This assault is a common form of “punishment” not only in Pakistan, but also in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, throughout the Middle East, and in some Western countries. Women live in fear that should she disobey her father’s will, speak her mind, attend school, refuse a marriage proposal, deny sex, or exercise her free will, she will be punished for it. She will be forced to wear the scars for the rest of her life, to remind her of the “shame” she has brought upon herself, and be shunned by her society.
Women in developing nations are not blind. They have realized they don’t have to submit. They don’t have to obey. They can speak their mind, and they can do as they please. This disgusts the men, whose need for power and domination reaches back centuries, and this is how they enforce their control.
The practice has slowed in some countries, but in others, it’s on the rise. Men and children are also victims of these attacks. If you’re like me, and this is breaking your heart, there are ways you can help. Obviously, spreading the word is one of them, but donations are crucial. Many people in these countries don’t have access to the proper medical treatment or shelters they need. Donations help pay for bandages, medicine, housing, and training physicians. If you’re in a position to help, please consider it.
I know that to many of us, these people are far away, and seem unreachable. But they wake up every morning, just like we all do, and look in the mirror, like we all do. The fact that they don’t give up, that they keep going, shows unbelievable strength. I’m from America, where we obsess about our looks, and women are forced to think about our hair, makeup, and weight constantly. We can’t go into a shop, turn on the radio, or go online without being bombarded with ways to improve our looks. I’d like to think this will make a few of us stop and consider, even for a few moments, that there is someone who would be glad to have an option.
Check out what the United Nations Entity for Gender Quality (or UN Women) are up to. Help women around the world stay positive, hopeful, and keep fighting.