Pakistan’s ugly truth

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ISLAMABAD: Honour killing is one of Pakistan’s ugliest truths. Despite the number of efforts — passing the anti-honour killing bill — made to eradicate this menace, cases of honour killing are reported from different cities of the country almost on a daily basis.

The most recent case was reported in Faisalabad, where a man strangled his two sisters to death after being ‘suspicious’ about their characters.

At this point, efforts need to be made at the grassroots level. Passing a law or announcing stricter punishments are one-sided approach with limited effects. To be able to have a long-term effect we need to start educating our men right.

The power to hold the right to take someone’s life especially that of a woman is derived from the toxic masculinity we are taught in our homes, schools and societies. Women are placed to be the ‘honour’ of the family, someone who needs guidance and protection of the men in their life because she is incapable of making decisions for herself, often cited to be too emotional, too sensitive.

Men, on the other hand, are brought up to play the role of saviours who are stronger not only in the physical sense but also superior enough to make the right decisions. And when they see themselves losing this control, they try to rectify through violence, physical or emotional. While physical often gets reported in the form of rape, honour killing or domestic violence, emotional remains confined within the four walls of their houses.

When we start teaching our men to be humans without having to live under the pressure of being strong and powerful, and letting women be an important part of the household than an object of honour, these incidents will see a decline. We need to spread this awareness to children at young ages, starting from schools, so that our men don’t grow up to become killers.

Sohail Anwer

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2017.

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