In life there is something call ‘free will’ it is the freedom which allows us to make choices. To or not to do something is a choice that we make voluntarily without it being forced upon us. You can choose to do something or you can choose not to do it, ultimately the choice is yours to make. Never do something and then turn around and complain about doing it because it was your choice, you could have chosen not to do it!
Violence against women takes various forms, from Acid Throwing, Female Genital Mutilation, to Torture and Murder. One of the most heinous of these crimes is Bride Burning. It is practiced in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The crime is often staged to appear as an accident or suicide. The victims are usually newly married women whose parents do not have the money to pay off the husband‘s dowry requirements. The perpetrators are usually the husband’s family or the husband himself.
Women in these countries do not get much support from their male counterpart. The husband’s family will harass, threaten and sometimes kill the bride if her family cannot come up with the money or gifts . With the new wife out-of-the-way , the husband is free to remarry and get a new dowry from his new bride. In 2010 there were 8391 reported cases of dowry deaths in India alone.
In Pakistan although divorce is possible, it is claimed that some families decide instead to murder unwanted wives. In most cases of bride burning the woman is doused with kerosene, the helpless defenseless woman is then set on fire and is burned alive. The deaths are often reported as accidents. In many cases the police are told the victim was killed by an exploding stove and there is no prosecution. They opt for burning because the chances of prosecution is less.
Bride burning is a wicked, barbaric act. It is one of the most gruesome forms of human rights violation.
An honor killing is the killing of a member of a family or social group by other members who believe that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or the community. In countries such as India where there is little respect for the lives of women, a woman can be killed for simple things such as dressing in a manner which is deemed in appropriate, wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage, desiring to marry by her own choice or engaging in sex outside of marriage.
Women’s rights activists say India’s police are not doing enough to tackle the problem of ‘honor killings’. Many times the police do not take complaints by the victims seriously. They do not provide protection for the victims and this boosts the morale of the culprits; they take the law into their own hands.
What is ironic is that simple things that women do are considered sins but the murdering of women is not. Apparently in the eyes of these perpetrators killing is okay if the victim is a woman.
The public beheading of a woman by his brother in Kolkata last December highlights the lack of respect for the lives of women in India. This incident on December 7, 2012, was another honor killing. Nilofar Bibi 22, at the time of her death was only fourteen years old when she left home in an arranged marriage. Bibi alleged that she was tortured by her in-laws and returned to her parents on November 28 but disappeared days later.
Her brother Mehtab Alam 29, found his sister living with an old boyfriend. He stormed into the house and dragged Bibi into the street in broad daylight. Passersby watched in horror as he cut off his sister’s head while saying she had sinned and had to be punished. He left his sister’s body in a pool of blood on the road and calmly walked to the police station with her head in his hand to surrender himself. He walked into the police station and placed the head of his sister and the butcher knife he used to decapitate her on a table in front of the police officer.
The sibling’s family expressed support for Alam saying they were proud he upheld their honor.
I am at a loss to understand what honor this young man upheld. Honor is protecting and defending the women in your family. Honor is defending and protecting your sister when the man who should love and protect her is abusing her. There is nothing honorable about killing a defenseless woman especially a member of your own family – your sister. It is a shameful and dishonorable act which must be condemned. There can be no honor in taking a human life.
There are some things in life,
That you have to do alone,
There are no books to help or guide you,
You have to do it on your own,
And there are no easy answers,
To the questions in your mind,
The confusion of emotions,
Which makes everything hard to define.
You try so hard to understand it,
But nothing makes much sense,
And no matter how smart you are,
You can’t prevent it happening.
I guess it’s how you deal with it,
Wherein the answer lies,
You have to take control of your emotions,
Sometimes you have to smother what you feel in order to get by,
And despite the fact that no doctor can help you,
And no medication can,
Sometimes in life you have to fight this thing called love.
One of the most horrifying forms of gender-based violence in Pakistan is acid throwing, usually sulphuric acid is used. The victims are mainly women. The acid is used with malicious intent to take revenge, disfigure and harm the person.
Every year many women in Pakistan fall victims of brutal acid attacks. The Acid Survivor Foundation of Pakistan deals with 100 cases a year but estimates the real number of people affected to be far higher. The attacks are frequently linked to domestic violence or revenge by rejected men. Some men ego will not allow them to accept rejection and when their advances are spurned they retaliate by throwing acid at the woman.
The attacks are made possible by the easy availability of cheap acids as cleaning fluid or for use in the cotton industry. The perpetrator intention is not to kill the victim, but to make them suffer forever. An acid attack is a terrifying experience. Acid melts human flesh and even bones. It causes excruciating pain and terror. The victims are left mutilated and scarred for the rest of their lives. Some suffer permanent disabilities such as blindness and some victims have died as a result of their injuries.
In December 2011, the Acid Survivor Foundation-Pakistan, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development, led a campaign, which resulted in the unanimous passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 made acid and burn violence a crime against the state and imposed a fine of one million Pakistani rupees, along with a punishment of minimum seven years to lifetime imprisonment, for the crime of acid throwing.
Despite the new laws, acid throwing continue to take place.
“Its hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but its harder to give up when you know its everything you want.” – Unknown
Happy International Women’s Day to all the women around the world. As we celebrate this day let us all stand in solidarity to put an end to abuse against women. We must say no to Female Genital Mutilation, Child Marriages, Dowry Killings, Breast Ironing, Rape, Domestic Abuse and all other forms of abuse against women. It is time for governments around the world to properly enforce the laws to protect women. It is time for not just talk but for action as well.