Women Will Have To Be Wary Of All Men Until Gender Equality Is Embraced Across The Board
I had to double check when I first found out about Noor Mukadam—such was the gruesomeness of the murder, committed by a close friend at his house. The case, and the gory details of violence, shed light on the menace women face from the men that they know.
Indeed, society’s patriarchal and misogynistic sensibilities have reduced women to the status of property that can be torn apart, thrown away, or eliminated.
Women, much like TV sets, are remote-controlled in every possible way: muted when their lips dare to utter any differing opinion or question the rationale behind arbitrary restrictions imposed on their lives.
The pitches women are playing on seem to be entirely adjudicated by umpires lacking human dignity, mutual respect and empathy. As a result, women are being subjected to everything between intolerance and violence.
A mother of four was brutally beaten and murdered before her children by her husband in Hyderabad. Another woman was set ablaze by her husband last month. A 35-year-old was shot dead by her husband in Lahore.
Pakistani model Nayab Nadeem was found dead. In May, a Pakistani-origin British woman was found dead at her rented house in Lahore.
Shah Hussain who stabbed lawyer Khadija Siddiqi multiple times in 2016 in Lahore has been released from jail due to relaxation in his five-year sentence.
And now Noor Mukadam’s case.
Every heart bleeds over this coldblooded murder. The nation has demanded swift justice for Noor, especially amid efforts to present the accused as a mental health patient, and concerns of a potential misuse of his American passport a la Raymond Davis.
Women rights activists and watchdogs have expressed grave concern over the latest spate of persecution. According to White Ribbon, between 2004 and 2016, there were more than 15,000 honour crimes, 5,500 kidnappings of women, nearly 5,000 cases of sexual violence, 2,000 cases of domestic violence as well as 63,000 suicides among women in Pakistan. The numbers have grown in recent years.
The annual report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for the year 2020 has set alarm bells ringing over the plight of women. According to experts, the abuses are aimed at controlling and subjugating women. This has pushed Pakistan to third from bottom on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, ranking 151 out of 153 countries.
Recently, I was watching a drama, in which a certain character disclosed to his father that he was marrying a divorced girl whom he loved. The father’s wrath unleashing on his son highlights that a woman’s value remains attached to how ‘marriageable’ she is.
This mindset translates into other crimes against women. As a result woman is objectified as a source of pleasure, or presented as a showpiece.
Women need to be cautious while cultivating interactions and intimacy with men. They should be wary of predators disguised as friends. Extra precaution will be necessary until gender equality is embraced in all national narratives, without which women can’t achieve sustained peace.