Generally, in our country, women prefer not to be labelled as feminists. They find it unpleasant to be associated with such beliefs as independent women repel men. Sadly, attachment to a man is such an imperative feature of a woman’s identity in our society that perhaps she willingly declines freedom that allows her to be someone in her own capacity. I will not debate about whether gender divide exists in Pakistan or not, as it certainly does but the biggest problem we face right now is the ignorance of our society regarding this divide.
Women are subjected to domestic violence, honor killings, abductions, mutilations and what not. Two days ago four armed men gunned down a couple on Thursday morning after the two were declared “karo” and “kari” in Trighati village of Sukkur, within the jurisdiction of Salehpat police station. Karo-kari is part of the cultural tradition in Pakistan and means “black male” (Karo) and “black female (Kari), standing for adulterer and adulteress. Once labeled as a Kari, male family members get the self-authorized justification to kill her and the co-accused Karo, ‘to restore family honor’. According to AVA Foundation statistics, approximately 1000 honor killings are made every year in Pakistan. While going through the above mentioned story, the following thing caught my eye:
It’s all nothing but saddening for me to see all of this happening. Undocumented and unreported killings in the name of honour are often bolstered by governmental indifference, discriminatory laws and negligence on the part of Pakistan’s police force and judiciary.
The following illustration shows the number of rape cases which go unreported. The reason being that the victim of rape brings disgrace to the family. There are laws in our country which allow the rapist to marry the victim after rape. Such laws, along with huge social pressure from the male members of the family result in more of such cases and gives the rapist an edge over the victim.
I feel that a revolution is required in the thinking pattern of the male members to change the existing notion of power. The prerequisite in the present scenario is not to empower one gender over the other but equilibrium between the two genders towards accomplishment of joint goals, better society and a better future for the upcoming generations by being proud of one’s own culture is needed.
A couple of ways through which this target can be achieved is firstly through proper commitment of our home media (TV, Radio Newspapers and Films) that has the power to mould public opinion and here the government’s support has to be unconditional. Approving of bill in the national assembly’s which provide the victims of rape security and ensure justice. Another way is the evolutionary process through which the mothers by being independent of religion, caste or creed can instill in their children from the very beginning that both the genders are important and ‘honorable’ and have a key role to play in the society. Men should be taught to respect women from the very start. They should be taught to treat women as their equals, as human beings rather than treating them as some domestic animal. Deep down, every woman is a feminist. We all want our rights to be given to us. Some of us speak up for them while most of us dont! We’ve been quiet on this issue for a long long time now…its time to wake up!