It is a surprising moment and a point to ponder on for all of the worlds, which might have garnered many consumers by manufacturing the best designer outfits for women; many companies have objectified and symbolized women regarding sexual prominence. However, despite being in the 21st century, it is unfortunate to say that the world is still not a safe place for a woman. Despite there being laws such as the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) in the United States and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, women are still abused, assaulted and harassed psychologically, physically and sexually, which have extremely traumatizing effects on the lives of the women.
According to the facts and figures, an estimated 35 percent of women worldwide experience physical and sexual violence at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women experience physical and sexual violence by their family members or partners also known as domestic violence that also includes verbal abuse which can come in the form of bullying, domestic abuse or abusive dialogue in general, which is mainly devastating to young girls. The latter is more threatening as most of it goes unreported because the women are expected to keep quiet by their families or are silenced by their partners so to protect and preserve the family honour. Such kind of behaviour creates a muffling and suffocating environment for a woman already going through mental agony. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common and most prevalent traits among the women who face any form of violence in their lives. The psychological disorders have been more long-lasting effects.
Sexual harassment is a widespread form of violence and one that is often ignored and brushed aside often. Many young girls and women face sexual harassment on public spots, public transportations, workplaces, educational institutions, etc. Sexual harassment is often characterized by inappropriate touching in the fore-mentioned areas, but it also includes stalking, following, passing explicit remarks and gestures. Cyber-bullying or harassment is another form of violence, which has increased, with the high use of social media. Many young girls are faced with threats from abusers who claim to have their data, sending them sexually explicit emails and messages.
In many parts of the world, early or child marriage is still a dominant issue, which has numerous consequences such as social isolation, and possible pregnancy and birth complications. Also, first marriage limits the girl's activities, opportunities, educational learning and puts her at a greater risk of domestic violence. Amidst such issues and complications, laws do exist that if properly implemented can guarantee and assure the safety of a woman. The questions arise that why women do not report violence cases. Is it because they are afraid of their family or partner or the abuser? Is it life threatening for them to expose the abuser? Will it cause them disgrace in the society? For that purpose, we need to find the answers to these questions and eventually find relevant solutions to help control the issue. We need to encourage and motivate the women to speak out against the different forms of violence. Instead of telling a woman to keep quiet and suppress her voice, we need to stop the abusers and assaulters who control a woman's very existence by suffocating her through emotional distress.
By Sarah Baloch