یہ ہم گنہگا ر عورتیں ہیں We Sinful Women
The Country and Its War on Women Is Surging in the Streets of Karachi, and It Is Spilling Bodies in Its Wake. The Lack of Awareness Within the Countries, System, Power Structure and Society Is Overwhelming Hidden.
“We Think We Can’t Talk About Women’s Rights in Pakistan Without Talking About State Oppression, Because the Biggest Oppressor of Women Is the State”.

Findings from the Global Gender Gap Index 2021 World Economic Forum: The globally ranked Pakistan: 153rd out of 156 countries. A report from, “Tracking numbers: state of violence against women and children in Pakistan” highlighted that Jan-June 2020, the first half of 2020 had comparatively less indication of violence, but from July-Dec 2020, there was a significant increase. Violence against women and rape cases doubled in the last six months of 2020(SSDO). This systemic msyogniny that is deeply rooted in pakistan needs to be ripped out into focus
“Solutions Require an Acknowledgement of the Problem and an Openness to Discovering Uncomfortable Truths About Ourselves and Others. I Do Not Know How Many People Are Willing to Do This. Our Collective Dehumanization Is Something That All of Us in Pakistani Society Must Accept as a Reality if We Are to Step Towards Transforming It”- Ali. Karachi Pakistan
“We Have Been Told Since Birth That Our Bodies Belong to Everyone-Our Family, Our Community, Our Nation-Basically Anyone and Everyone but Ourselves”
Noor Mukadam

Saima Ali

Bushra Ali

Ayesha Ikram

Samia Sarwar

Mukhtaran Mai

Qandeel Baloch

"Why was she out on the Motorway so late without a brother or husband? Why didn’t she check her gas tank before leaving the house? And if she had to travel why didn’t she take the more public GT Road route?” - Lahore Capital Chief Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh.

The pakistani Prime Minister:“If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.”
Reinforcing Stereotypes
An Article on Serial Drama in Pakistan discusses Butler's theory of Perofmativy which is: “a stylized repetition of acts, an imitation or miming of the dominant conventions of gender”.The use of feminism film theory and the history of women in Pakistan is used as a tool to analyze how pop culture engages with the influence of gender in Pakistan.

The article highlights research that depicts key concepts that are influenced by ‘honour discourse’ Such as marriage, domestic violence, economic roles, the silencing of victims of sexual harassment and abuse. This concept of gender in media, its cultural discourses act as political power, that spans its influence throughout popular culture in Pakistan. I have seen these serials as well with my parents, and the frustration- and need to critique, on women being portrayed as helpless- and their source of happiness is fulfilling their family's wishes of marriage is overlooked by my family. ‘Common sense’ is created through this medium to maintain ‘normalcy in the culture’.

Honour-based violence against women is prevalent in Pakistan and urban areas in the country like Karachi. When the film creator Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, had created a powerful film that highlights the mistreatment of women in Pakistan. However, many criticisms by the Pakistani audience had stated she brought shame to the country because she made it look. This speaks to the ongoing issue of honour overshadowing the pain that women are facing-” how dare she open her mouth!”. According to feminist film analysis, mainstream media has encoded the language of the dominant patriarchal order. Many films portray women to adhere to male desire and lack individuality or depth. It's as if she has been hollowed out and is there to put the male hero on a pedestal. Males are represented as not sexual unlike the females, instead, they are go-getters, complete and authoritative. The concept of honour is embedded in the body and sexuality of women. Policing women's bodies is done under this guise of honour, whether it relates to love, marriage, their role in life. A common theme in these films is if the woman strays from these traditions, she will be killed or punished by her own family.

For the most part, the governing rules in Pakistan regarding, marriage, family and divorce that relate to the majority of women's issues in violence are governed by religious authorities- so any confrontation of these laws is almost impossible. The continued presence of culture and religion- where culture is dominant, dictates what kind of roles women have in society. This is why honour is the root of a woman's life in Pakistan. The idea of a women's sexuality- is sacred, and to not be risked in the outside world. It makes you question, that families protect their women so bad knowing that such violent men exist, creating a space for these vile men and diminishing the presence of a woman.

The honour and shame of the females of the household isn't just a matter of their individualism but affects the kin and community as a whole. Marriage is inherently linked with honour-based violence. In a film, a woman who strays from her role is dealt with like this, if you continue to seek her hand in marriage, I will be left no choice but to kill both my girls to save their honour' (Khuda Aur Muhabbat).
All women in the serials who are to be married are always hounded with terms like, ‘beautiful, innocent, obedient, and humble. This creates males envision the construction of femininity and not being those things is considered dishonourable. A women's self-identity in these roles is solely tied to her male kin and this adds to the cultural issue of individuality in women- sustaining violent narratives against women. Even mothers in the serials consider their daughter's honour an extension of themselves. For instance, 'Do you think your husband will ever accept you back if he knows you were raped?" asked Ayesha's mother when Ayesha wanted to inform her husband that a robber raped her (Sangat) The mothers are dominated by the ideals of honour and only believe they are protecting their daughters.
Violence Through the Eyes Of Women
Most women in Pakistan are exposed to some form of violent abuse from a young age to their adulthood. this is because the misogynistic culture has normalized mental abuse and sometimes physical. a study that focuses on women's perception of internalized trauma end the normalization of violence discusses situations provoking violence and their manifestations. The study talks about how violence against women is usually unheard of we're not talking about it because women either interpret the violence inflicted on them as their part of their daily lives and they don't know any different out of that normality or where to seek help.

The study tries to analyze what situations provoke or increase violence against women. Within the culture, it's the woman's responsibility to change her behaviour and act accordingly to avoid provoking her husband. Situations of violence are called for when the woman acts out of line or dishonours or embarrasses her husband. it's considered a task for the woman to keep her husband in good spirits and make his life easier to avoid these experiences of violence. Women suppress when these incidents occur to maintain, this sense of ‘honour’ and respect of the family.

Exposure to this violence is detrimental to women's mental health. There is a sense of frustration and isolation when a woman can not confide in her experiences- there is no form of healing. In the study, the strained situation of a married woman had reported symptoms of physical migraines, depression and other mental health issues. Even though the marriage is filled with pain, struggle and detachment- the women especially those in lower socio-economic circumstances have few options to leave. A victim in the focus group who was suffering from sexual violence had stated “Every night I am dying and every day I feel I am alive again”. She went into depression and had attempted suicide".

An excerpt from an article that highlights rape culture in Pakistan captures this idea of normalized violence,
“It is the normalization of this violence that ensures that we, as a society, will do anything to avoid blaming rape solely on a rapist. Our culture commodifies female bodies to the extent that romanticizing covering bodies or hiding them away is somehow accepted as an antidote to abuse.

I have seen this type of conversation take place in my own home, and families homes, where women are questioned: “Why did she go there in the first place?” and these conversations have other women in the culture agreeing with this mindset- because it is hard to not disagree to something that you have known as ‘truth’ your entire life.

You have learnt to imprison women like you imprision flies in a bottle .