What would have prompted a female sub-inspector from Rahim Yar Khan to write her last message with a lipstick on her bedroom mirror before committing suicide? The noting itself gives a hint about her domestic abuse ordeal due to which she preferred to take her own life. In the message, Mary Rose apologised to her mother and appealed for a painless death. She also asked and wished to get her daughters married to someone who can handle the responsibility. This points the finger straight to her husband who is also an inspector in the same station. Although it is an individual’s act but our society is responsible for the suffering a woman has to endure at the sake of her family. Violence is often equated with physical abuse while domestic violence is more subtle. It may be a sharp criticism instead of a slap. It may be some sort of emotional abuse. It can be sexual or psychological. It can be restrictive or economic. It can be about blame for the abuser’s faults or making the victim feel incompetent. All these forms of domestic violence sometimes become unbearable for the victims who find it easier to commit suicide taking a refuge from such a life. Any type of violence against women is a heinous tragedy, and it can and must be halted. There is a need to augment efforts to create awareness about women’s rights and protect them against brutalities committed by male chauvinists. All members of society need to rise up to collectively help eliminate the scourge; it is an unacceptable blot on the soul of Pakistan that more than half of its population is considered second class citizens.
Another reason for a rise in violence against women is that many cases are not reported as victims hesitate to contact the police due to ‘stigmas’ attached to the reporting of such crimes in society. Still there are certain measures that can be done personally and collectively to ameliorate violence against women. There is a need to increase general awareness about the extent and nature of the problem. It should be discussed widely.
Government needs to adopt zero tolerance policy towards heinous crimes committed against women, and all crimes must be reported to the law enforcement agencies for prompt action. Victims should seek support from concerned authorities, and need to show courage to confront any injustice. Men should make a commitment to never physically mistreat women, and that there is no apathy shown to crimes against women. There is a need to change the mindset regarding the treatment of women in society. Ending widespread violence against women must be among nation’s highest priorities. Until that happens, Pakistan would not ever be able to have a truly civilised society.