Sindh records 421 cases of violence against women in three months

11 Oct 2014

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.—File photo, a re-enactment using actors, by White Star
.—File photo, a re-enactment using actors, by White Star

KARACHI: Khairpur — the home district of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah — tops the list of districts in the province with the highest number of violence incidents against women recorded during the third quarter of the year, says a report released on Friday.

In all 421 incidents of violence against women and girls were reported and 72 of them were recorded in Khairpur alone, according to the quarterly report titled “Situation of Violence Against Women in Sindh (July-September 2014)”.

Know more: Violence against women in politics rising in Pakistan, India: study

Prepared by the Aurat Foundation, a non-governmental organisation working on women-related issues, the report says the 421 incidents involved 534 women and girls but FIRs were registered only in 66 cases.

The report, based on figures published in newspapers over a period of three months, says that the issue of violence against women was rooted in social norms and economic dependence while the discriminatory practices were the result of the patriarchal system.

Gender-based violence helped maintain women in subordinate roles and contributed to their low level of political participation and to their lower level of education, skills and work opportunities, it adds. A badly-worded FIR also harms prosecution cases obstructing women’s access to effective remedies, the report says.

Most of the time police are not informed about such incidents, while some of those reported to the police are not recorded in roznamcha (police diary), the report says. Even if a few cases are lodged, inquiries are not properly conducted and the matter is eventually shelved, it adds.

It was observed that urban areas were fast catching up with the rural areas as far as far as violence against women was concerned, as out of the 421 cases, 197 were reported in the urban areas. About the marital status of victims, the report mentions that out of the 534 women victims, 249 (59 per cent) were married while 67 were unmarried whereas the marital status of 218 victims remained unknown owing to incomplete information.

The nature of crimes in the violence against women included murder (76 women), hunour killing (57), suicide (49), jirga (41), abducted and kidnapped (41), injury (39), rape / gang rape (21/5), sexual assault (17), torture (17) and attempted suicide (19).

Ninety-one of the victims aged between 19 and 36 years, 66 were minors and 13 were over 37 years, while the age of 364 other victims of violence could not be ascertained, the report adds.

The district-wise number of cases during the three months were Khairpur (72), Jacobabad (46), Larkana (45), Shikarpur (28), Sanghar (27), Sukkur (23), Benazirabad (21), Ghotki (21), Naushahro Feroz (16), Mirpurkhas (15), Kashmore (15), Tharparkar (14), Karachi (12), Jamshoro (12), Dadu (11), Hyderabad (9), Badin (8), Qamber-Shahdadkot (8), Thatta (7), Matiari (4), Umerkot (4), Tando Mohammad Khan (2) and Tando Allahyar (1).

In the report, Aurat Foundation chief Mahnaz Rehman demanded that the government ensure that laws against domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and other gender-based violence gave adequate protection to all women, and respected their integrity and dignity and appropriate protective and support services were provided to the victims.

Gender-sensitive training for judicial and law-enforcement officers and other public officials was essential for the effective implementation of the laws and international conventions signed by the country, she said, adding that inadequate policing and judicial practices denied proper protection and justice to female victims.

The report stated female participation in public life was increasing with new laws being enacted but there was still a long way for women to get the status of equal citizens in society.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2014