On protecting women: an overview

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On protecting women: an overview

Ghazala Anbreen

According to a Chinese saying ”Women hold half of the sky” but unfortunately even in the present times they are the first to be enslaved and last to be freed at many places of the world.

patriarchy and misogyny

patriarchy and misogyny hold sway in our society and it is required that domestic violence towards women is combated effectively.

Kinds of violence include:

1. emotional violence,

2. economic abuse and

3. sexual violence.

One reason can be the economic situation of the household and secondly the women are not financially independent.

Seminars and panel discussions for awareness

Educating the women through holding of seminars and panel discussions is essential as it is felt continuously that there are but a few such events and virtual discussions in Pakistan to make women aware of their rights and obligations.

Fear clutches and ensnares her most often

A woman suffering at the hands of her near ones cannot have the free mind  and has a premonition of something sinister may happen to her and she may not be treated well and may be evicted from the house anytime without any fault of her own. She also apprehends that her parents or family may not accept her if she files a complaint concerning any wrong doing.

Females in Pakistan in general

Females are lagging behind in different aspects and are under developed and under represented in many sectors in Pakistan. The participation of women in electoral process is also is quite less.

Making the system easy

Protection is not that you make the woman vulnerable. You have to make the system direct, easy and help the women. We have to build the system and reform the society also. We have to break all the barriers. We have to build bridges. Why don’t we stand with the women who are facing the trials and instead let them face the misery and remain  nonchalant. We rather allow other forums to decide her fate and lot.

Forums for facilitating women in Pakistan

Many forums are there but lack of awareness is an obstacle in originating the cases. The women lack the basic knowledge as which forum they should go and how to approach the magistrate.

We see torture for the women when we see the rigmarole of filing the:

1. FIR,

2. Visiting the court, and then facing  prolonged trials,

3. All the communication will be in the form of challan and that is a public document from lawyer to lawyer, chamber to chamber.

How can she be facilitated for divorce, making it easy

Likewise, for dissolution of marriage there can be a simple statement , “I cannot live with him”: this must be sufficient statement for the dissolution of marriage. But she has to go through a tough experience as follows:

4. Lawyer

5. Court

6. Advertisement

7. Summons to the person who does not turn up often,

8. Statement is recorded

Legislation to combat domestic violence

Holistic legislation should be there to address the issue of domestic violence.

In Pakistan the cases of domestic violence have seen an increase. Now their percentage is far higher as compared to previous years.

It is a common practice that the cases a judge adjudicates daily in civil courts are inclusive of  the cases related to the dissolution of marriage which are also given to the same judge.

Number of female judges

As per a recent report of Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan “Female makes up a meagre 18 per cent of total working judges across country. There are only seven female judges out of the total 126 judges in Pakistan’s superior judiciary”. Their number needs to be increased as they have a better understanding of issues related to women and are more familiar with intricate details at domestic level.

Importance of mediation

For divorce cases importance of arbitration is also important. There should be more mediation councils for reconciliation for dispute resolution. The reality remains that the more lawyers go for arbitration, the more cases they will get. Digitization of the cases is also necessary as it will reduce the backlog.

Alternative dispute resolution. ADR.

LJCP reports that as many as 2.26 million cases are pending adjudication in Pakistani courts. In this regard ADR is helpful in reducing the number of pending cases.

Training police officials

Training police officials is crucial for the quick response by the police stations to afflicted women for ensuring that she will not be divorced if she files some complaint against her husband or in laws.

Make the system direct

After 18th amendment the role of the Federal Government was quite less regarding taking initiatives. Plethora of laws for protection of women in Pakistan are there but implementation is lacklustre. We have to work to bridge the gabs while women are deprived. We have to make the system direct and help the women. For amending these laws the situation should be looked at  from an overall point of view.

Awareness through seminars

Through seminars, conferences, panel discussions  ideas should be promoted regarding making women more aware of their rights. The fact remains that no society can flourish which does not support its females and kids. Awareness needs to be imparted if the case of domestic violence in any household occurs the women can go to the police station or even file the case directly in the court fearlessly.

Holy Prophet’s P.B.U.H treatment towards women

How Prophet B.P.U.H treated his household serves us a good lesson. Whenever his daughter visited, he used to stand up and this practice needs to be followed by all Muslims.

Families do not come to support the tormented ladies often

As far as domestic violence is concerned our system is not so much women centric. Unfortunately if a lady suffers in some way,  90 percent of the times the families do not support her. In such a case it is the responsibility of the government to give protection  to them for some time. Some NPOs are providing pro bono assistance to women and kids and have opened family protection centers having temporary shelters where women can stay with their kids in Pakistan but their number needs to be increased.

It is also seen that  if some untoward incidence happens to a lady, the fathers themselves do not report considering it a matter of honour.

Non cooperation of female police staff

The problem which the women face  if they go to police stations  the staff and especially lady police are not welcoming for the reason they say “it is your domestic issue, solve at your domestic level” despite the fact whether the woman has a solid  proof.

online violence

In addition to face to face or in person violence, online violence is more which is nerve wreaking and takes a heavy toll on women. We are living in an internet era where almost everything is online. There is a lot of violence in the form of bullying etc. Females are being blackmailed by their intimate partners and they are gripped by an apprehension that they may get public any time. This fear consumes them from within. On this issue they need a lot of awareness and need to be sensitized.

There are cyber crime cells to deal with the cyber crime stalker.

Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan ensures that  “you cannot discriminate anyone on the basis of sex”

Under legal provision of Protection against Harassment of women in the Workplace Act women can obtain the restraining orders against individuals who pose threat to her safety.

Under these laws women are provided protection.

Encouraging women

Females should not feel helpless totally. They must be asked to go and report.

Bringing females in the mainstream

Bringing females in the mainstream is very important because they have in general proved to be the better leaders and are endowed with greater levels of tolerance and patience.

Females are better administrators

Women are working in many international organizations and often they emerge as better administrators than the males. Financially also there are few corruption scandals against them. They have done better at governance levels and as team leads. They have proved that under their governance greater emphasis on health is given.

Following are some of the laws about women emancipation.

1. The Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 (PECA)

Provides protection against if anyone makes your video or message public .

2. Domestic Violence (2022)

3. FOSPA,  relates to territorial jurisdiction,  and tells if the lady has to go to the native town to file the complaint then what is the use of FOSPA.

4. Section 498- A CPC, 1898 is related to cruelty towards married women by their husbands and in-laws.

5. Section 509  of Pakistan Penal Code addresses the (Intent to Insult the modesty of women)

6. Section 512 of PPC states that  (Nobody can Challenge the Modesty)

7. Section 365 (a) and (b) of Pakistan Penal Code, deals with kidnapping a woman to compel her for marriage.

Pakistan, an over legislated country

We are an over legislated country. So many laws about protection of women are there but their implementation is not witnesses in real sense. If at all the legislation is there that is not the result of debate.

A system should be devised to know how many adjournments were there of cases, how many witnesses were heard. For legislation to put into practice we have to see that it is not deficient.

Together we can make a difference and create an equitable society for all. We must make their trails easy and facilitate the suffering women. We must design the system in a way to give relief.

Character building of the society

Character building of the society is required where they are taught to give  respect to women. The men should be made aware that their  language towards women in general should reflect their upbringing. The more honorably they will treat the women, the better performance on the part of these women, both in quality and quantity, will be observed for sure.