ISLAMABAD: A group of young activists gathered in front of the National Press Club on Tuesday to protest domestic violence against women.

The protesters expressed great concern over increasing cases of gender-based violence and demanded proactive intervention by the government.

The protesters said many women have been suffering in silence and their abuse is relegated to hushed tones, discussed only as private or ‘family’ matters. These women are made to believe that speaking out against violent behaviour would go against the honour of their families.

“If we cannot make women feel safe in their own homes, then we cannot make them feel safe anywhere. And God knows, it’s time they do,” said Nausherwan Ali, a 23-year-old student and activist from Islamabad.

Anaya Karim, a 16-year-old activist from Islamabad, said: “Domestic violence is a crime that is accepted so readily by our society. I joined the protest today because I am tired of hearing stories of the thousands of women who have had to suffer, both publicly in the media and silently at home, and I think it’s time for it to come to an end.”

The protesters demanded that the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016 be notified across the province and the government fulfil its obligations under the act, including drafting rules as per section 28, as well as the criminalisation of domestic violence through amendments to the penal code.

They also demanded district women protection committees be set up as required under the act.

The protesters demanded that conditions and facilities in shelter homes across the country be drastically improved so that these are safe spaces for victims of domestic violence.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2019

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