Saturday October 16, 2021

Protest against killing of women: Feminists reject norms, structural asymmetries exacerbating patriarchal violence

Protest against killing of women: Feminists reject norms, structural asymmetries exacerbating patriarchal violence

ISLAMABAD: Women Democratic Front (WDF) and Aurat Azadi March (AAM) organised a protest on Sunday at Islamabad Press Club to mourn and condemn the brutal murders of Noor Mukadam, Qurat ul Ain Buledi and Saima Ali, and also extend condolences and solidarity to the families and friends of the deceased.

Members of WDF and AAM expressed deep sorrow and condemned these barbaric murders in the strongest possible terms, while communicating their deepest sympathies over the losses of the grieving families and friends.

WDF and AAM collectively called for an end to the rising ‘femicide’ in Pakistan, as women were seen protesting for their lives, and expressing their feelings of anger, devastation and anguish over the recent murders. Feminist organisers at the protest rejected the cultural, social norms and structural asymmetries that exacerbate patriarchal violence in Pakistan, and believed them to be the causal factors for harmful practices resulting in violence targeting women.

They also expressed deep concern over the growing culture of violence that has deep roots in feudalism, capitalism, imperialism, religious extremism, and the war economy. This culture of violence cannot end without abolishing its foundations and roots, they said.

WDF and Aurat Azadi March also condemned the present government for downplaying the issues of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and assault.

They rejected the anti-women and anti-feminist stance of the state, indicated by not only the PM of Pakistan regularly airing his regressive and misogynistic views on women, but also the recent opposition to the passage of the federal Domestic Violence Bill that aims to safeguard protections for women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable classes and groups.

Ismat Shahjahan, President of WDF, said, “We demand an end to state impunity against patriarchal violence, as well as state-abetted human rights abuses. We want a complete overhaul in the very structures of the state and society that are contributing to the femicide in Pakistan.”

WDF and Aurat Azadi March also called for an end to victim blaming, which perpetuates crimes against women. This will not stop until the state makes a concerted effort to address the structural causes leading to femicide and gender-based crimes.

Huda Bhurgri, President WDF Islamabad Unit, said, “The state has to give us women a guarantee to the right to live free from violence. We cannot keep living in fear. We are tired of grieving women we have lost in this country. We will keep protesting till gender violence is eradicated in Pakistan.” “We have lost our loving sister who was killed by her husband. What is more troubling is that initially police refused to lodge an FIR, then they intentionally didn’t mention the Domestic violence section in the FIR and neglected much evidence. Our sister was killed by a man, but the man is protected by the state institution,” said Zehra Buledi, Aini Buledi’s sister. “We demand an end to patriarchal violence, and call for changing the social and economic foundations of the state and society to ensure gender equality and build a violence free society in Pakistan. We demand that the state stop silencing us and obstructing our protests that continue to flag the culture of patriarchal violence and rampant misogyny in Pakistan. We reaffirmed our commitment to resist patriarchal forces and their allies, and continue our political struggle for feminist emancipation in Pakistan," they said.