Marriage & Family
The sad incident of a female journalist killed by her father in the name of honor is yet another shocking incident that mockingly slams the reality of our society right in our faces. This is not something new or strange but a matter of routine in our society. According to an HRCP report, issued in 2011, nearly 675 Pakistani women were then murdered in the name of honor. These are repugnant figures that usually pop-up to limelight when a woman has already gone through the ultimate stage of being killed, however, many behaviors leading to incidents such as psychological miseries and emotional traumatizing still go unnoticed. We need to examine the causes behind this prevailing problem and the effects that it breeds. If we tend to understand or even try to figure out reasons behind existing gender biases in society, ultimate follies would be found within our own mental approaches.
Freedom in Pakistani society is class-oriented and it’s mainly based upon the social setting and status to which a person belongs. It is a summarization of the deadly violence that women face in the line of struggle for rights. It would be a mistake to marginalize honor killings, rapes, forced marriages or domestic abuses to rural setups and families belonging to lower strata. These crimes happen in nearly every segment of society, mostly going unnoticed and unreported. This would be as big a mistake as to recognize Saudi Arabia a quintessence of piety, ignoring the possibility of abuses against women going unreported there.
This, to some extent, highlights the contradictions that ‘our’ concept of freedom holds. Pakistani women are allowed to have freedom to an extent that does not surpass the reasoning capacity or mental level of her supposed guardians. The freedom generally comes with a responsibility of not thinking or practicing in deviance with well-defined boundaries. The freedom that we emanate to our presumed subordinates is actually an enigma of our personal desires that we wish to see in real, physical forms. The greatest freedom is accepting the rights of a person; however, completely failing in it, we are rapidly on the surge of triggering injustice and frustration in society.
It is an unambiguous fact that every woman in our society is involved in the excruciating phase of struggle for rights. Where we are still stuck in the dilemma of getting ‘modernized’, we have refrained ourselves from accepting the refined modes of exploitation in urban setups. On a close analysis, one gets to see the same old practices and staunch mental approaches being continued with altered strategies. It is because of inadequate family support that dissociating oneself from primitive societal norms is even today a complex thing to do. At one stage or another in life, Pakistani women find themselves stuck between the choice of their personal priorities or socially defined customs.
Nevertheless, there are women who have set examples and achieved a great deal through untiring efforts and dedicated struggle. Many other are following those in the lead and heading towards change. The strength is there along with great potential. We, as a society must respect and embrace optimistic behaviors. It is high time to bounce out of our comfort zones and own this change rather than secluding the change-makers and leave primitive gender inequalities to fester.
Crisis and problems do exist; however, what is admirable is the swift striding of Pakistani women towards becoming the change they want to see. Fortunately, the struggle has not been overshadowed by some regressive elements or incidents that still portray an odious and orthodox aspect of our society.