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Thread: Pakistan's taboo of sex abuse

  1. #1
    Pakistan's taboo of sex abuse
    Nadia Asjad
    BBC reporter, Islamabad

    A group of Lahore women factory workers complain they are greeted each morning by their bus driver unzipping his trousers.
    A university student in Islamabad, Saira, recalls one of her professors: "He would pat our backs, touch our hands whenever possible and stare at us suggestively."

    And a woman from Pakistan's most conservative region, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), discovers that her husband molested her son's wife: "When we all protested, he divorced me and threw me out of his house," she said.

    It is clear that sexual harassment is a widespread problem across the country.


    Ranging from "Eve teasing" - as sexual taunting is often referred to in South Asia - to disturbing numbers of gang rapes, sexual harassment is affecting women in villages and cities alike.

    Yet the problem has been ignored by society in general and by the government.

    Even women themselves have said little in the face of a social value system that makes it difficult to speak out.

    The Karachi-based organisation Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) raises awareness and provides legal aid to women victims of sexual harassment.

    LHRLA president Zia Ahmed Awan says that even educated women in Pakistan do not understand what harassment is.

    "Sexual harassment does not just mean an act of physical offence. It starts from any gesture, stares or remarks that make women feel insecure and uncomfortable - while rape, molestation, incest etcetera remain the most severe forms of sexual harassment," he says.

    Sexual stares

    Among the most common forms of harassment in Pakistan are the discomforting gazes that follow a woman wherever she goes, as soon as she sets foot outside her home.

    They are so common that many women do not even consider them an abuse.
    "I often advise girls and women to start wearing sunglasses in public in order to avoid eye-contact with males who stare at them and make them feel uncomfortable," says Zia Awan.

    And the unwelcome male attention also extends to the workplace.

    Women employees in a range of organisations in the cities tell tales of bosses and colleagues making unjustified demands.

    One woman working in a multinational company in Islamabad told me that her boss was pressing her to go on a date with him.

    In return, she says, he is offering her not only a salary rise, but a promotion as well.

    Suffering in silence

    Incidents of harassment and molestation are being reported at workplaces, public venues and universities from all over the country, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

    Its figures show that this year between January and August, 175 women including 24 minors were gang raped and 225 were raped, of which 38 were minors.

    Ten women were stripped naked publicly - a practice sometimes used to punish women considered to have brought shame on their communities.

    These are the forms of extreme sexual abuse. Most cases of sexual harassment go unreported - but some figures suggest cases are increasing.

    For example, in 2002, 12 women were stripped in public places - in 2003, the number rose to 40.

    Combating the problem is difficult. Women don't want to discuss these issues. They prefer to suffer in silence.

    Like the woman from NWFP, thrown out by her husband for protesting when he molested a relative, they fear that if they speak up, they will take the blame and lose face in society

  2. #2
    It's sad really....

    Women's rights groups voice their opinions but they are threatened too and sometimes cases end there only..

    Yes, it is extremely disturbing to read that this does happen is Pakistan........... but then the fact is it happens every where...

    Wish people know how to respect women..

    The problem is many ppl do injustice to women and even get away with it... the worst ones are Honor Killings and Acid Attacks......
    like this see:

  3. #3
    oh my god , that's really weird.

    no matter if it's pakistan or india, these things are happening on both sides of the border, everyday women are tortured and like those cases upthere, it seems life sucks at both ends, don't know when these conditions will improve, but that really is werid

  4. #4
    sad to read it ...
    even when i browse through newspaper a single page doesnt go without it!
    i cant say Pakistan is working well on this issue but i know some of the NGO's which are working for the purpose to make women aware about these things and to build thier confidence to face such circumstances created by men plus to give them strength to fight for their right
    and for the rest Lets pray to Allah that may we All seek right guidance Ameen~

  5. #5

  6. #6
    In tamilnadu, india
    woman only police stations are set up in all towns managed by woman cops only .,where woman can walk in and conpllain.Complaint boxes are kept in busstops,shopingmals
    u make me happy

  7. #7
    That is simply absurd, its a total discrimination. This all in our country? Ahh, tats pretty sad and ridiculous. It is just like torturing some one. Hope Allah help these ppl follow the right path.
    ~`Our deepest regrets are words unsaid and things undone`~

  8. #8
    Well, in pakistan there are women police stations as well and the whole staff is female. That is not the issue. The main issue is educating women to stand up and protest. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for your rights. And it is not an easy path to take. Specially in our societies where such issues are taken as a matter of personal honor.

  9. #9
    [align=justify:3f6eecf761]really sad and shame for us,

    where have we lost our morals

    may GOD help us, we have ruined ourselves individually and collectively.

    but silence is not a solution in this case



    we all should work towards betterment and as a first step correct ourselves.

    take care


  10. #10
    I very much agree with your last point hasni, YES charity begins at home.
    Dream, I do.

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