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The Silent Nightmare: Domestic Violence in Pakistan

Tragically, hundreds of women lose their lives annually at the hands of in-laws and relatives. One survivor bravely shared her harrowing ordeal, shedding light on the grim reality faced by countless others.
by Sadia Bibi - 14 Mar, 2024 1806
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Domestic violence remains a pervasive issue in Pakistan, shrouded in silence and stigma. Shocking statistics reveal that nearly every other woman in the country has experienced domestic abuse at some point in her life.

Tragically, hundreds of women lose their lives annually at the hands of in-laws and relatives. One survivor bravely shared her harrowing ordeal, shedding light on the grim reality faced by countless others.

Recalling her torment, the survivor recounted spending fifteen agonizing years with a husband who subjected her to relentless abuse. Initially a promising career woman, her life took a dark turn post-marriage.

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She was forced to relinquish her job, and soon thereafter, the relationship spiraled into a cycle of verbal assaults and physical beatings. Each time she sought refuge with her family, she was coerced back into the abusive environment by societal pressures and family elders, who dismissed her suffering with callous justifications.

In a society where male anger is normalized, victims of abuse often face blame and scrutiny. Instead of condemning the perpetrator's actions, society questions what the woman did to provoke the violence—a notion that compounded the survivor's trauma. Amidst the physical brutality, the survivor endured psychological torment, unseen and unacknowledged by those around her.

Struggles over employment further strained the relationship, with the survivor's aspirations met with disdain and threats from her husband. Desperate to escape her ordeal, she attempted suicide twice, only to find herself trapped in a cycle of suffering and despair. Despite the physical and emotional scars, she remained resilient for the sake of her children, determined to break free from the shackles of abuse.

Contrary to societal perceptions, marriage does not always guarantee security for women; for many, it spells the beginning of a nightmare. Victims often suffer in silence, believing that the violence is an isolated incident. Yet, it is imperative to recognize that abuse seldom occurs in isolation; it escalates over time and can be exacerbated by substance abuse.

Moreover, victims come from diverse backgrounds, debunking the myth that only economically disadvantaged or uneducated women are vulnerable. The normalization of abuse perpetuates a culture of silence, rendering many women voiceless and powerless to seek help.

Institutional barriers further hinder victims from seeking justice, with police stations and courts often unwelcoming and unsupportive. Survivors are subjected to invasive medical examinations, compounding their trauma and dissuading them from seeking recourse.

To combat this pervasive issue, Pakistan urgently needs a robust support system where victims can report abuse without fear of retribution. Expedited court proceedings and awareness campaigns are essential to empower survivors and challenge societal norms.

Educational institutions, particularly women's colleges, must incorporate discussions on gender-based violence to equip students with the knowledge and resources to combat abuse.

Addressing domestic violence is not just a moral imperative; it is crucial for Pakistan's progress and prosperity. Only by confronting this silent epidemic head-on can we build a safer, more equitable society for all.