Pakistan is ranked the sixth most dangerous country for women in the world, with a significant increase in cases of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Activists blame the patriarchal attitudes in society is the main cause.
According to figures, 4,734 women faced sexual harassment between 2004 and 2016 assembled by White Ribbon Pakistan, a women’s rights nongovernmental organization. More than 15,000 honor killing cases have been reported. In this timeframe, there were more than 1,800 cases of domestic violence and more than 5,500 kidnappings of women.
More than 51,241 incidents of violence against women were recorded in the time between January 2011 and June 2017, according to media reports. Meanwhile, conviction rates remain low, with the accused ending up being convicted by the courts in only 2.5 percent of all recorded cases.
For several years most of the women and children have been the victims. The lockdown has created more trouble in their lives and raised the risk of a surge in domestic abuse incidents. Social distancing and home isolation appear to be safe and appropriate measures to save people’s lives in this epidemic situation, but on the other hand, they have made the situation worse for women exploited by their husbands. Abusers use power and command to intimidate, isolate, threaten, accuse, and coerce women. As the government’s limitations come into force, cases of domestic violence have risen at an alarming rate in Pakistan.
“The crisis in women abused by their husbands has been increased by social distance and home isolation in this COVID-19 circumstances”
In this quarantine period, males are suffering from financial problems are leading them to cast their frustration on women.
Reports also say that because of the pandemic people face heightened anxieties. Besides, there are issues that medical staff (mainly women) are subject to sexual harassment at health institutions.
Call the following organizations if you are a victim of violence or know someone who might be, they aim to protect the rights of the vulnerable and oppressed.
Domestic violence & child abuse
- Bedari Helpline: 0300-5251717
- Open: Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm
- Bedari is an NGO working to protect women and children. The group also provides legal assistance, counseling, and referrals to related organizations such as shelters.
The service provides legal assistance free of charge.
- Helplines are 1099, 0339085709 (WhatsApp).
- Open: All weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- MoHR’s toll-free helpline serves people suffering from all types of human rights abuses.
PSCW Women’s Protection Helpline Helpline:
- Helpline 1043
- Open: 24/7 (services only for Punjab)
- The toll-free Helpline for Women in Punjab is available 24/7. The helpline team, managed and supervised by PCSW, consists of all-women call officers, three legal counselors, psycho social counselors, managers, and management staff to answer inquiries and concerns, and offer psycho-social therapy on a variety of gender-specific issues.
- Helpline: 0333-4161610
- Open: Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm
- Dastak focuses on providing support to people facing domestic and gender-based abuse, providing shelter and legal aid to women and children.
- Helpline: 0304-111-1741
- Open: All week, 10 am – 8 pm
- Rozan Helpline is a free-of-charge telephone service that connects you with qualified psychologists. Rozan also offers psychosocial services to women and children, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who may face violence in the context of the lockdown.
Interactive Research & Development (IRD)
- Helpline: 0213-7133332
- Open: Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm
- IRD’s efforts are directed to healthcare for everyone. The Pursakoon Zindagi initiative aims to give less fortunate people access to mental health services. The helpline provides free counseling and therapy for mentally ill people.
- Helplines: 9123 (mobile) 111-11-9123 (landline)
- Operating hours: Monday – Friday, 2pm – 6pm.
- Aman TeleHealth has collaborated with the Pakistan Society for Psychological Excellence to provide emotional support to individuals, families, and healthcare professionals impacted by COVID-19. It also links individuals to other health practitioners for advice and general health-related knowledge.
- Digital Rights Foundation
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Digital Rights Foundation strives to give everyone a free and stable online environment. As the lockdown increases our frequent use of digital space, it also prompts an increased risk for online fraud and abuse for individuals to fall.
- DRF helps in monitoring on-line abuse in all types. Check out their social media pages for updated information on how to navigate your way online safely.
Violence against women is on the surge in Pakistan, a country with more than 200 million people. It ranks sixth on a women’s list of the most dangerous countries in the world. Help them share this information if you know someone who might need help.