Stories about abuse

Forced into marriage

We live in the twenty-first century, yet it is appalling to know that women in Pakistan still face numerous problems especially in terms of marriage. Girls are often not given the right to choose their life partners and later when they are married, they are usually victims of domestic violence. Although most women in Pakistan accept a forced marriage as their fate, and quietly sign the marriage certificate, many women stand up for their rights and refuse to do so. The video shows the fate such women face; they are brutally beaten and threatened till they succumb to the wishes of those ...

Read Full Post

Another women’s bill passed – so what?

So another bill was passed in the National Assembly for taking women rights forward. As a woman, and an ardent advocate of women rights, I should be happy and celebrating. But, seriously, I am not. In fact, what does this Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2011 have to offer that the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006 or the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 did not offer anyway? Women are still raped, killed for ‘honour’, thrown acid on and harassed at the workplace. Does passing a bill and making it into a ...

Read Full Post

Rape is not funny

“Yaar main nay toh exam ka rape kar dya” (Man I totally raped the exam) …I overheard someone triumphantly say as I was packing my bag in school. My fingers fumbled with the strap as I tried to drown out the peals of laughter that erupted after the inappropriate comment. Sadly, it isn’t that strange to hear someone use the word ‘rape’ in such a frivolous manner. People have now become accustomed to using this word casually in contexts that are far from serious. This immature use takes away from the gravity of the issue, and attributes a humorous quality to a crime that is far from a ...

Read Full Post

Teacher, don’t stand so close to me

We’ve all done it when we were awkward and fourteen. The teacher was probably not even young or good looking.  But we did it for approval, for love, for a better grade, to be admired.  A student of mine alerted me to an interested phenomenon recently. There was this girl who was most sober in my class, did her work, took copious notes, wrote at college level, her glasses high on her nose, she looked like she had just stepped out of Hajj.   My student told me in reference to her: “You should see her in the Eco teacher’s class. ...

Read Full Post

The life of an abused woman

In this video a young woman by the name of Allahrakhi, from the Panah Shelter in Karachi, Pakistan, is interviewed. For her entire life, Allahrakhi has known nothing but sadness and misery. Orphaned as a very young child, her uncle took her and her siblings in, only to deprive them of their father’s wealth and make them bonded labour. On getting married, Allahrakhi was again subjected to abuse; she was beaten often and severely by her husband. Her sister-in-laws-, too were cruel. They did not allow her new clothes or food, and kept poisoning her husband against her . Later, when her child was born, ...

Read Full Post

Sledging in a gentleman’s game: It never helps the batsman

“Sledging” is a controversial activity that takes place on the cricket ground. It means teasing the opponent by exchanging harsh words, abusing or ridiculing him. It normally works for bowlers since distracting the batsman can make him nervous and help get his wicket. Only Australian cricketers believe it is an art and that their players must know how to tease the opponent. They ridicule the opponent and test his nerves so he gets annoyed and loses his wicket. Although all teams use it as a wicket-taking tactic, the Australians have mastered it and use it effectively. Apart from the Kangaroos, Indian cricketers like ...

Read Full Post

Do journalists have the licence to transgress?

A press card can come in really handy. It doesn’t matter how dumb your picture is on that piece of plastic, you can wear it around your neck and ease your way into concerts or talk your way out of traffic predicaments. You can use it to flaunt your power at the policeman who has parked his metal contraption in a narrow lane, blocking a series of helpless  vehicles that are forced to reverse and go all the way around. It would have been fuel for another series of ‘our police is so  corrupt’ conversations were it not for the ...

Read Full Post

Classroom corruption: Time for teachers to learn a lesson

A nine-year-old girl’s face flashes in my mind. The girl was beaten black and blue by her teacher who had accused her of stealing Rs500. Some would say the girl is ‘lucky’ as she did not sustain grievous injuries unlike many other victims. But no child who face a teacher’s abuse is lucky enough to escape mental anguish it causes. Students have been known to be punished so badly that they lose their eyesight for crimes as minor as not learning their lessons or misbehaving. Teachers: are you reading this? Things might be different in elitist schools for the privileged, where only qualified teachers ...

Read Full Post

Where Dr Aafia Siddiqui will die

Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s  sentence to 86 years by New York judge Richard Berman sent shock waves around the world. Many of her supporters felt that it was just one step away from the death penalty. Sadly, this might be closer to the truth than they imagine. Not only did the judge impose an unprecedented sentence, he also personally intervened to make sure she would serve it in one of America’s most brutal institutions. In short, Dr Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to death – because if she remains in the innocuous sounding Federal Medical Facility in Carswell, Texas, like many others who ...

Read Full Post