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Men are victims of GBV too!

Mobarik A. Virk
Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

Islamabad : The participants of a ‘Round-Table Conference’ on ‘Gender Based Violence’ (GBV) and its Legislation in Pakistan’ organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) affirmed that men are also victims of GBV and the notion that comes to one’s mind that it is for women only is wrong.

“Women and men and children are victims of GBV in the society and even victims of sexual abuse, be those are women or men or children, fall in the category of GBV victims,” the participants of the ‘Round-Table Conference’ agreed.

Dr Syed Mustafa Tanveer, the Deputy Inspector-General of Islamabad police while sharing his views and opinions based on his experience said that the issue needs to be discussed more frequently without any prejudice at all levels. “Frequent deliberations in wider circles will not only help understand the reasons and motives behind it but will create awareness in the society as well. The GBV is not confined to domestic violence but it has many forms and is committed in all spheres of society,” the DIG (Headquarters) said.

“According to my experience as a Police Officer, I feel that women victims of GBV prefer not to register an FIR (First Information Report) because they are apprehensive of wrangling in the courts as well as the family pressure which keeps mounting on them,” Dr Mustafa Tanveer said.

He suggested that all the laws made to prevent GBV and protect the victims should be enforced strongly. He also said that the ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees’ (ADRCs) can play a much better and effective role in resolving GBV cases.

Exchanging her views Nishaa Ishtiak, Director of Women Development and Additional Commissioner Islamabad, also agreed with Dr Mustafa Tanveer on various points and stressed that the GBV victims should be encouraged to approach the law for redressal of their grievances and not keep quiet.

As the Director Women Development in Islamabad, Nishaa Ishtiak said that she has been coming across various events and incidents related to GBV and said that the society needs to be sensitized about this through wider propagation and dialogue. Nabeela Malik, the chairperson of Inter-Agency Gender and Development Group (INGAD) said that GBV does not mean violence against women only. It is not religion but cultural traditions mixed with religion, which cause problems and troubles.

“In a patriarchal society like ours there is a power imbalance at all levels which is the root-cause of GBV incidents. We can control and bring such incidents considerably down simply by empowering women in the society. And that could be done only through education and financial independence. “The men in our society should not be afraid of women empowerment. They should understand that an empowered partner will only make him stronger and not weaker,” Nabeela Malik stressed.

Valerie Khan, chairperson of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) said that the role of women in the society is huge, especially because she bears children, which is the basis of a society and a nation. Speaking from her experience in the field she said that child marriage also is a serious form of gender-based violence and not much is being done on this in some parts of the country. “There is a need for enlightened Islamic research on this issue to create awareness, especially focusing the clergy to prevent or bring down the number of such cases in future,” Ms Valerie Khan said.

Earlier, Ambassador Dr Raza Muhammad, President of IPRI, in his opening remarks said that religion mixed with culture makes the things and situations very complicated.