Mahwash.Badar.

Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (twitter.com/mahwashajaz_)

A woman was stripped naked by Indian officials in Kashmir. And we will blog about it. Again. In vain.

On June 19th 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that included the following statement: “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” The resolution also mentions, “Women/girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including in some cases as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” Just a few years later, circa 2015, in Indian-occupied Kashmir, a woman was stripped naked by five men – including one army official. It was the district of Udhampur ...

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In Iran, you can marry your 13-year-old adopted child

Define irony: When you pass a bill to ‘protect’ children and in that bill you allow a man to marry his adopted daughter even if she is as young as 13-years-old. Woody Allen, are you listening? I think it’s time to move to Iran. Or at least base your next movie there. Or maybe George RR Martin would be interested in this as his next plot twist? Parliamentarians in Iran have recently passed such a bill, I kid you not. It allows the caretaker to marry his or her adopted child if the court rules in the interests of the child. There are so many fundamental issues with ...

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Don’t let teachers bring guns to school in KP… Please!

It would appear that the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is still waiting for its ‘change’ or tabdeeli. Many Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters argue that things have changed and we all hope they are right. But the one thing they might want to ask their leader to look into is the alarming incidents of gun violence in academic institutions. A study conducted done in 2006 revealed that 77% of the homicidal deaths in K-P were a result of gun related incidents/gunshot wounds. Maybe no one in the K-P government knew or understood just how violence can erupt or hadn’t read that study when they decided to ...

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Mr Modi, #DespiteBeingAWoman I have some questions for you

In December 2012, feminism changed in India forever. A girl, now known as Nirbhaya, was beaten and gang raped. She later succumbed to the injuries and passed away. The people of India took to the streets to protest against this horrific act against women, against humanity. The world stood with the women of India and unequivocally condemned this barbaric crime. However, in a country where, according to its own Crime Records Bureau, reported acts of violence against women are at an increase of 6.4%, the prime minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, chose to speak to Sheikh Hasina, Bangladeshi prime minister, that she was countering terrorism ‘despite ...

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When did rape become the cure to homosexuality, India?

If you thought burning women, throwing acid on their faces, bombing their schools, shooting them for going to school, cutting their noses, shaving their heads, marrying them off to holy texts or animals/cattle, selling them into sex slavery or cutting their genitals off wasn’t bad enough when it came to violence against women, here is a brand new way of oppressing women and cementing patriarchy into its place. In India’s Telengana state, men who were ‘suffering from homosexuality’ are given a corrective measure. That measure is rape. Instances where cousins are betrothed from infancy/childhood/youth and if the male counterpart turns out ...

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Forbes’ list of influential women: Are Pakistani women not good enough?

We are a nation of contradictions. We are a nation that goes to watch Bollywood movies on the weekend and during the weekday, we like to blame RAW for terrorism. We are a nation where everyone has high sounding degrees but when we’re standing on the road, we won’t be bothered to find a trashcan. Then we blame the government for not cleaning up after us. We are a nation that spends hundreds of thousands of rupees on our weddings but refuse to pay even minimum wage to underage labourers that we love to boss/beat around. We are a nation that is ...

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The Yemen I called home

Surrounded by mountains and hills, Sana’a, Yemen, is a strangely beautiful place. It had a distinct culture, one that originated thousands of years ago. It had the Old City, a walled area which is said to be over two thousand years old and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sana’a – Old City. Photo: Mahwash Badar Old City gate. Photo: Mahwash Badar Yemen also has many other natural sites that have a lot of potential for tourism. It has a number of beaches – woefully forgotten at the moment – and many ...

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A female taxi driver? Beysharam!

Do you remember the first time you drove? The very first time? When you had the ability to control a vehicle, the possibility of understanding the gears and the speeds and the various knobs and buttons that propel a collection of steel and bolts, and transport you from one place to another? I remember that well – it gave me a sense of independence. It gave me the feeling of having control. But that’s me. I was privileged enough to learn how to drive, not because I had mouths to feed. No one stopped me from driving, no one told me I ...

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Can you see black and blue?

“Must be your fault.” “You must have done something to provoke him.” “You must have not done enough.” “Maybe you could try harder at home, give him more attention?” “Look, this is stuff happens, I knew someone who…” “But what else are you going to do? Except put on a brave face?” The above statements are all examples, and very basic ones, of how we speak to victims of domestic violence. And this is not just Pakistan or India or sub-continental patriarchal cultural biases that propagate such statements/mind-sets. Domestic violence and crimes against women are a global problem. According to a report on women, the United Nations ...

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Anti-rape law amendment: Another victory for Pakistan

They say we have come a long way since the 80s – the fashions, the styles, the music, the technology. It seems like society is taking a giant leap forward when it comes to development and evolution given that the past couple of decades have been the ones that earmarked rapid changes in social progress. When it comes to women in Pakistan, however, the graph seems to be erratic and stunted at best. The 80s brought to the women of Pakistan a terrible code of injustice vis-à-vis the Hudood Ordinance, a retrogressive set of laws that we still have in place. Not ...

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