Stories about violence against women

Sexual harassment at LUMS, don’t blame the university!

A video of a woman walking the streets of New York City, getting hundreds of catcalls from men went viral around the world this week. The woman is followed, called all sorts of names, and her attention is solicited, but none of the men touch her. In Pakistan, instances of men “inadvertently” touching women are all too common. Girls are taught to ignore it, to avoid creating a ‘scene’. Not only does society silence the woman, our very laws discourage women from reporting cases of violence against them. Yesterday, news broke out of the Federal Ombudsman directing the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to ...

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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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In Pakistan, ‘It’s On Us’ to protect women from sexual harassment

I remember a crowded market back in Karachi where we stood in a corner going through the merchandise. I was with one of my ‘foreign-educated’ aunts. Suddenly, I saw her face turn a shade of red. I dismissed it and we went back to sifting through the clothes.  A few moments later, it happened again. Her face turned red and her brows creased, but this time she turned around and before I knew it, she had grabbed a young boy by the collar.  “Can’t watch where you’re going huh? This is the third time you’ve passed by this place and grabbed ...

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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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#AskThicke crossed all Blurred Lines

 “I hate these blurred lines. I know you want it. I know you want it.” The song that took social media by storm is undoubtedly catchy. As I hummed it, I was oblivious to the fact that the lyrics would create such a social media uproar and spark controversy all over the world, making it one of the most frequently played songs of the decade and promoting Robin Thicke to surpass all boundaries of fame or notoriety. For a long time, I wasn’t aware of what all the fuss was about. To me, Blurred Lines was just another song. The song introduced ...

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For the last time, Germany did not “rape” Brazil!

The whole world watched with a mixture of great shock, glee, anticipation and disappointment as Germany beat Brazil by an impressive 7-1 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final. As a long-time fan of Brazil, I too was quite appalled. However, my dismay wasn’t because Brazil lost (it’s only a game after all, and countries win and lose all the time; it’s nothing new), it was more so due to the reaction elicited among many fans, especially over social media. They went so far as to state the most despicable of all metaphors in existence, ‘Germany raped Brazil’. This inappropriate metaphor was especially ubiquitous over Twitter, ...

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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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Can access to a toilet prevent rape?

The recent spate of rapes in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India has left everyone horrified. Along with the typical reactions from politicians and international agencies that accompany such heinous crimes, the link between lack of access to toilets and increased risk of rape, in particular, has received considerable attention in the national and international media. While the focus on the need for better sanitation is encouraging, I find it somewhat intriguing because neither the problem nor its consequences are ‘new’. In fact, it is one of the most fundamental requirements for any human being and therefore needs to be a constant priority ...

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Mimicking rape styles from India: Hang the rapists!

The outrageous rape and hanging of Muzammil Bibi near Multan is shocking to say the least. However, it will only remain a source of horror and disgust for a couple of days because as a nation we have grown immune to such and even worse cases. These news items catch our eye for a second and we mention it to our friends during the current day. Our discussion ends with, “Yaar, these things are common in Pakistan and no one can do anything about it.” We rarely remember this the next day and by the third day, there is another wild story to enrapture us, ...

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Three Muslim films Pakistanis must watch

Pakistan might not have the best movie industry in the world but Muslim countries across the world have managed to spread some truly phenomenal messages and cultural insights through their films industries. The Iranian cinema’s popularity in European film festivals and their recent Oscar win, is but one example of Muslim cinema’s increasingly transforming and often very realistic nature. In light of that, here are three thought-provoking films from different Muslim film industries that are sure to leave you pondering upon the many facets of Islamic beliefs and Muslim cultures. They will also highlight the drastic parallelism between foreign Muslim societies and ...

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