Stories about domestic violence

Would surrogacy ever be accepted in Pakistan?

Divorce in Pakistan has become a common occurrence in Pakistan. There are various reasons why couples are inclined to go down that path – sometimes it’s the couple’s inability to understand one another, other times it is because of issues related to dowry; and in some cases, it is because the woman is unable to bear a child, for which the husband divorces his wife and marries someone else, someone more fertile. Personally, I felt that last reason was a completely baseless one to leave someone. If a couple, for some reason, cannot conceive, adoption is always an exceedingly viable ...

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Are all Pakistani women damsels in distress?

It feels really good to be a Pakistani woman these days. It brings a big smile to my face when I see five Pakistani women in the list of BBC’s 100 women of 2014. And no matter how controversial one may call Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, there is no denying the fact that it has brought Pakistani women at the centre stage again. Yes, the world is often quick to assume that women in our country are weaklings – damsels in perpetual distress. For a very long time the west has considered them little more than slaves of their male counterparts. ...

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Why does marriage equal compromise in Pakistan?

I’m a 24-year-old woman and I am divorced. Yes, you heard right; I’m a 24-year-old divorced woman in a Pakistani society. I got divorced because my husband was suffering from depression, was taking pills without any proper prescription due to which he also had erectile dysfunction. He insisted that his pride and ego were more important than getting treatment and ensuring a healthy marriage. When I tried explaining the benefits of acquiring treatment he became abusive, leaving me with no option but separation. Our society, however, does not believe I made the right decision. Yes, it is easy to sit behind a ...

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#HeForShe will not make you any less of a man

In an era where celebrities predominantly exercise an almost magnetic influence over their fan base to promote products and virtually dictate the way the populous dresses or behaves, it becomes exceedingly rare to see an individual stand up and talk about a pertinent issue. Emma Watson, an actress known mostly for her performance in the Harry Potter series, showed how celebrity power can be used in a positive way. Speaking before a UN conference, Watson kick started her ‘HeForShe’ campaign, a movement which aims to achieve gender equality by including men in the fight against female oppression. Although as a race, we have ...

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#WhyIStayed: Understanding why women stay with abusive husbands

When the disturbing video of National Football League (NFL) star, Ray Rice, beating up his wife in an elevator, after knocking her unconscious and dragging her out, surfaced in the media the harrowing narrative of domestic violence remerged with all its might and force. And the news of Janay Rice lashing out at the media for releasing the video and advising the media to mind its own business made her look like an even bigger culprit than her husband. It’s a common example of how the victim is demonised and morphed instantly into a culprit, if she does not fit our tailored standard of sham ...

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“I was raped hundreds of times, by the man I was married to”

That phase of her life ended three years ago with her divorce, but 35-year-old Naila* will never be healed of what she went through during the nine years of her marriage. This is a true story; the true story of a woman who suffered a plight faced by so many women. Sadly, the crime committed against them is not even considered a crime. “Every time my husband approached me, it was sheer torture. Sometimes physical, and forever mental and emotional torture. He was physically brutal and wanted me to indulge in behaviour I was not okay with. He never cared about ...

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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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Do you have a Sarah in your house?

Whenever I see her, her eyes haunt me. The sadness in them is unspeakable and the horrors of her life, incomprehensible. She is young and beautiful yet her heart yearns for a minute of peace and happiness. She is Sarah*, a married girl who lives with her in-laws. Sarah married into a family of four sisters where her husband was the only son. The torture began almost immediately. Her three unmarried sisters-in-law cannot stand the very sight of her. They never speak a kind word to her, and always address her with stern and blank expressions on their faces. The very faces that smile ...

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Will Pakistani acid victims ever be as lucky as Turia Pitt?

Some people are just more fortunate than others. That’s how this world works. This thought resonated in my mind as I read about Turia Pitt, a model-turned engineer who suffered 65% burns on her body during a bushfire in Australia. That was three years ago. Now, she is an author and an active charity fundraiser. In her own words she is, “the luckiest girl in the world.” She recently appeared on the front cover of Australian Women’s Weekly, with her resilient scars and her remarkable confidence. I wish we had more Turias in Pakistan. Turia Pitt on the cover of ...

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