Stories about domestic abuse

The reactions to Qandeel’s death reveal no understanding of feminism in Pakistan

They call her a prostitute, a sex object, a joke and other degrading insults in an attempt to discredit her. They assume that because they deem her to be all of the above, she cannot at the same time be empowering women and/or herself. A fatal flaw is, thus, exposed in their argument in that she is struck down for what women (and men) across the world celebrate her for: her courage, tenacity and fire to be whoever she chose to be in a society that (literally) stifles freedom—especially freedom of expression. As I reflect upon this week, many voices ...

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When honour lies in what happens between the legs of women

Qandeel Baloch is dead. Seems like the woman had earned the ire of way too many men. In Pakistan, the ire of one man is enough to claim your life or at least ruin your face forever with a splash of some acid. First, it was Maulana Abdul Qavi, followed by her husband’s revelations. Finally, her brother came for her life. One woman against three mighty vicegerents of God? Boy, she needed to be put back in her skin and reminded of her auqaat (place) as a woman. Let’s fragment her experiences with the mentioned three men. Qavi The then Ruet-e-Hilal Committee member got embroiled ...

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It was entirely my fault

We had fought bitterly, And now, he is out like a light, But like countless other times, When morning comes, He’ll barely remember the fight, And how he almost came to blows, He won’t recall his cursing and yelling. When it will stop, there is no telling.   I know the children were listening, To the abuses and roars, Of their drunk father. Even through closed doors, It’s getting worse and worse, But I can’t pry him away, From the seductive horrors of the bottle, That coax and lure him, Into an infinite mindlessness every night.   Throwing caution to the wind, He has become oblivious, To the financial toll it’s taking, To the emotional fissures it’s making, But my agony and suffering, Is entirely my fault.   For marrying a man, Who had told ...

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Why is domestic abuse the selling point of Pakistani dramas?

The drama industry in Pakistan has grown exponentially and is a very valuable export of ours. These dramas have turned Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan into household names. For Pakistanis living abroad, they serve as a potent link to life back home and provide a much needed break from reality. However, there is still room for improvement. One particular thing that really irks me is the propensity to show violence against women on screen. There have been numerous incidents where a young member of my own family might be playing with a toy and they are suddenly transfixed to the TV screen, ...

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Series 4 Chandni Chowk Part 1 Where roses bloom like bruises

When the bell rings, your hands are still covered with dirt from the garden. You hastily stick them under the tap beside the back door, toss the apron into the oven on your way into the hall, and swing open the front door. The neighbours, aunty number one and aunty number two, whose actual names you can never remember, are standing underneath the shade of the lemon tree. They fan themselves with their hands, their flabby arms moving up and down in an inconsequential rhythm. Aunty number one struts inside, her salon-dyed blonde hair revealing itself through her scarf. Aunty number ...

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It is not okay to compromise on abuse, even if you’re married!

“Admi hay, esay tou keray ga.” (He’s a man, so he’s bound to behave like this). I must have been five when I overheard my mother say this to a female relative. I had probably heard it before but was too young to remember. Last week, a shocking report by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) revealed that 53 per cent of teenage girls in Pakistan believe that their partner hitting them is justified and  girls aged 15-19 believed refusing sex was an acceptable reason for wives to be beaten by their husbands. This is not surprising but it is painfully tragic. In our country ...

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8 reasons why classic Pakistani dramas need to come back

A few days back, while surfing through the inane number of television channels late at night, I came across a repeat telecast of Aangan Tehrra on PTV. Since I had nothing better to do at the time, I decided to watch it for a while… and just in the first few minutes, I was hooked. I remembered watching this show as a child in bits and pieces. But seeing two episodes back-to-back made me realise what a masterpiece this drama was. And at the same time, it dawned on me about how little our current dramas have to offer. Therefore, in the name of ...

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Her husband beat her and other women told her it’s probably her fault

A very recent Facebook discussion on a closed group brought light to an important issue: domestic abuse. The victim, *Humaira said she was distressed about the fact that her husband was not spending time with her so she voiced her concerns. Her husband reacted with anger; he shouted at her and grasped her tightly around the neck.    She then asked them, “Should I leave him?” Whilst there were certain sane voices that urged the woman to leave the hostile environment and remove herself from a dangerous situation, even if it were for a temporary period of time, there were many others ...

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The mysterious case of Muzaffar Shahid

It was around 9am when the doorbell rang. Arsalan was having breakfast in the kitchen. Amna had already dropped her three children to school and was standing in front of the freezer, contemplating the day’s menu. “Were you expecting someone?” Arsalan looked at her questioningly. “No,” she answered, as she walked out the kitchen and towards the front door. She peered through the peephole and saw a man and a woman in police uniforms. She didn’t open the door and went back to the kitchen. “It’s the police,” she told Arsalan. “You get the door.” Arsalan was up in an instant. “Good morning,” both the officers smiled ...

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All that ‘Amreeki glitter’ may not be gold in Jackson Heights

George Bernard Shaw said: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” It is true that life can be good, it can be tough and it can, most certainly, be unpredictable. It can take a person to a whole new world. Away from his or her country, away from their loved ones. The drama Jackson Heights, named after a neighbourhood in New York, beautifully depicted the life of a group of Pakistani immigrants. Aired on Urdu1, this particular drama struck a chord with me because of its storyline. Living in the US, it was refreshing to see this angle being taken – ...

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