Crimes against women

This week has seen several unfortunate incidents of crimes against women. Such incidents are far too common in society and often perpetuated by violent and aggressive men while the current laws are too soft and they often get scot-free.

Last week, a mother of four, Quratul Ain, was brutally tortured and killed by her husband in Hyderabad. A post-mortem report revealed the extent of horrific injures and fractures on every part of her body. The couple had a history of domestic violence testified by their family and neighbours. The matter was only highlighted after it was raised on social media. Still, efforts are being made by her influential husband to evade justice

Meanwhile, the federal capital has been grappling with the brutal murder and decapitation of a young woman. Noor Mukkdam, the daughter of a former diplomat, visited a friend who shot her after a heated argument and then literally beheaded her with a sharp object. The perpetrator, who was inebriated at the moment, is a businessman who orchestrated the murder. Another woman became victim to the whims of egotistical men.

Violence against women has worsened as many are trapped against their abusers and cannot seek help. The Domestic Violence bill was rejected by parliament and now remains in the quandary. Those who do manage to seek help and contact the police face other challenges including an archaic culture and system that treats the survivor as the victim. These often became a hashtag on social media as people demand justice.

A gender protection unit recently set up in Islamabad received over 131 complaints from women in just a month mostly concerning sexual harassment. There is a need to introduce a proper law in the judicial system to protect women so that the culprits are given stringent punishments. The biggest challenge is that women do not report cases of violence due to victim-blaming attitudes by police officers. This deep-rooted bias is part of a patriarchal police force. The criminal justice system is discriminatory, stigmatizes victims and does not provide efficient support for them. If we fail to change this system, we will see more trends, hashtags and cries for help.