After the Noor Mukaddam-Zahir Jaffer episode, Islamabad has seen yet another high-profile murder of a woman in a case of domestic violence, with very similar parallels:
1. The man came from a very powerful, affluent, influential and rich family
2. Had a case history of abusive and erratic behavior
3. Was into drug and alcohol abuse
4. Was trusted by the victim
It’s sad to see people blessed with everything and yet resort to such abuse and violence. This clears the fact that for someone to be abusive he doesn’t necessarily need to belong to a labor class or be frustrated by the economic conditions however rightly said that the menace of drugs and alcohol is found in both classes.
I believe If someone is unable to take charge of their life and is into drugs… It’s clearly a red flag…A humanitarian
The danger sign for me is drug abuse. Both men were educated, intelligent, and well-traveled. They would probably have carried a great conversation otherwise on many worldly matters. However, the rampant drug abuse, especially in all classes of our society is producing psychopaths capable of the worst crimes. We have a real social problem. Pakistani law will take its slow and uneasy way, and we may eventually see the murderer being hanged (perhaps!), but for the ladies out there, the warning signs are now clear.
Please don’t ignore physical or psychological abuse
I would like to add that even in their ‘drug-induced rage’, they know where to draw the line as far as their mothers, sisters, and other family members are concerned. The victims are always wives and girlfriends. Sometimes and sometimes not. There were cases recently of men attacking their mothers and sisters (like the two brothers in Peshawar) which only came to the limelight because someone recorded it. This kind of mindset just looks at women as inferior beings.
I speak from personal experience I got addicted to abuse and went through solitude therapy through traveling, living alone made me stronger. On the other hand I am thankful to my abuser for making me strong enough and the woman I am today I wouldn’t have been. Life experiences taught me to stand up for myself and be vocal. I make my own choices and I’m the decision maker of my life, this needs to be understood by all. Life is beautiful!Not to be named
Very sad and pathetic to learn about these murders. What boggles one’s mind is why the hell would educated ladies tolerate such behaviors even so that there is abundant awareness available at least for the educated class. Moreover, I was discussing with someone how these educated women with so much exposure fall for such men. The first moment it happens, get the hell out. Doesn’t matter if it’s a marriage or a relationship. Get out. Doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been in it or how many times he’s apologized.
Should Abuse also be reported to the police?
There is no honor in tolerating abuse and no dignity in covering it up. Get out and any idiot who comes to counsel you to stay in that messed up a relationship because of social pressure etc, distance yourself from that person too. The law isn’t going to save your hide, sadly, as we have a social tolerance for domestic abuse. Act in self-defense, and act when the first red flag shows up. Don’t become another news item. I have female friends who have stayed or are in abusive relationships – Get. Out. It can happen to any woman from any background, education, or financial means, and be done by any man, regardless of his social standing or education. Your life is more important. Get out.
A lot of it has to do with a lack of consequences and accountability. Had Zahir Jaffer of Adamjee Insurance not been mollycoddled by the system and properly incarcerated instead of a half-hearted attempt of putting him in a hospital while continuing his supply of luxury chocolates and colognes, Shahnawaz and his parents might have acted a tad bit more responsibly. I know men who wouldn’t raise their voices, let alone fists at women, as accountability has been ingrained in them since childhood. They know their parents will break their legs before they get a chance to mistreat someone’s daughter.
Love and respect should be the operative denominators
Ironically liberals used to blame religion and tribal culture for domestic violence. To them, misuse of religion and tribal mentality could be it. Some may argue that domestic violence has nothing to do with drug addiction or usage. Domestic violence is always about power and control. Any partner who exhibits any form of anger management issues is a red flag. In the absence of love, respect, or both, living in one’s own company could be beautiful.
Another issue is that society has internalized marriage as a solution and a success barometer that pressurizes girls into jumping into wrong decisions. Sara was from the best-rated Canadian university and had a stellar international career, could have led a wonderful solo flight. Companionship, love, and respect somehow get diluted in the need for validation and peer pressure as a successful married girl, pushing girls to put up with so much nonsense.
Success to me isn’t being popular in a boisterous company which internally makes one uncomfortable because the value systems might not be consistent. It’s so important to understand that whether it’s a marital relationship or just friends, till one is completely happy, it’s better to be happy with one’s own hobbies, activities, and spirituality.
Marriage is beautiful but unfortunately I lost trust in marriage- it has no meaning to me anymore. To me now having survived an abusive marriage; love and respect are the needs in a healthy relationship. Forgiveness and gratitude give you the patience to be alone and enjoy your own company. I indulge in adventures all on my own. Very comfortably I can go for fine dining on my own. I seek relationship for companionship. Alhamdullillah I am financially independent, I seek relationship in which I feel emotionally safe and protected. In short, from my experience, emotional and physical safety are far more important than financial dependence on man.Not to be named
To be comfortable in one’s own company is not something that can be taught. This programming starts at a very young age. I can be wrong. I feel it comes when you are able to follow your heart, regulate your own emotions and accept yourself and forgive yourself for letting someone abuse you. Indeed that’s a harsh reality but through moral support from family, this can be made possible!
Economic dependence is another reason women can’t get out
Women and children are the easiest targets and as the economic and social pressures are growing, they are the most vulnerable. I guess it’s a global phenomenon. Bad times.
A casual read-through of last week’s papers reveals the following
1. Man burns wife
2. Woman shot dead for honor killing
3. Daughter was killed for crying too loudly.
We are faced with a broader malaise. Not one that can be easily explained away by attributing it to the judgment of women alone. This has become a social problem and isn’t by any means an isolated incident.
Many are stuck because of this issue. That’s why it’s really important to educate daughters and encourage them to have their own career interests. No one should be in an abusive marriage because of financial constraints. Most are because of that reason.
Second is no family support
We as a society need to create safe spaces for women to exit such relationships. Here people will start blaming the woman for a divorce or cast aspersions on her character and create such a hostile environment that the abuse victim starts wondering what is worse for her: to stay in an abusive relationship or to face social abuse for exiting it. Hate what the media is doing as it’s one of their own this time. Playing up doubts about the marriage and casting aspersions on the poor girl’s character etc. Anyone who brings in the victim’s character or in any way tries to blame the victim for what her murderer did, should burn in the depths of hell. I have zero tolerance for that kind of nonsense.
I feel that this is something people don’t teach their kids enough. These incidents are also why parents need to start instilling confidence and self-respect in girls at a very young age. And please never ever ever ever spank your children. They will think it is OK for others to hit them and it is not!
It’s not easy to get out of an abusive relationship especially if you are stuck in the hurt-and-rescue cycle! Red flags are always there! Never ignore those. Leaving an abusive relationship is hard, harder than anyone can think of, and you can imagine, if I say something is hard, you very well know that it actually is. The fear associated with abuse and violence cripples you, seeps into your bones, and destroys every ounce of sanity you have. Yes, leaving is the only option and yes, no one should go through any form of physical violence, and hell yes, after surviving countless episodes, it feels like getting killed could have been a kinder fate. It’s the fear of the unknown but let me tell you life is a gift and it’s beautiful. Also, in hurt and rescue cycle makes you doubt your intuition, judgment, and sanity. What doesn’t feel right is not right at all.
I was also in an extremely abusive/poisonous marriage. I could have been killed but I worked my way out with help. Fortunately I was not in Pakistan, had support from authorities for my safety. Took me good 17 years to finish everything. Had to change cities for my safety. Created life all over again. I’m thriving! Living my life to the fullest.Not to be named
I don’t think I can even begin to imagine what it must be like for someone to live this reality. I guess worse than the physical abuse, it’s the agency being taken away that cripples the victim. Pakistani establishment needs to understand if you apply the justice system only to the poor and not to the well-connected people, the rich people keep getting away, and this bubble will burst eventually. People will eventually turn to vigilantism.
In the end, all I would say, get your support circle and plan to leave in absence of the abuser. Plan!!! Once you leave never to come back, never reconcile, please! I think more women should speak and let those suffering know it’s ok to seek help and get out, and that life goes on. A divorce is not the end of the world.
Disclaimer: Today I am highlighting the issue of marriage distraught followed with a piece of sane advice as I read through a Facebook post by Tughral Turab Bhai. The article contains excerpts of actual commentary.