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Myra Imran

The News

Published Date: Aug 30, 2014

Children living in violence-prone homes grow up with emotional scars

Islamabad

Physical or
psychological violence on a pregnant woman can lead to stillbirths,
premature births, small children at birth, growth retardation after
birth and a lifelong mental or physical weakness of babies born under
violent conditions and environment.

 

Beyond physical
ailments, children living in violence prone homes grow up with emotional
scars. They feel that they should also turn to violence to solve
problems and perpetrate violence when they grow up, says a study titled
‘Maternal Health and Domestic Violence: Impact of Personal and Social
Factors’ shared at a dissemination seminar here on Friday.

 

The
seminar was organised in collaboration with Sustainable Development
Policy Institute. It was attended by civil society organisatons, media,
government officials, prominent experts on domestic violence and
academia representatives.

 

The research study, carried out
in Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Kashmore, Jacobabad, Jaffarabad and
Naseerabad districts by the Research and Development Solutions (RDS) and
Rutgers-World Population Foundation, uncovers how violence affects the
health of pregnant women and their unborn child. It reveals that
pregnancy has no impact on level and severity of violence faced by
women.

 

“The research shows that education level fails to
have an impact on the type and intensity of violence,” shared RDS
Representative Adnan Khan during his presentation. He further revealed
that the research study found that joint family systems where the main
cause of domestic violence against married women. “Couples felt that
this affected their privacy and increased economic burden on the
household,” he said.

 

According to the study, interviews
with women and men showed a clear preference for male children. “A male
child not only ensured the permanency of the woman in the household, but
also enhanced her status in the family,” the study said, adding that
the husband’s temperament significantly softened on the news of a male
child. In cases where ultrasound revealed the sex of the child to be a
girl, the occurrence of violence increased.

 

The research
shows that women were often blamed for having incited violence by either
stepping out of her role (of being a mother, wife, doer of chores and
care provider for the household) or for making the man upset.

 

Most
men and women felt that while it was wrong for violence to occur, when
it does occur, it was justified. Strong sense was found among the
community that women should be treated well during pregnancy; however,
on probing it meant for having a healthy child.

 

Economic
and financial pressures were mostly cited as triggering domestic
disputes which escalated into violence. The research recommends strict
implementation of pro-women laws to protect women.

 

While
introducing the research study, Manager Programmes (Rutgers WPF,
Pakistan) Aftab Awan said domestic violence is a recognized yet
suppressed through lack of awareness of women’s rights among the
perpetrators and the victims. He further added that the study reveals
violence during pregnancy did not decrease, the absence of redressal
mechanisms for victims of domestic violence legitimizing violence
against women. Domestic all forms of violence against women need to be
criminalized and should be made a community issue.

 

Chief
of Party – Gender Equity Programme of Aurat Foundation, Simi Kamal said
that education alone is not enough. “Where feudalistic mind sets
prevail, education is considered as a tool of supremacy over illiterate
and the poor.” She further added that the concerned authorities need to
take the issue of domestic violence seriously through effective
campaigning.

 

National Commission on the Status of Women
Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said that National Commission on the Status of
Women (NCSW) has prioritised the issue of domestic violence and a
nationwide literature review of domestic violence is planned which will
help them further understand and recommend effective policies to redress
of violations of women’s rights.