Stories about abuse

It was my fault

The first time he hit her was on the 17th morning of her wedding ceremony. She had just walked out of the bathroom after a shower, her hair still dripping little droplets of water as she tried to rub them dry with a towel. He was standing in front of the armoire picking out a tie for himself, his back to her. She saw his handsome profile, all sharp lines and edges, and she had smiled to herself blissfully. In that moment she had thought, she was the luckiest girl on earth. This beautiful man, who had the ability to attract people ...

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In Pakistan, domestic abuse is none of your business

As Iman sat there talking to me, I could see all the classic signs of her being stuck in the cycle of abuse. First there was the abuse period, severe fighting at the end of which she would often walk out being the second, the third period would be the reconciliation where he would call and apologise or the elders of the family would be brought in to ‘patch things up’, and the fourth and final stage of returning to him, believing all his lies claiming that it would never happen again. Nevertheless, as always, she would believe and he ...

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Women are responsible for domestic abuse, not men

It’s an age old story that women are the main victims of abuse. Over the years, many NGOs, awareness projects and feminists have forced laws to be passed against female victimisation. We have all blamed men for abuse, who are seemingly the dominant sex and similarly, many steps have been taken to make women realise that it is the men who are at fault. So, why then are women still subjected to abuse, even though they are aware of their rights and are more liberated than before? Why are they not raising their voice against domestic abuse? And also, are men really the main cause of abuse? These questions ...

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Accuse and abuse

Expect, An elaborate depiction, Of maternal incest, For a giddy evening, Should not be blandly left. Paint the picture, And then, pervert it well. Really, what good is an abuse If not aimed below her belt? Accept, The just Jirga has finally said, For an honour to be reclaimed, Residential access of it, Must be gained. Hold her down, as you spread her around, Snatch it from, where it used to belong. Really, what good is an accusation, Without some perks, Deflowering virgins, For the privileged ones? The post first ...

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Education will not end wife beating, Pakistan needs a cultural shift

Domestic violence – a truly horrific term, to which only its victims can truly relate, is another one of the many plagues Pakistan suffers from. Honestly, I had never thought much about it. I knew what it meant and I knew it existed but that was the extent of my thoughts on the matter, probably because I have never experienced or witnessed it and so I could not relate to it. Or probably because, like so many of us, the bubble of my privileged social setup never gave me a window into this terrifying reality that engulfs many women. But the biggest ...

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Cyber love, Skype affairs and affection that kills

“Hi, would you like to become friends with me?” “Well, you are a stranger and I am not allowed to talk to strangers.“ “If we talk, we can get to know each other, then we won’t be strangers anymore.” And that is how it all begins… just some ‘harmless fun’. Stories of rape, blackmail and abuse have become quite frequent of late. These tales are not limited to any particular class or strata of our patriarchal society. To quote just one personal incident, my maid’s daughter, a girl who was hardly 17-years-old at the time, eloped with a relative’s acquaintance and was recovered from another city. The ...

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Kankar: Was Kiran right or wrong in divorcing her husband?

The first slap is the worst – red, hot searing pain across the face. But what sears through is more than a slap. Something breaks inside. A feeling of helplessness, vulnerability and a shattered sense of self-worth takes over which is why, a woman’s first reflex reaction is always disbelief; shock. It is an instant realisation of the painful reality that she will never forget that moment. That she will never be able to unlearn this blow. Sanam Baloch depicted a battered woman’s experience beautifully in the recent Hum TV serial Kankar which ended on December 6, 2013. The serial, with its protagonist ‘Kiran’ ...

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Male sexual abuse: A myth or fact?

There is a common myth about sexual abuse. Many people believe that boys cannot be abused and even if they are, they argue that sexual abuse is less harmful to boys than to girls. This myth also implies that boys and men cannot be sexually abused because they are better able to protect themselves. Men are not considered vulnerable – psychically or emotionally. However, one must understand that boys are not men; they are mere children who are as defenceless as girls and can too be weak whence trying to protect themselves against predators. According to the Rozan Annual Report 2011-12 2,303 children were abused ...

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Why do we have ‘ladies parks’? Can’t trust ladies with men?

Going to work in the morning becomes interesting when you start to notice things that have changed over time in the typically conservative environment of Peshawar. One such change has been the increasing use of parks and roads in the residential areas of Peshawar, for fitness purposes. It is so encouraging to see the morning joggers and walkers including bearded men, veiled females and the youth. Out of these, the most promising sight is the increasing number of females that can be seen in the early hours of morning, wrapped in big chaddars or abayas, making an effort to ...

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Accepting domestic abuse as a part of daily life

As a Pakistani woman, I grew up understanding that the best guarantee of my life-long security is the promise of a man’s companionship. A man will back me financially, ward off awkward questions that will arise if I remain single too long and give me a ‘home’ to care for. A man will chaperone me to family gatherings, tell me how best to behave and transform me into ‘a complete woman’.  While this formula for security infuriated me on several levels, it is the things it left unsaid that horrified me the most. No one told me just how badly a ...

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