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Domestic violence.

Recent cases test both government and societyThere have been two recent cases of domestic violence that almost makes the observer despair of humanity. One case occurred in Sahiwal, the other in Lahore, showing that beastliness is not limited geographically.

The Sahiwal case seems to have occurred in a poor neighbourhood, the one in Lahore in a posh locality, showing that wealth has nothing to with the matter. Husbands might have complaints against their wives but in neither case was there any indication of appropriateness, and the means used were not just disproportionate, but unacceptable.

In Lahore, the wife's head was shaved. In Sahiwal, she was chained.

Both went far beyond the beatings that are usual and depressing currency of domestic violence.In the Lahore case, the initial police reaction was brutal, even bestial.

When the poor woman turned up at the police station, she was asked to pay for the medical examination which was supposed establish what had been done to her. In Sahiwal, the local police did their job, answering complaints from neighbours, but may have fallen in with the husband's allegations that the woman was of unsound mind and had attempted suicide.

Neither force seems to have examined whether crimes alleged justified the treatment meted out. As husbands in their private lives, policemen are part of the society that allows domestic abuse to be carried out by husbands.

These two cases are recent, the one in Sahiwal having occurred on Monday, that in Lahore on Wednesday, but domestic violence is widespread, with 3860 women complaining in 2018 to the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, which also received 5320 complaints of sexual harassment, another endemic social evil.This is not a matter of a foreign or feminist agenda.

Abuse of women was virtually the signature crime of the disbelieving society which Islam reformed. If husbands think ill of their wives, they have been enjoined by religion to divorce them, and in the process, to treat them with kindness.

In Sahiwal, the husband thought his wife possessed, but the solution was not to chain her, but to get her treated. There is no crime which permits either chaining someone, or shaving her head forcibly.

The government and the police must think they are on notice to see how they behave. Also, society's leaders, must seriously ponder how such crimes are to be prevented in future.

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 28, 2019
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