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Safety Tips to Avoid Sexual Assault

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Use Your Common Sense, Rely on Your Mobile Phone, Get Help from Friends and Understand the Instinct to Survive

No woman wants to be sexually assaulted or raped. Yet we live in a society in which wearing revealing clothes or just a simple smile amounts to the myth of “she’s asking for it” still persists. Rape and sexual assault are a fear for many women across the globe, especially adolescent and young adult females; they’re the group at highest risk, though no age group can be ruled out altogether. The belief that most rapes occur at the hands of a faceless stranger in a dark alley is only half the truth. Many a times, rapes involve someone the victim knows.

The following common sense tips intend to offer practical advice for every and any woman or girl to minimize risk, improve safety and help protect from situations that have the tendency of becoming potentially dangerous.

1. Awareness is prime-
Always keep your eyes open and head on your shoulders. To be mindful of possible risks can go a long way in keeping women safe.

2. Trust your instincts-
Go with your gut. If a situation makes you feel awkward, uncomfortable or unsafe, do anything it takes to get yourself out of there. Don’t worry about what others may think or if time and conditions permit, try to be polite so as not to offend others. Your safety is top priority.

3. Mobile all the way- 
Carry your cell phone and make sure it’s charged. Plan ahead and keep such women safety apps in there, or at least your dialer pad at hand for speed dial. Use it as an extra measure of safety. Know who you’d contact if a situation makes you uncomfortable; have their number fed in your cell phone so you can send a quick text for backup or call for help. If you’re going out with friends, decide in advance where you’ll meet and at what time, so if your phone dies out at all, they’ll still find you.

4. The F***book- 
One of the biggest mistakes committed by women who get carried away by social media is ‘checking in’! Think 10 times about what you may upload on Facebook or any other social networking site for that matter. When you use these sites to share where you are or where you’re going, friends can find you but others may be able to track you as well. Use basic common sense and ask yourself- would you give this information to a stranger? If not, then don’t share it online EVER!

5. Safety first- 
Your physical safety is priority over someone else’s feelings being hurt. If you’re with someone or you’re in a situation that makes you feel unsafe, in that case, just do anything including lying to extract yourself from what’s going on. Make any believable excuse as to why you have to leave and then get yourself to a safer place. It’s easier to patch up someone’s hurt feelings later (if at all you’ve misinterpreted the situation), than deal with the aftermath of being a sorry victim.

6. Make the loudest noise possible-
Don’t keep quiet if you see something happening. Rapists are much less likely to continue their actions if they realize that they are being observed. If you see something questionable or believe another woman’s safety is at risk, then step in then and there, speak up, and draw others’ attention to what’s happening, or call for help. Perpetrators try an average of six times, thus, one failed attack can equal five less victims. If you speak up and intervene, you’ve prevented one sexual assault crime from occurring and reduced the possibility of five other women being victimized in the future by the same pervert.

7. Stay Together- 
Friends should never let friends leave alone. If you and your friends are going out for the evening or headed to a party, go together. Arrive as a group, keep in contact with each other throughout the night, either face to face or by texting, and leave together. Remember the story of a bunch of sticks being harder to break than a single one. If you do need to leave your friends in any case, tell them where you’re going and who you’re going with.

8. Watch that drink-
Whether you’re having liquor or sipping non-alcoholic beverages, keep your hand on your drink and be aware of it at all times. Tampering of drinks has become a common mode of getting women to pass out and often leads to sexual assault and the most heinous of other crimes like rape, human trafficking and even murders. In a bar, watch your drink being prepared. At a party, get your drink yourself or prepare it yourself and open up your own can or bottle; don’t let somebody else do it. NEVER accept a drink or open can or bottle from someone you don’t know or trust. If you somehow leave your drink unattended for any reason, throw it away and get a fresh one. Don’t drink from common open containers. If you’re drinking alcohol, know your limits and how much you can consume without losing control or awareness of what’s going on around you.

9. A friend in need, is a friend indeed-
Make sure you’ve got your friends’ backs and vice versa. Watching out for your friends and knowing that you can trust them to watch out for you is a bonus factor in preventing rape and sexual assaults. If a friend seems to be acting completely different from her normal behavior, or appears too intoxicated than she should be based on the amount of alcohol she’s consumed, take care of her and get her to a safe place. If you think she’s been drugged or you feel you’ve been drugged call your local emergency helpline number or at least your family. Don’t hesitate or think that because of your intoxicated state, no one will believe you or that you’ll be blamed for anything. When you see a doctor, explain him/her exactly what happened and any funny symptoms or behaviors so that they can run the correct laboratory tests for you.

10. The Safe Lift-
If you happen to use the lift at late nights or in deserted places, and some eerie looking or rather any man is with you in the brief journey, do not hesitate to press all the buttons uptil the floor you go to reach. The lift will open at each one, giving the guy chills to make any move at all.

If you are or know someone who has been affected by sexual violence, have this thing clear, it was not your fault! And you are not alone. Talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. Help is just a call or click away as these days many NGO’s and anonymous forums help the victims deal with their misery and anxiety. Life is not fair to everyone, but then if it would be it would never be called a challenge, right? So stay aware, stay safe!

Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
MGM University

Times of Youth is an International Youth Magazine read by the youth of more than 82 countries. Times of Youth brings the latest Youth Opportunities, News, Interviews, Fully Funded Scholarships, Paid Internships, Future Stars, Rising Stars, etc. For further details you can email us at: [email protected]

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Heroes

Muniba Mazari wins Karic Award in Serbia

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The most beautiful lady on the wheel who inspires millions around the World.

If you feel demotivated & depress & now you can’t do anything, you are helpless then you must Google one name; The great Muniba Mazari. The biggest example of positive attitude, passion for life, passion for work and strongest will power. The greatest example of courage & will power that can even beat death & any disability!

Muniba Mazari wins Karica Brother Award. The Karic Brothers Award has been established as a result of a firm belief in the inexhaustible capacity of intellect and value, primarily of our own people. Its purpose is to stimulate and motivate all those who create and produce value that will result in more pleasant living conditions. On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the BK Company, the Karic family and the Karic Foundation introduced the Karic Brothers Award. It is presented for the highest achievements in the following categories: culture and arts, scientific research work, publishing and journalism, economy and commerce, humanitarian activity in support of peace, cooperation and amity amongst people. The award is presented annually. Individuals, organisations and institutions all have the right to propose a candidate. The proposal should be submitted in written form to the Karic Foundation. The Executive Board decides on the laureates. A team of experts proposes to the Board three candidates in each category of whom one is subsequently chosen. The award was originally presented in 1998 and the names of its winners best attest to the justified ambition of becoming, with time, the Serbian equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

“Thank you very much Karić Foundation for acknowledging the efforts and for giving this huge honour! While I am nothing without the support of my mother, family and friends I’ll dedicate this award to all the people of the world who suffer discrimination of any sort. To all the people who are made to believe they are lesser of a human. Let’s hope for a tomorrow free of discrimination be it gender, racial, religious or against people with physical or mental challenges. Let’s be there for one another, let’s embrace everyone the way they are. In the end, a little more kindness and a little less judgment is all we need to make this world a better place to live. So let’s be kind and be human!” 
-Muniba Mazari

Written by Rohayl Varind

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Opportunities For Youth

Women Deliver Young Leaders Program 2018

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Applications for the 2018 class of Women Deliver Young Leaders are now open. Women Deliver will be accepting 300 young advocates for the next class of Young Leaders. The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program is a two-year program that trains, elevates, and empowers youth advocates to catalyze action for gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women — with particular emphasis on sexual and reproductive health and rights and meaningful youth engagement.

The program provides youth advocates with the training and resources necessary to extend their influence and actively shape the programs and policies that affect their lives. Started in 2010, the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program is comprised of 400 youth advocates from more than 100 countries, with 300 more scheduled to join in early 2018.

Benefits of Women Deliver Young Leaders Program 2018

The Young Leaders Program provides youth advocates with opportunities to build and strengthen their advocacy capacity and skills, through:

  1. Global visibility as champions for the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.
  2. Networking opportunities with high-level decision-makers, stakeholders, media, private sector representatives, and other change-makers, including other youth advocates and activists working around the world.
  3. Digital University: Structured course work led by a faculty of experts provides a solid foundation that enables each Young Leader to enact change and deliver for girls and women.
  4. Speakers Bureau:The Women Deliver Speakers Bureau identifies national and global speaking opportunities for Young Leaders while elevating them to positions of influence and power, including on panels, on commissions, and on boards.
  5. Seed Grants: Women Deliver provides seed grants to select Young Leaders to implement short term advocacy and communications projects that they create in order to advance the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in their communities and across the globe.
  6. Women Deliver Global Conference: All Young Leaders receive a full scholarship to attend a Women Deliver Global Conference 2019 in Canada from June 2-6, 2019. Young Leaders attend at two-day Youth Pre-Conference, participate in sessions at the Youth Zone, and receive numerous media and speaking opportunities.
  7. Media Opportunities & Training: The program provides in-depth media messaging and engagement training, designed to provide Young Leaders with a strong foundation to work with the media as a successful advocacy tool.
  8. Direct In-Country Advocacy: In their respective countries, Women Deliver Young Leaders Young Leaders work on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the grassroots and national levels through partnerships with civil society organizations and other key stakeholders.
  9. Alumni Network & Mentorship Opportunities: Upon successful completion of the program, membership in the Women Deliver Young Leaders global alumni network for continued learning, networking, and support.
Eligibilities
  • Individuals between the ages of 15 and 28 can apply. Applicants must have been born between December 31, 1989 and December 31, 2002; this is to ensure Women Deliver Young Leaders are under the age of 30 for the duration of the program.
  • All young people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin are encouraged and welcome to apply.
  • Applicants must speak, write, and read English with proficiency and have regular access to the internet.
Eligible Regions: Open for All.
Official Link to Apply for Women Deliver Young Leaders Program 2018

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Fully Funded

Fondation Rainbow Bridge MBA Full Scholarships for Women

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The Fondation Rainbow Bridge Full Scholarship is available for women from Asian or African countries affected by natural disasters, drought or famine to pursue an MBA programme at HEC Paris.

The Fondation Rainbow Bridge Scholarship was established in memory of Muriel Dargent, Matthieu Dargent, Iris Dargent, and Muriel’s parents, all of whom disappeared in the December 2004 Tsunami.

A graduate of HEC in 1988, Muriel Dargent presented a strong role model for young women, juggling her responsibilities as wife, mother, and leader. As the Financial Director of Nihon L’Oreal in Japan, Muriel was fluent in English, Spanish and Japanese. The Fondation Rainbow Bridge will enable young women recipients to enrich their academic background by obtaining an HEC MBA. Please note that unfortunately you cannot apply for this scholarship if admitted after June 15th for the September intake and after November 26th for the January intake.

Location: France

Benefits of Fondation Rainbow Bridge MBA Scholarships

Amount of Award: Up to two scholarships of € 20,000 per year.

Eligibilities

Recipients of this scholarship are top-caliber female candidates who have been admitted to the HEC Paris MBA program (full-time only) and who can demonstrate exemplary leadership skills in one or more of the following areas:

•  Community work,
•  Charity engagement,
•  Sustainable development practices.

Women applying must come from an Asian or African country affected by a natural disaster, drought or famine. In addition, they must demonstrate a commitment to solving some of the social and economic issues affecting their countries while working for the long-term security of the people living there.

Eligible Regions: Asian or African Country

APPLICATION PROCESS

Only admitted candidates can apply for this scholarship. Women applying must come from an Asian or African country affected by a natural disaster, drought or famine. In addition, they must demonstrate a commitment to solving some of the social and economic issues affecting their countries while working for the long-term security of the people living there. Please note that unfortunately you cannot apply for this scholarship if admitted after June 15th for the September intake and after November 26th for the January intake.

Please explain in 1,500 words why you should be named the Fondation Rainbow Bridge Scholar at the HEC Paris MBA Program, while identifying your post-MBA goals.

Applicants must submit a detailed description of their financial circumstances as well as a cash-flow forecast for the 16-month duration at HEC.

Official Link to Apply for Fondation Rainbow Bridge MBA Full Scholarships for Women

http://www.mba.hec.edu/Fees-Funding/Scholarships/Fondation-Rainbow-Bridge

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Poetry

I bleed

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Dear Men,
now it’s the time,
for us to have a dialogue.
I’ve been waiting for quite long.
Wandering around.
Getting lost.
In the mystical world of my
traumatic impressions,
wrecked aspirations,
clinching hopes and vague necessities.
I’ve been looking for someone to stop by
and talk to me
tell me,
what exactly has been going on
in my life?
Sometimes I don’t get how the world perceives me.
And why?
I don’t get why I get mortified,
battered,
depersonalized
and
locked up.

See,
I’m 18.
Now,
It’s the time for us to clear things out.
Or should I say
It’s the time for you
to clear things out.
I’ve been fighting a never ending battle with
my thoughts,
that eat me out from the inside
as I fail,
to get my questions answered.
The doubts, I’ve been hiding inside of me.
When I ask,
why me?
Why should I be the one
to go through it
hide it
feel the shame,
the impurity,
as I bleed.

Let me tell you something beautiful.
Something extra ordinary.
I bleed.
I bleed, every month.
I bleed and I go through the pain.
I bleed,
because I give life.
I bleed,
because I’m the one to take forth your bearing.
I bleed,
because I provide shelter to your little self to nurture inside of me.
For 9 months.
I bleed, because I’m the one
almost giving up on life
as I give birth
to a pure little soul
through the cleft
between my legs.
Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Isn’t that beautiful?

You see, why?
Why I bleed?
That’s not a shame.
That’s not an impurity.
When I turned 13,
I was told
over and over
that I’m impure.
I was told
not to enter the kitchen
or to touch the food.
I was told to stay away.

Today I’d ask
If this blood makes me nothing
but
impure.
Then, answer me.
Is the birth of every child
disgraceful?
Is your child filthy and the birth shameful?
You’d answer no.
Why would you answer no?
Because it’s your child, isn’t it?
All blessed and pure.
Just like milk and honey.
It’s the blood that this child is here.
It’s the pain that this child is here.
It’s the sleepless nights, the cramps, that this child is here.
Not the impurity
or the shame.
Not the filth
or the dirt.

I’m not one of those
filthy rich girls
to unwrap tons of maternity pads and
stick em to the walls of university
just to show the world
the kinda feminist I’m.
Not a bra-burner either
to come out on the streets
and burn it all in front of your eyes.
Or the man hater you’d think
to protest
against your right to my abortion.
I simply demand respect
and some warmth.
So that I know
all that I go through
is something worth going through.

My love,
Yes I bleed.
That blood,
brings heaven under my feet,
adds colors to my life,
and gives my soul some pride.
You see,
I will not hide.
Oh wait,
Wasn’t this a dialogue?
Well,
now it’s your turn.
Can you please tell,
why should I?

Written by Nayab Ali 
Roots IVY International School

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Women

The Objectification of Women

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Although feminists cry foul regarding the objectification of women, at the first sound of it most humans will immediately think of the pictures that paint red our movies, magazines, ads- be it in prints, hoarding, on TV or internet, and on the Internet itself, of women in differing stages of nudity, dolled up figurines and dished out for the hungry wolvish male gazes. Yet, while sexual objectification is a huge problem, sadly only a fraction of people realize its ill-effects on the psychology of the young and old minds.

Because of the stark difference between the ways women and men are portrayed in newspapers and other media – women are frequently reduced to the sum of their body parts, which these days are ardently Photoshopped to fit into an ever narrowing image of true beauty. When all of this starts to grab attention, there’s realization that something isn’t right. Then, it isn’t impossible to assert this sexism in action. And its right, of course.

When we talk about these issues, people overemphasize the ‘sexual’ aspect often. This can obscure the much more problematic aspect of ‘objectification’. It can be likened to an iceberg, the ever-visible tip of which is sexual objectification. The fact that people don’t understand is that being presented in a sexual way doesn’t entirely cover objectification as a whole.

So, what do I mean when I say that sexual objectification is simply the most visible part of objectification? Well, let’s start by differentiating between subject status and object status. While a subject is active, with agency, an object is passive, being acted upon. For example, when we hear, “Sara cuddled the kitten,”  here we find that ‘Sara’ is subject, while ‘the kitten’ is object. In real life, we would find ourselves randomly become either subject or object at varying times, depending on the situation. However, in the male dominated society that we live in, subject and object status is heavily gendered, with men granted subject status the majority of the times, and women markedly objectified.

This is indicated to all humans right from their cradles. A study was conducted which showed that male characters in children’s books far outnumber female ones, and that even neutral animal characters are referred to as males by parents. This pattern is holds true even in kid’s TV programs, where only one-third of lead characters are girls.

Since our childhoods, we’ve been brought up listening to and learning a plethora of stories revolving around boys and men; so much so that this male-centered pattern is subconsciously stuck in our heads and thus followed throughout life. A sizable majority of films tell the stories of only men, with women cast as girlfriends, wives, or mothers, or in other peripheral roles.

Not just in the media, but even we in our everyday conversations have male pronouns dominate our speech and ideas. At first sight, every animal (unless very obvious) we see is a ‘he’, every humanly figure a ‘he’, humans thought of as simply ‘mankind’. Exceptions do exist though. Yatches, cars, bikes, etc. always seem to be ‘she’, but these should hardly excite us once we realise that they are all materialistic and prized possessions of men, mostly.

The cumulative effect of all this is that we have, generation after generation, began to see the world, and the women in it, from the point of view of men. This has had a drastic result, as only men are seen as full and complete human beings, not women. So, women are looked at like materials or things of possession or in other words ‘objectified’ – this means we are denied our full rights, and are perceived from what we are on the outside, whereas our own consciousness, our emotions and thoughts get absolutely overlooked.

Ever Imagined how its like for us to live in such dual faced society, where in one place women deities are worshipped in every corner of this part of subcontinent and yet because society tells us that women are objects, they’re literally treated like dirt in the same society?

Ever Imagined how its like for us to live in such dual faced society, where Stephen Hawking can declare women to be “a complete mystery”, and the newspapers cheerfully endorse this, making women “the greatest mystery known to man”- a common topic for men to gossip about women. But, honestly this is only because they have simply never tried, and because society has never trained them to look at life through the eyes of a woman.

Ever Imagined how its like for us to live in such dual faced society, where even good male counterparts of the society, while speaking out to discourage violence against women, tell others to imagine her as “somebody’s daughter, somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother or somebody’s sister,”. Why has it never occurred to them that maybe, just maybe, a woman is also “somebody”?

It is petrifying to even consider just how deep the roots of female objectification really goes. No doubt sexual objectification must be fought away too, but the battle will not end there. Women are objectified in more sinister and profound ways than we realize, and we must tear down every entwined piece of the masochistic thought, in order to attain a simple right of being recognized and treated as equal human beings in this world.

by Aafreen N.K.

MGM College

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Education

Girls can perform better than boys.

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A girl can’t go to school, their education is a burden for parents. We hear these words by a lot of people in our society. Yet, how can we say this when girls today perform better than boys in many spheres of life! This discrimination between education of girl child and boy child are totally unfair.

When we educate a boy, we educate one person but if we educate a girl, we educate a whole family and we educate a nation. Its really mournful to say but a lot of people among us are still living in the stone age who, thus, treat women so badly and discriminate between the education of a girl and a boy. Whereas, a civilized society completely understands that females too deserve the right of education. Girls are like lamps who lightens the way to a bright future. Girls should be educated to make themselves, their families and their nation proud.

According to UN, of the 110 million children out of school in developing nations, 60% are girls which shows that girls are systematically more disadvantaged than boys. Most of the problems in our society can be eradicated by simply educating the girl child. All the problems faced by women in this society are because of illiteracy, so they need proper education. Once they are educated, all the problems like dowry, female suicides, domestic violence, infanticide, malnutrition of women, child marriages and such issues would get vanished from our society.

There is no doubt in the fact that girls can perform better than boys.

In 2009, there was a high school test carried out in many countries where girls significantly performed better. US government studied and concluded that females tend to have a larger dedication to case and therefore could increase productivity in companies, corporations and workplaces. Therefore, we see that educating girl child not only benefits them, but also benefit our whole nation. Investing in a girl’s education is like investing in a nation. By educating a girl child we get an educated nation and a rational decrease in early child marriages and lowered population explosion.

Hence, all of us need to support education of our female counterpart of humankind. Firstly, there should be parental and community involvement. Parents need to realize that educating a girl child is equally important as educating a boy child, so they should support and encourage their daughters to get education. Secondly, there should be low costs and flexibility as some parents might not be able to afford costly education. Thirdly, there should be female teachers in schools and universities, as some conservative parents give preference to female teachers and would not send their precious daughters to an institution which only has male teachers, fearing dastardly outcomes. Several other provisions can be made in order to facilitate this dream of female education.

In conclusion, we strongly need to propagate and implement education of girls in backward or developing nations to save their future, and to save the future of their families and that of their respective nation.

Momina Zameer
Angels International College

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Inequality

Women Law and Order Reforms- Need of the Hour!

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Why is it that we criticize someone else’s independence so much? Always consider their liberty too far fetched for one’s needs. Do “we” decide what others truly need in life? Whether their demands from their own selves are justified or not?

None of these questions have a ‘yes or no’ answer. There are too many extended threads to every clause, well of which have become considerably monotonous over time. Why? Well that’s easy. Listening to journalists scream out evidences of our prevailing ignorance and indifference towards this egoistic flight plaguing the very base of individual liberty. Watching activists waste their lives in tragic strikes. Reading about  more and more blasphemous trespassing on some perfectly normal human being’s rights everyday in the newspaper. All this outrageous insanity has become a regular cadence to our ears, therefore, we no longer find the newer barging sounds disturbing any more. Being the fragile hearted beings that we are, we still fail to provide compassion to those who seek it. In times so grey, how do we expect humans to stand against the genuinely grave societal issues and bar everything that could stain our very treasury- our Women?

Being a girl who wasn’t allowed to leave city to attend College, I didn’t think I would ever want to talk about this. But here I am, ready to walk through the same painful arguments and conventional logics that even my parents were forced to put forward; just to make sure that my voice reaches out to people reading this so that they realize that money or status does not save you the misery of reactionary measures undertaken by a lofty majority of heartless extremists or our otherwise complex male-ridden society. We, all women, are equally vulnerable no matter what beliefs we dwell on. From Christian girls being gang raped to five year olds being kidnapped from right in front of their own houses to innocent girls kept from all sorts of education and exposure, each and every girl in Pakistan is merely an object in the eyes of animalistic psychopaths and unfortunately, the law itself. We have seen ages go by, unchanged; men objectifying their own women either to highlight their undeserved authority or because they’ve learnt to derive pleasure from something that is considered one genuine sadistic crime in other major states around the World. Either way, they are causing damage to the sanctity of  liberty offered to women in our homeland. No law embarks any restrictions on women reaching out to opportunities. Sadly, the law has failed to maintain consistency in this regard which is why our aspirations have been locked behind barriers of restrictions.

Pakistan has been ranked third on the list of most dangerous countries for women with over 1000 women and girls made victims of “honour killings” every year, as recorded by the Human Rights  Commission. With 90% of women facing domestic violence and recorded 113 rape cases in eight months. 44 women a month at the least, being victimised in acid attacks. But wait, doesn’t the law look over the same facts and figures?

Of course it does. Only, the measures taken by the law give us many more cases like those of Mukhtar Mai and Fareeda Kokikhel Afridi. Undertaking the most careless actions at hiding victim’s identity to respect her and her family’s personal space, the law has become people’s last resort to turn to in times of need. Whereas, being an Islamic state, we are bound to observe equality and our law to be the most efficient means of resolving disputes into justice for the deserving. Therefore, it is utmost important to strengthen the very base of our courts so that sensitive issues can be settled smoothly.

Immediate steps could include relaunching DNA tests as main evidence in rape trials. Council of Islamic ideology declared it inadmissible which was a  considerable step back for our legislation regarding our country’s rape victims who are already suffering from intense social stigma that prevents them from reporting rape. Furthermore, unnecessary provocation by the media appears nothing more than an extended propaganda. In the race of advancing at a faster pace than the rest of their peers, print media as well as electronic media, has become unguarded and unattended for. Gang rape videos become increasingly viral on websites which serves as an added intimidation for the victim. There needs to be a control over information that is being  publicized and might have a tangible threat to someone’s honour. It is important that the already traumatized families are not put through further stress. They should be provided as much security as they demand to prevent any and all jeopardy to their lives. Setting a precedent has always been a crucial clause of discussions regarding punishments. Courts need to chase such cases of violence and punish the culprits for what they’re worth. Set an example for others. This would largely reduce the already accelerated numbers of violence cases in the country.

At this point in time, law and order of the country require reforms. Provided the present condition of the country, we are supposed to stand as a nation and fight for the good cause together. It can only be made possible if we women are treated as the law and our religion promises us. We deserve the security that they promise us. Most importantly, we should demand the rights we’re promised. Only then will our nation truly ‘progress’.

Minal Maqbool Malik
Punjab College for Women

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Story

A new life or a new death?

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Zarmeenay tossed in agony as the pain ripped through her body; unrelenting, blotting out all her thoughts. She screamed again, waves of pain tearing her body apart. A streak of tears streamed down her face, she closed her eyes and everything around her vanished. She felt very light, drifting away in darkness, her senses blurring and being dimly aware of the sounds that cocooned her: the midwife shouting excitedly, an acute cry of the baby, her husband calling her name. Her brain convinced her that she was hallucinating but someone suddenly gripped her hand and startled her to the reality. She was in the best room of the small house, the sheets soaked in blood. “It couldn’t be”, something visceral inside struggled as the old midwife deposited the boy in her arms. She managed a weak smile, hot tears blurring the vision of the angel she had just took up in her shaking arms. She nuzzled the baby against her sweat drenched shirt and closed her eyes. Cry or smile? The choice was difficult.

She washed the dishes in the morning sun, the clod water making her gasp at times. As she turned with the splintered wood bucket towards her mud baked house, her gaze fell upon Abu Ayub, her ten years old son. He was busy playing with the boys, bursting with energy, screaming and laughing as he kicked the ball every now and then. His hazel eyes shone in the sunlight and his dirt colored hair bounced as he jumped. Zarmeenay smiled at his sight. Her son was her entire life, a life she loved so dearly but a life that was plummeted in danger of her world. She was both happy and sad at his birth. The ladies mocked her accused her of being so cold but in the depths of reality, she was all correct. In this world, conceiving a baby meant giving way to a new life, protecting the fragile fragments of clotted blood, nourishing it but in Rohingya, it was the opposite. Every birth was a new death, every mother gave way to the decided death of their babies as they pushed them out of their wombs. Every Muslim child came with his fate written by the Buddhist monks: to die at the hands of brutality. Zarmeenay shivered at the thought. The fear had crept into her marrow, has been flowing in her blood for years. Then one rainy night, it leapt out of her transforming into a bitter reality. Abu Ayub was taken away by the Buddhists.

Abu Ayub was not alone, other Muslim boys were taken too. The boys were kept in the dark, chained, for several days. They lived on dry bread, cried for their families but their cries absorbed in the thick darkness. Nobody was their to listen  and why would anybody listen? Days passed and then one day came the brutal part. They were beaten ruthlessly with leather belts, sticks until their body wailed of their suffering. Their heads were shaved and then they were trafficked to the town where they now sit and beg the people for money. The amount collected is taken by the Buddhist traffickers who in return, assure the boys of their living. Among these, is Abu Ayub, sitting on a dirty mat, palms open and hopefully looking towards the passers-by with tearful eyes. His left arm in crippled and turned away from his body at an awful angle. The bruises and cuts are visible through his ragged shirt. He is the most favorite of the traffickers because he collects the most money.    

Hundreds of miles away, there is Zarmeenay who now works in people’s houses to earn bread for her and her paralyzed husband. She never smiles, yet is chained with guilt of the sin she committed: bringing Abu Ayub to this bad world. If it was not her, Abu Ayub would have been safe in the heavens. Her scars still screamed, through the mist of her eyes, through the cracks of her skin. There are thousands of guilty Zarmeenay and loads of helpless Abu Ayub in Rohingya who share the same fate. Their silence yells for justice from the world who cries foul about ‘human rights’. If only anyone would dare to listen and care to alleviate their pain…

Huda Ehsan

Angels International College

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