Husbands who beat, women who get beaten

Published: March 16, 2012
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What happens when your savior also becomes your enemy? How do you feel when the father of your child emotionally, psychologically, verbally and physically abuses you instead of giving you the respect you deserve? How do you reclaim your self-esteem when he ridicules you and your family and makes you believe every time that it is your fault, when actually it isn’t?

Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and who you think loves you in return, because you’ll always end up forgiving – if not for yourself, then either for the sake of your children and family or to escape ‘divorce’ which remains a taboo for women in our society.

According to a 2009 US State Department report on Pakistan, 50 percent of the women in urban areas of Pakistan admit that their husbands beat them.

In 2009, efforts were in progress on a new domestic violence law in Pakistan. A private bill on domestic violence had been passed in the National Assembly in 2009, which required approval by the Pakistani Senate. However, Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) warning that a law against domestic violence will ‘push up divorce rates’ coupled with Mohammad Khan Sheerani’s objections (of the JUI-F), led to a deferment of the hearing in the Senate. Since then the government has slept on the matter and the bill has lapsed.

Whereas the need for a domestic violence law is a necessity in Pakistan (as it will undoubtedly assist with abuse cases in the rural areas), I personally doubt such laws will have any impact in the urban areas – as a law is of no use until the people internalize its spirit.

It appears that due to a fault within our social structure, even urban women tend to have a high tolerance for domestic violence. Not only this, but they are often at the forefront of inflicting pain on other women. When the women who were once subjected to violence become mothers of sons themselves, they unfortunately fail to teach their sons the lessons of tolerance and respect and so the cycle of domestic violence continues.

I am not interested in discussing gender discrimination or emphasize on the equality of the sexes in this blog, as I am sure both men and women are equally capable in their respective fields. I simply intend to highlight how a basic humanitarian, infact a rather moral principle seems to be missingin the Pakistani male mindset. Femlaes perhaps reaffirm this when they choose to remain silent in the face of such atrocities.

Even if woman is the weaker sex, it puts all the more moral burden on a man to treat her with dignity. The in-laws must assume responsibility to treat the daughter-in-law with utmost respect as she leaves her own family behind to embrace another.

There is nothing wrong in a woman depending on a man after marriage, but being the breadwinner in the house doesn’t mean that we inculcate an undeserved sense of superiority in men. While sons are taught to have courage merely to fight, we teach daughters to have courage to resist and persevere in the face of even the most brutal physical and mental assault.

As a result, we have raised a nation of very resilient, resourceful, considerate and brave women, but we have also raised a country of spoilt, insecure and violent boys who will resort to violence against those who are weaker.

Remember that by remaining silent you are simply an accomplice to the crime committed against you.

 

Sana Hameed Baba

Sana Hameed Baba

The author is a financial services professional in London and a part-time Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) student at BPP, as well as a member of Lincoln's Inn. She has been actively involved in youth led initiatives for Pakistan in the UK. She tweets @sana_h_baba (twitter.com/Sana_H_Baba), and can be found on Instagram @sana_hameed_baba.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.