This section is to highlight and provide some information about gender-based violence and how that’s impacting the lives of women and girls.
Trigger Warning: The content below includes factual information about gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation (Series, 2017).
One in three (35 percent) women and girls worldwide have experienced GBV (Female, 2018, p. 1).
Some of the most atrocious acts of violence encouraged and enacted by majority of Pakistan’s society include acid throwing, stoning, bride burning, burning with an oven, forced suicide, honour killings, rape, and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) (Ali, 2008)
UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND
One in two Pakistani women who have experienced violence never told anyone about the violence they have experienced nor looked for help (UNFPA).
In Pakistan today, many women and girls fall victim to honour-based violence. Honour-based violence is driven by a desire to preserve the prestige of one’s family or community. The kind of forms this violence takes is murder, acid attacks, starvation, physical mutilation/disfiguration, (UNICEF, 2018, p. 19; United Nations, 2013).
Underreporting and failure to seek help are high in developing countries, especially Pakistan (Palermo, 2013, p. 1). In a research study about reporting and GBV in developing countries, researchers found that some of the barriers women experience in reporting or reaching out for help include: “shame and stigma, financial barriers, perceived impunity for perpetrators, lack of awareness of available services or access to such services, cultural beliefs, threat of losing children, fear of getting the offender in trouble, fear of retaliation, discriminatory and stereotypical attitudes toward victims in courts and law enforcement settings, and distrust of healthcare workers” (Palermo, 2013, p. 1).
PROTECTION OF WOMEN
In 2016, the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act (PPWVA) was passed as the first legislation in Pakistan to have been created for the safety and support of women survivors of violence with implementation mechanisms (Tanwir, Fennell, Lak & Sufi, 2019).
HOW LACK OF EDUCATION
PLAYS A FACTOR IN
Many women do not know of their social and legal rights due to their lack of literacy and education which is often the reason they become stuck in their abusive situations (Zakar, 2016). Furthermore, a lack of education also decreases the chances of women and girls having access to employment opportunities and financial freedom. Unfortunately, causing them to be dependent on their abusive partners.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
In 2018, more than 22 million children in Pakistan were out of school, most of them girls. “Thirty-two percent of primary school age girls do not attend school, compared with 21 percent of boys. By ninth grade, when children are about age 14, just 13 percent of girls are still in education” (“Pakistan...”).
Ali, Parveen. “Journal Of Pakistan Medical Association.” JPMA, 2008, jpma.org.pk/article-details/1372.
“Female Genital Mutilation.” (2018). World Health Organization, World Health Organization,
“Pakistan: Girls Deprived of Education.” Human Rights Watch, 12 Nov. 2018,
Palermo, Bleck, Peterman, Tip of the Iceberg: Reporting and Gender-Based Violence inDeveloping Countries, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 179, Issue 5, 1 March 2014, Pages 602–612,
“Series: What Does That Mean? Gender-Based Violence: Women for Women International.” Change Her Life with the Gift of Sponsorship, 2017,
Tanwir, M., Fennell, S., Lak, H. R., & Sufi, S. (2019). Not accepting abuse as the norm: Local forms of institutional reform to improve reporting on domestic violence in punjab. Journal of International Women's Studies, 20(7), 129-153. Retrieved from
UNICEF, ROSA (2018). Structural Violence Against Children in South Asia.
United Nations. “Pakistan: Domestic Violence, Including Effectiveness of the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006; State Protection and Services Available to Victims.” Refworld, 14 Jan. 2013, www.refworld.org/docid/51222ba42.html.
Zakar, R., Zakar, M.Z. & Abbas, S. J Fam Viol (2016) 31: 15.