Men stand up for women’s rights

Men stand up for women’s rights


Violence against women is a global phenomenon that affects a large portion of the population right across from the first world countries to the third world. Women are subjected to different shades of violence that can range from verbal abuse to sexual harassment; domestic violence to war crimes etc.

For decades society has turned a blind eye towards these heinous crimes. And women themselves have also helped in strengthening the abusers by keeping quiet about the abuse.

However, those who do speak up get little or no help from members of their own gender and males don’t get involved for fear of social stigmas and prosecution.

This is not to say women have never raised their voice against this brutality, some have been courageous enough to do so and even gained victories, mostly small, making some people aware that such a problem exists.

But this issue is way too big for a small group to tackle. There is dire need that this problem is not only identified and accepted by the society and supported by men only then can a solution be found.

There is one problem: the majority of men may think they are on the periphery of this problem, and need not get involved. But violence against women is too widespread and very real and cannot be written off as a woman issue because it is not. It is a social crime that occurs everywhere – in the house, on the street, in the school, in the office – and can happen to anyone – their mothers, sisters, daughters, wives.

Mothers are solely responsible for the development of the behavioural traits of their children. If they want they can mould the way their sons treat women. Instead we see mothers allowing their sons to mistreat his sisters and ordering them around. These women don’t understand that this is the beginning of the male’s conditioning in which he being made aware of his ‘superiority’ over women.

Sons who see their father and/or other male relatives beating women usually believe it is the male’s right to do so. This is where the society and law enforcers’ role comes in – if there is no response or reaction to stop this abuse, the young males’ belief in violence against women is strengthened.

White Ribbon is one such organization that is playing surrogate mother nurturing males to stand up against violence against women. This organization has been formed with this in mind and its slogan ‘Men’s Movement for Ending Violence Against Women’ sums it all.

White Ribbon has taken many great initiatives to begin this journey and to spread awareness among the people. And as for any campaign to become successful, White Ribbon has joined forces with Pakistan’s largest media organization Jang/Geo Group to reach the masses.

And rightly so since Jang/Geo has always had a large number of females on its staff and supports gender based initiatives. And also has a Gender Sensitivity Committee.

With more women working in different fields today, it is necessary that organizations also take this issue seriously and develop methods to deal with them. Unless a conscious effort is not taken at the social level, as well as in the workforce things will never change.

Lubna Jerar Naqvi

The writer is a senior journalist and writes regularly on human rights and women issues with special focus on social media. She tweets @raiseqalam