Stories about violence against women

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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My father divorced my mother because she gave birth to me, a girl

A few days ago, a newborn baby girl was dumped in a garbage heap by an unidentified woman in Faisalabad. No one realised there was a baby until the heap was set on fire and the cries of the baby girl alerted the garbage collector. She was taken to hospital with more than three-fourth of her body burnt. Unfortunately, the doctors could not save her. Female infanticide is still very common in Pakistan. It is sad to see that even in the 21st century the birth of a female is considered a stigma. When my eldest sister Tena* was born (we are three sisters ...

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A Pakistani in Amsterdam: Sexual harassment has no geographical location

As I climbed the stairs to my apartment, I could feel my legs giving up and my heart throbbing in my throat. I did not know if my friends realised what damage I had just incurred as we exited the bar nearby our apartments. The experience rendered me silent in shock, which is why I only walked away, hoping to reach home safe and sound, instead of smashing the faces of those two men who stereotyped, harassed, heckled, and belittled me in broad daylight. After dinner, two of my American friends and I left the bar for home. At the doorstep, ...

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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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Nigella Lawson: One of the many faces of domestic violence

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released this week, physical and sexual violence now affects a third of women worldwide. The consequences of this includes a myriad of health problems including broken bones, bruises, pregnancy complications and depression coupled with the harsh reality that many of these women may possibly spend their lifetime in such a relationship.  In the last year, a host of high-profile rape cases in India have helped shed the spotlight on the pandemic of sexual violence against women. Though we have a long way to go and much responsibility to bear, as a society, the immediate result ...

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Samra’s story: When marital abuse did not break her

Attending the graduation ceremony of students at the prestigious University of Toronto, my daughter pointed out Samra Zafar, saying “She topped in Economics and she is a Pakistani!”  Samra was flanked not by parents, but two daughters, aged 12 and seven. I wanted to know more about her, and hence invited her over to our house next evening. At home, while sipping tea, Samra shared her 14 year journey with me and I was absolutely floored by her story. In 1999, in Abu Dhabi, Samra was a brilliant 16-years-old student of grade 11, dreaming to go to a foreign university to pursue higher ...

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And then they were free

There was blood everywhere. The ringing in the ears. The throbbing pain in his gut from being punched. The mini blackouts that wouldn’t stop. The screams he would hear intermittently. The mad blinding rage he felt turning cold. Shahab was doubled over at the table. The otherwise blue-coloured glass that sat on it was shaking. No. The glass wasn’t shaking. Shahab looked up. Rasheedullah was shaking it. Rasheedullah was in a mad rage. Rasheedullah’s eyes were bloodshot. His mouth was wet. His teeth were bared. He was a human bloodhound with a long serrated knife in one hand and a battered brown slipper in the ...

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I was thrashed but not beaten: Never be afraid of divorce

I got married at a very young age. I was 17- years-old and had not even finished high school yet. I was married to a man who was 31 years old at the time, an MBA graduate from a university in the US. He belonged to an elite and very well to do family from Karachi and was also the only son. Marriage to me was all about jewellery, fun, laugh and play, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that although it was a new relationship it was definitely a very strange one. In the third month of ...

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A woman’s fate

For as long as one can remember, Karachi has been beset by killings. Though these days it seems that it is getting easier to murder a woman and get away with it. Murders of women are reported from all corners of the country, almost on a daily basis, and without a doubt, many cases go unnoticed or unreported. Alarmingly, a sizeable majority of the women killed are young and newly-wed. They are not just murdered, but murdered after being subjected to domestic torture and sexual violence. Unfortunately, nothing much is being done to promote the fast-vanishing tradition of respecting and honouring women. Recently, ...

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Lighting candles for the Delhi gang rape changes nothing

I’ve been following, yet intentionally trying to ignore this entire circus surrounding me. People have been demanding  justice, in terms of the death penalty, for those six rapists’ for weeks now. Close friends, relatives, acquaintances have been debating, protesting, discussing, showing anger blah dee blah. Amidst all of this, I fail to understand a few very simple things. Have we been completely blind to the endless rape and assault cases that are reported in the paper every single day for decades? Are we oblivious to the slave-like state of Indian women outside the 1% city girls? How does the torture of one girl become ...

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