost potential and to enjoy the quality of life God has planned for them. Through devotionals women will be encouraged, uplifted and empowered. Stories of women from different centuries, backgrounds and cultures will offer inspiration. The plight of women from all over the world and their struggles for equality, respect and a promising future will motivate women who are going through their own trials to act and other women to make a difference in their communities.
Women can make a difference. Jesus’ ministry was supported financially by his female followers. Other women spread the Gospel while others used their skills to bless those in their communities. Women, I encourage you to live out loud. Let God use you. Don’t let your age, background or circumstance stand in your way. Let the lives of other phenomenal women inspire you to follow your heart, your dream to be the person you envision yourself to be. Be a woman of action. Find your passion and pursue it! Look, learn and live!
I chose the image of a butterfly because it symbolizes resurrection, transformation, transition, rebirth, hope, joy and new beginnings. In the Japanese culture it represents womanhood. I hope this will encourage women to realize that in spite of the injustice and hardship they may face in this world, there is still beauty and hope. Like the butterfly they can emerge from their circumstances (cocoons) as new creatures, ready to spread their wings. Don’t let society, your past or mistakes or fear hold you back. Take flight and experience the joy of living your life to the fullest.
When I was a girl I would look out my bedroom window at the caterpillars; I envied them so much. No matter what they were before, no matter what happened to them, they could just hide away and turn into these beautiful creatures that could fly away completely untouched.
― Patch Adams
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom
and a little flower.” ~Hans Christian Anderson
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.”
“Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.”
“A woman is like a butterfly….
If you want her to stay near you, but fly as she should,
you must not brush the dust off her magical wings,
nor control her essence in your hand…
her beauty will be held only by a stillness and purity of heart.”
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