Trigger Warning: mentions of sexual abuse and domestic violence
Violation burned on every inch of her skin, scathing the very hands she used to paint with, scathing the feet she used to run with reckless abandon, scathing her innocent soul that did not deserve to be scathed. Not because she was “too young” because she was a human. A human entitled to safety, justice, a sense of comfort in her own home but she did not have that privilege. But neither did the 22,000 women in Pakistan that were subjected to sexual abuse over the past six years.
It almost seems as if the more the cases are reported, the more normalized this crime is becoming, and the more dangerous it is for women to step an inch out of their houses. Rather, it is becoming harder for women to simply exist within their homes because domestic abuse is becoming more prevalent than ever. Can we even call it a home when unbridled fear resides within her heart every second of her life?
Pakistan is amongst the top ten countries that experiences the highest rates of domestic abuse and this includes physical abuse, psychological abuse and everything in between. The cruelty against these Pakistani women knows no bounds as in 2018, 180 women were murdered in their households and by 2019 the count was 207 women. Yet this matter is shunned, time and again, dismissing the pleas of women, dismissing their right to live freely. Their cries are loud, more than ever before but the taboo that surrounds this topic is even louder, drowning out their appeal for mercy to nothing but ignorant silence.
Growing up in a society tainted with heinous crimes and having it be routine for mothers to adjust their daughter’s dupattas to conceal their entire body, girls have grown numb to the fact that everywhere they go, their safety is at risk. But if one stops and thinks about it, the ugly, disturbing truth dawns : at any moment in time they could be that one case reported in the newspapers, the printed words on thin paper becoming a personal experience, they could be the ones subjected to violation of the truest form - violation that taints not only their bodies but their mind and soul.
How can we ever be expected to stay silent, because if not today then tomorrow. If not tomorrow then the day after. It never stops and it never will unless we decide to actively speak up.
Sources for statistics