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Violence against Women in Pakistan: Prevalence, Legislation, Interventions & Realities

Maliha Gull Tarar, Sarah Safdar, Syeda Mahnaz Hassan

Abstract
Violence against women is a global human rights issue and irrespective
of economic, social, religious or cultural groups; it is widespread in all
countries. In Pakistan, high-profile cases and the staggering statistics of
violence against women present a bleak picture for women. Like other
developing and developed countries, in last few decades, Pakistan has
adopted many legislative measures and intervention strategies to combat
violence against women and to ensure women’s rights. This paper is based
on a cross-sectional study conducted in the Punjab, Pakistan to explore the
voices of women victims of violence. Semi-structured interview schedule
was developed to conduct in-depth interviews of women victims of
violence residing in Dar-ul-Aman, established by the Directorate of Social
Welfare, Government of Punjab, Pakistan. The research concluded that
Pakistani women are facing direct, indirect or structural and cultural
violence, but violence against women is considered a private matter and
tends to be underreported. Due to the religious and cultural notions of
honour, fate and patience; violence against women is
rationalized/normalized and women were often ignorant of the fact that
such violence is a crime. To provide real intervention, it is direly needed to
enact new laws and properly implement the existing laws. Moreover, strict
measures should be taken against the informal criminal justice system like
Jirga and Panchayat; involved in gender-biased practices in Pakistan.

Key Words: Women Rights, Violence, Laws, Implementation, Violation,
Feminist Analysis