Media urged to highlight burns offences against women -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media urged to highlight burns offences against women

KARACHI, March 16 2005: The media has been urged to highlight all women issues with main focus being on sensitising masses without sensationalising the issues related to violence against women, which is the root-cause of all evils.. The speakers at a seminar on ‘Domestic violence, with focus on burning and acid throwing’, held under the aegis of Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) on Tuesday, particularly gave emphasis burns cases caused by acid throwing at young girls.

The event was part of the three-day workshop on ‘Domestic Violence’ which was attended by media people from different districts of the province.

The participant of second day of the workshop were Dr Shaista Effendi, in charge, Burns Ward, Civil Hospital, Karachi; Musarrat Misbah, Chairperson, Smile Again Rehabilitation Centre for Burn Victims; and Tahira S Khan, Gender Studies Researcher/Consultant and Vice President, Irteqa Institute of Social Sciences, while Samina Ishaq, Director of PPF, presided over the meeting.

Victim of burns from acid throwing, Musarrat Misbah, said that about 15,000 girls get burnt in domestic violence annually. “Acid throwing is both gender-specific and culture-specific crime. Young female are the usual victims, mostly due to underlying motives,” she said.

Musarrat said acid is the most common material used, because it is easily available in the market.The burns from acid affect face, torso and genitalia. In case of acid burning fresh water should be used to wash the burns. This is a first aid process, she added.

“The crimes against women committed by own family members range from amputation of body organs–nose, hands, legs, etc–and acid throwing to honour killing.”

The Foundation provides medicines to burn victims. It gives support by providing shelter and protection to women. In this sense the Foundation takes help from different NGOs and philanthropists.

Italian government helps the Foundation. Italian doctors’ team visits Pakistan to treat burn victims with their own resources.Italian government is treating four burnt girls in Italy at present and another 10 are ready to proceed to Italy.

Musarrat stressed the need that media should properly investigate the crimes to create awareness among the people. The law should be implemented properly. Acid sale should be regulated under licence.

Tahira said that this is a scenario where cases are generally not reported as the offence is committed within the four walls of homes and witnesses are only family members who do not like to make the offence public.

She said that women are mostly denied the right to ask for removal of their grievances. Domestic violence was discussed for the first time in 1980.

It is restricted to the Third World societies only but is also prevalent in developed countries. The need is to sensitise the society to ensure that such cases are voluntarily reported and the victims get justice, she added.

“In the world, the West is counselling with women victims. Malaysia and Indonesia are working on domestic violence but South Asia has not made any law due to political and religious motives”, she said.

Domestic violence is more prevalent in Punjab than Balochistan, maybe due to non-reporting. The women victims have no option to go anywhere; rather they prefer to hang, or jump in a river or escape to Wadera Haveli as protection.

Dr Shaista urged journalists that the issue should be handled properly. First identify should be ascertained and the issue should be clarified before writing. It will then get a better solution. Negative reporting should be stopped as it masks the facts. She said that two percent out of 100 cases are suicidal cases than the homicidal.

“The Burns Centre in Civil Hospital is the first of its kind in Pakistan. Burning is the easiest form because the availability and the cheapest way is kerosene oil.”
Source: Business Recorder
Date:3/16/2005