The history of violence against women is centuries old. From 18th century English laws to the colonial America, women have always been subjected to all sort of violence. According to United Nations statistics, more than 700 million women alive today globally, were married as children, 35 % of the women have suffered from physical or sexual violence, and around 120 million girls suffered from sexual violence. The statistics further show that 1 out of 10 European women have suffered from cyber bullying from the age of 15. Furthermore 40% of the women seek help after suffering any form of violence from family and friends rather than relying on institutions and mechanisms.
In 2015, the protection of women against violence bill was passed by the Punjab Assembly in Pakistan declaring all forms of violence against women as crime. Later this year, the Council of Islamic Ideology proposed a bill that recommends women to be given all rights under Sharia that prohibit interaction between unmarriageable kin (Na-Mehrams) at recreational facilities, offices and recommended to ban dance, music and sculptures as arts.
The Pakistani society in general is in a state of denial regarding the social issues faced by women. Yes, unfortunately women are the victims of sexual harassment, gender inequality, rape and murder. Even in the presence of a state, a Parliament, legislation, courts and police their fate is often decided by individuals. While some of these crimes are reported to the police, many go unnoticed. But this does not mean that all women in the society are living a miserable life. A portion of highly talented athletics, doctors, engineers, armed forces officers, scientists, social workers, entrepreneurs, and politicians are women.
Pakistani lawmakers are focused on laws that protect women against all sorts of violence. The evidence in their favour is the landmark bill passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2016 by putting an end to the few remaining loopholes in the existing laws regarding women protection. The government cannot alone curtail such behaviour of society towards women. The behaviour of the male segment in the society needs to be changed. Boys from their early age should be educated about the respect of women they interact with. Finally, with collective, focused and sincere efforts we can achieve gender equality, a healthy society and a respected gender, the women.