My Sin Is That I Am A Woman

I am the one you claimed to have fallen in love ,
But threw acid on me when you found out that I can’t be yours forever;
I am the one to whom you promised a companionship of here and above,
But when I turned down the implication of a huge dowry, your answer was never;

I am your dedicated office employee,
yes, the one who you sexually harassed;
I am your class fellow, your neighbour, your cousin,
yes, the one you got to gang-rape at long last;

I am your loving daughter,
yes, the one who you gave away to settle disputes;
I am your loyal wife,
yes, the one who you abuse before indulging into your pleasurable pursuits.

I am a woman!

Footage of a wedding scene, filmed on a mobile, recently reached the news stations a couple of days ago. The video depicted two boys dance as four women sing and clap while sitting. No frame shows the men and women together. Yet, it is claimed that the women who were shown were killed by the orders of the Jirga which constituted of 40-50 members.

Women Shown in Video

I ask what is their sin? The only answer which comes to my mind is that they are women. Practicing religion is not bad but imposing it on others by harsh means is not how it’s supposed to be. All sorts of extremities lead to destruction. Every human being is entitled to make their own decisions and as for those who say that those women broke the laws of the tribe; let the court decide whether they broke an actual law or not! It’s not just about those women who are being hunted down, it’s about all those women who’ve suffered and who are still suffering just because they are too afraid to raise their voice against this domestic violence.

According to a 2011 poll of experts by the Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll, Pakistan is the third most unsafe country for women in the world. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says at least 943 women and girls were murdered last year after being accused of defaming their family’s honour and reported that 90 percent of Pakistani women suffer from domestic violence.

An Acid Victim

Acid is a readily available and inexpensive weapon; it costs less than a dollar a litre and is often used for household cleaning or for cotton processing in rural areas. A difficult irony for women in Pakistan is that, should a victim speak up about physical or sexual abuse, she is seen as having lost her and her family’s dignity. Many rapes go unreported as the victim worries she will become rubbish and a subject of gossip in Pakistani society. It is so easy for a young girl to lose her dignity and to stain her reputation because of some uncontrollable circumstances.

Each and every day, we’re so much engrossed with the electricity shortages, the rising inflation and the lack of employment that we forget about the violation of basic human rights. I bet that all of us have at least once heard about someone we know being subjected to domestic violence. All around us, these social evils exist and yet we hardly do anything to stop them. I wasn’t able to sleep last night, thinking of this social dilemma we’re facing!

Their existence is not worrying; the apathy of people towards these matters is what that worries me! Evil itself is not a problem but the indifference of intellectuals towards it is indeed the biggest problem (I think) we face.

So this is my question to everyone; For how long will we continue to ignore these issues? How many Mukhtara Mai’s and Fakhra Younus’s will it take for us to realize the cruciality of the situation? Is being a woman really a sin?

This post was first published at the Qalam blog at StepUpPakistan, an initiative of Ali Moeen Nawazish.


39 responses to “My Sin Is That I Am A Woman

  1. you know what..the situation is ditto here in India.
    kudos to aamir khan. he has launched a show called satyamev jayate wherein he picks up various social issues and talks about them. he recently picked up the issues of female foeticide and honour killing. he reminds us every week of the problems we tend to adjust with!

    • Yes, have seen that show and indeed Amir Khan is doing a great job.
      These issues are a taboo in our society, everyone knows that they exist yet they prefer to remain silent about them!

  2. I am a woman and it is not a sin to be one! Here we have laws to remendy sinfull acts against women still the bias lives underground and the “GOOD OLD BOUS CLUB” has many members even while they profess equality of the sexes publiclly.It’s nothing like what you discribe however! My heart crys for you and I admire your courage in telling it like it is! Thank you!

    • Its good to know that things are better around your place.
      Things are not good here in this regard.. But I hope for better :)

      Thanks for dropping by!

    • Well, it’s good that you have realised something and changed it. Otherwise, the history of man has ever kept the woman week. As you can also read in Hamlet, “Frailty, thy name is woman”. What is the reason? It’s a long topic but I as short as I can tell you is the spiritual status of woman.
      Although we are Muslims but, unfortunately, we are still under the influence of traditional Hinduism.

  3. Bless you for so strongly drawing attention again to the horrible plight of women in Pakistan! I sign every petition and lobby for every possible way to change life for the better for these women!

  4. The issue that underlies is a lack of awareness, so that all outcomes and results made by one group of people (read: men) in Pakistan are attributed either to religion or to culture, both of which have no provision for such things hapepening

  5. Being a woman is a crime and so is giving birth to a daughter..
    there is hardly any place where women are safe. it doesnt matter whether you are in India or Pakistan or which strata of society you are from ..that you are a woman means you will be stripped naked if not by hands in villages then by eyes anywhere and everywhere..body is all (most) men see that is all men want..
    Double x what a curse …huh
    that poetry is so powerful and so beautiful Rooha
    Brilliant write up :)
    So want to hug ek badi si jhappi

    • yes, I agree.
      Its a social norm to treat women like they’re not human and this cannot be tolerated anymore.
      Rape and domestic violence cases are found everywhere on earth and more than 90% of the times its the women who are being subjected to inhumane behavior

      Thanks a lot for liking it, means the world to me :)
      *aik bari si jhappi in return*

  6. acid attacks….worst and inhumane …. deplorable…kudos to u for raising it and being brave….hope Pakistan will as well learn to respect its women rather than following wrongful interpretations of islam and torturing womenfolks….

  7. personal dignity is valued more than sensible thinking… when it should be the other way around. Men who think women are ”accessories” (i couldn’t find any other word more complete) should also consider that the reason they’re alive is because of a woman, his mother! This is not the ummah Muhammad (PBUH) fought for!

  8. poetry was really touching..and yes how stronger we may try to negate it,all these happenings are there to correct us..a truely sad fact…

  9. Very heartfelt post. I share your feelings especially since India is not far behind when it comes to the crimes against women. I am specially disturbed and ashamed of the recent incident in Guwahati city where a young girl was humiliated (her clothes were torn off) by 20 men in full public view ..u may have read the news. After reading your post, I wonder where are we headed? Even animals have codes of conduct…but this, this is barbaric!!

  10. I really truly appreciated the thought that went into this entry. I’ve been reading through your blog, and I am impressed by the depth behind the entries. However, I just want to say, that I don’t feel that the question you posed is what you were meaning to ask. Please (honestly) correct me if I’m wrong, but this was less about our society and more about our values (regardless of race, gender, location, age, etc.), and our indifference towards the wrongs that we witness. I felt that your question was addressing a different (albeit equally important) issue; this article seemed to discuss more the problems with our decision to “look the other way,” than the role of man and his effect on society (namely women in this case). I just wanted to be sure that I was not missing something, and also just let you know the discrepancy between poll question vs. post subject matter that I saw as a reader. Nonetheless, please believe me when I say that I am glad to see someone putting so much thought, research, and HEART into their writing, and I will eagerly be awaiting your next post!

  11. More than 8,500 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in 2011, according to The Aurat Foundation, a women’s rights organization. Because the group relied mostly on media reports, the figure is likely an undercount.

  12. its not a sin to be a women. to sin means you do not follow God’s commandments. jesus died on the cross so that we can have everlasting life with him when he comes back for the church. but no sin cannot enter into heaven.

  13. Hi.
    I never knew the kind of oppression women were facing in your country and as a man I say sorry (if that even helps)……
    Being a woman counts for so much more than being degraded. It’s not a sin to be a woman and it’s shocking that there are still places that terrorize women!!
    I am glad because I now have an idea of what women are facing in your part of the world. Thank you for following my blog, I have done the same. Nice to meet you!!


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