ITS NOT OKAY
Gender based violence and discrimination is one of the most prevalent forms of violence in the world today. While it is certainly true that such violence and discrimination is mostly inflicted upon women and girls, it is by no means gender specific. Such violence is usually an expression of the unequal relationship of power between men and women across societies, and knows no social, economic or national boundaries. We at TABAAN wish to create awareness about the issues surrounding gender based violence/discrimination. The Its Not Okay campaign highlights the day to day atrocities faced by women and girls – and men – because of their gender(s), cruelties that we have learned to take in stride because we are so used to seeing them around us. But it SHOULD NOT be that way because regardless of gender, we ALL HAVE RIGHTS and it is NOT okay!
Sadia* became an unwilling witness to an act of honor killing less than four months ago, when a member of her family was murdered in her village near Vehari District, Punjab. Honor killing is an extreme form of honor-based violence, where the victim is murdered in order to restore the reputation/honor of the family; which they (supposedly) besmirched with their behavior. In a society where the notion of honor is given more importance than life itself, and where familial control over every last member of the family (especially the women) has reached unprecedented levels in an effort to root out “vulgarity”; it is no wonder that out of the nearly 5000 honor killings that take place in the world today, 1000 are from Pakistan alone! What is perhaps equally shocking – yet not surprising – is that a majority of these killings are done under the pretext of “honor” so as to be “acceptable” in society. The real reasons for most of these heinous crimes range from as little as jealousy to property disputes between family members.
Honor Killing is known by different names in different areas of Pakistan, namely: Ghairat Ka Katal in Urdu, Karo Kari in Sindh, Siyah Kari in Balochistan, Kala Kali in Punjab and Taurtoora in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Security authorities usually fail to apprehend the culprits of these crimes, because most of the security personnel hail from the same areas. They therefore ‘understand the good deed’ committed by these murderers, and usually let them go.
By turning our faces away from such issues, we are not protecting ourselves and our children but rather, are paving the way for a more dangerous, irrational and intolerant society. Somebody close to you could suffer the same fate. Speak up about, and against, this issue before it is too late! *The name of the witness has been changed to protect her identity.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)
An estimated 100 million to 140 million girls worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), according to the UNO. More than 3 million girls are at risk for cutting each year on the African continent alone. In Khartoum State, 6000 girls fall victim to FGM each day – that is 2 million girls every year! Generally done on minors, it can also be practiced on newborns just a few days after birth or as late as a few days before marriage. It poses serious physical and mental health risks for women, and has been linked to complications in childbirth and maternal deaths. The practice, while prevalent mostly on the African continent and in the Middle East, is also undertaken by various ethnic groups in countries across South Asia, including Pakistan. Certain communities (such as a percentage of the Bohra Muslim community and the Sheedi community) within the latter are, to this day, still stringent followers of the horrendous practice.
You can make a difference! Help us spread awareness regarding Female Genital Mutilation and other acts of gender based violence. Join in, take action and raise your voice against Female Genital Mutilation.
- Do your research. Learn the facts about Female Genital Mutilation.
- Find resources to educate your group and others around you.
- Get creative ideas to prevent FGM in your own community.
- Join us and spread the word against such practices.
Child marriages hail from a tradition which denies girls and boys the right to chose whom and when to marry. This culture of “control” over the lives of others, who are too young to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, stems from stark gender inequality in rural areas and abject poverty. The custom of the “bride price” is also a factor in promoting traditions. Such unions threaten the health and well-being of girls, as adolescent pregnancies can lead to complications during childbirth and even maternal deaths. Child brides may even be exposed to sexually transmitted infections.
Child marriages deny girls the right to an education and a normal childhood, stealing away their innocence and freedom and forcing them to step into the world of adulthood before they have even who they are as people. (i) More than 40% of Pakistan’s brides are under 18-years-old. (ii) 8% of adolescent married women are mothers between the age of 15 and 19 years old. The United Nations estimates that nearly 140 million girls will be married to men as old as 60 in the next decade. Unless we work together to try and stop them!
The system of dowry predates any known record of the ancient custom. It is most commonly practiced in most South Asian countries and certain parts of the Middle East (such as Iraq). Dowry results from gender inequality in a society, where one gender is considered to be deficient compared to the other. The dowry is supposed to make up for said deficiency. It is also a very convenient way for the groom’s family to extort money from the family of the bride. The system of dowry can therefore play a vital role in instigating violence against women. Disputes related to dowry can result in acts of violence against the bride – and sometimes, even against the groom. Economic, Social and Religious factors are also responsible for the continuation of the dowry system.
Everyday Gender Discrimination
-END GENDER BASED DISCRIMINATION AND VIOLENCE-
Because it is NOT okay