Thursday, July 26, 2012

EndCSA - We don't have money for you

So we met peeps through twitter and one of the ideas that was proposed that how can we be raising awareness on child sexual abuse.

Sounds intense, doesn't it?

It wasn't like that we came to the idea out of nowhere. It was more that we came across a tweep who goes by the name of Eiynah [@NiceMangos; she basically blogs about desi sexuality]. She is Pakistani-Canuck like myself and a Torontonian and it was interesting that there are women who write about such topics. I mean considering ..oooooo.. we don't talk about sex.. babies fall out of the sky.. and we are all goody shoes Muslims... *sigh*

She was tweeting and asking about laws of child sexual abuse in Pakistan, she did not have a legal background. Luckily me being a forensic science undergrad knew how to interpret law and application of law especially in the sub-continent [Trust me, they still follow the dingy system from 1800s]

What we ended up finding was that there are no laws which protect children in Pakistan [Surprise, surprise]. I mean why the heck would they think about even having the law when all of us are good little pious Muslims, right? We are so pious that we are just hypocritical. We, Pakistani Muslims, prefer to be all things holy rather than fix our problems.

So we asked a bunch of people in the "activist scene" [you know all those "celebrity activists" who say that they work for X-NGO and they do some much good work *rolls eyes*] ; what we got was .. NADA...

One of the MPs I approached who is Pakistani American and lives in Wisconsin [belongs to the so-called progressive political party in Pakistan] ends up telling me that if we ended up doing all the ground work for her. She will make a mini presence and use her status to "set the stage".. but what about the funding???

"Oh you know the government, does not have the funding for such projects"

I was like wow, they have 60% budget to spend in military and use the government money and spend in on their lavish travels which they call "diplomatic tours" but these fuckers do not have money for our children who live on the streets, who live in poverty and who lived in abused homes. Kids who end up being the most vulnerable part of the society and there is zilch to support them and protect them from sexual violence [esp when statistically 40% of sexual assault happen to girls under the age of 16]

So we gathered a bunch of people from pitching the idea on twitter, got some drafts done with the help of volunteers from "SafeWorldForWomen" [@safeworld4women] and sent a draft to a lot of "progressive" and conservative [you know just to piss them off, though I rarely think that they will even care to read] MPs who have not bothered to respond to me as of yet.

Child Sexual Abuse - Info 101

What Is Child Sexual Abuse?

At the extreme end of the spectrum, sexual abuse includes sexual intercourse or its deviations. Yet all offences that involve sexually touching a child, as well as non-touching offenses and sexual exploitation, are just as harmful and devastating to a child’s well-being.
Touching sexual offenses include:
  • Fondling;
  • Making a child touch an adult’s sexual organs; and
  • Penetrating a child’s vagina or anus no matter how slight with a penis or any object that doesn’t have a valid medical purpose.
Non-touching sexual offenses include:
  • Engaging in indecent exposure or exhibitionism;
  • Exposing children to pornographic material;
  • Deliberately exposing a child to the act of sexual intercourse; and
  • Masturbating in front of a child.
Sexual exploitation can include:
  • Engaging a child or soliciting a child for the purposes of prostitution; and
  • Using a child to film, photograph or model pornography.
These definitions are broad. In most states, the legal definition of child molestation is an act of a person—adult or child—who forces, coerces or threatens a child to have any form of sexual contact or to engage in any type of sexual activity at the perpetrator’s direction.

What Are the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse?

The effects of sexual abuse extend far beyond childhood. Sexual abuse robs children of their childhood and creates a loss of trust, feelings of guilt and self-abusive behavior. It can lead to antisocial behavior, depression, identity confusion, loss of selfesteem and other serious emotional problems. It can also lead to difficulty with intimate relationships later in life. The sexual victimization of children is ethically and morally wrong.

Proving Sexual Abuse

When sexual abuse occurs the child victim may be the only witness and the child’s statements may be the only evidence. In such cases, the central issue sometimes becomes whether the child’s statements can be trusted. Some child welfare experts feel that children never lie about sexual abuse and that their statements must always be believed. According to Douglas Besharov in The Future of Children (1994), “Potential reporters are not expected to determine the truth of a child’s statements. As a general rule, therefore, all doubts should be resolved in favor of making a report.” He continues, “A child who describes being sexually abused should be reported unless there is clear reason to disbelieve the statement.”
Child sexual abuse cases can be very difficult to prove largely because cases where definitive, objective evidence exists are the exception rather than the rule. The first indicators of sexual abuse may not be physical, but rather behavioral changes or abnormalities. Unfortunately, because it can be so difficult to accept that sexual abuse may be occurring,the adult may misinterpret the signals and feel that the child is merely being disobedient or insolent.
The reaction to the disclosure of abuse then becomes disbelief and rejection of the child’s statements.
Sexual abuse is usually discovered in one of two ways:
  • Direct disclosure (e.g., the victim, victim’s family member or parent seeking help makes a statement)
  • Indirect methods (e.g., someone witnesses the abuse to the child, the child contracts a sexually transmitted disease or the child becomes pregnant)
Sometimes the child may be so traumatized by sexual abuse that years pass before he or she is able to understand or talk about what happened. In these cases, adult survivors of sexual abuse may come forward for the first time in their 40s or 50s and divulge the horror of their experiences.

Reblogged from American Humane Society

Update: Zaib's gang and more

Xaib's gang or whoever you are under your current name... Yes you.. I wrote a review of you promoting sexual violence and now you and your band members have the nerve to give me rape threats and then try to block my account on facebook... well sweetheart, it doesn't works that way... if you can't defend your actions, then you should keep your rapists mouth shut;

And here is the Youtube comment of harassment once again by "moizfreaks";

The door mats that you brought in on the you tube comment section and all those fuck-up retards who supported your misognist point of view, do not ill-validate my point that YOU, YOUR CREW & YOUR MUSIC is FUCKED UP.

I am not some regular Paki chick whom you thought that you could treat like shit and you could walk over and most prolly like most apathetic people of Pakistan, no one will care.

Let me tell you one more thing, you are not the first person who has given me death threats or rape threats, and as much as I want it you wont be the last one. And next time, if you or any of your crew members sent me rape threats... I won't report it to authorities. I will TAKE OFF your manhood and hang it for the whole WORLD to see, MOTHERFUCKER! You have messed with the wrong woman.

Here is the video again if anyone who missed the opportunity would like to see a brighter side to sexual violence esp when their video description says "A VIDEO ON HOW TO TREAT A GIRL WHO FLIRTS"

P.S. Oh one more thing, I have reported all of your members to FIA. If you don't believe me contact FIA Karachi or FIA Headquarters in Islamabad, they will let you know the nature of the complaints filed against you.

Propagating violence through Music - Xaib's Gang

Hey everyone,

I am utterly disgusted by this piece of music video. Here the protagonist kills the girl because she refuses to be with him. This is absolutely horrific especially in a climate, when we have records number of sexual assaults, rape, domestic violence, honour killings, and a perpetual increased number of acid thrown on women.


I am requesting everyone I know to PLEASE report this video on youtube and express your views to the band members as well. Killing women for having their own set of voice is UNACCEPTABLE AND OFFENSIVE.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Health Professionals = Religio-Cultural Police??

Yesterday I got this from one the most lovely person I have met recently...

Dear all,

My address for the next two weeks is the psych ward (general) at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, where doctors are going to keep me under observation, and help me come to terms with sexual, emotional, mental and physical abuse from childhood.

The situation is bad right now, but the prognosis is great. They've said, however, that they're probably going to take away my phone and interwebs for the duration of my stay; please don't assume I'm dead if I don't respond via email, twitter, Facebook or phone. Urgent messages can be routed through my partner.

I like flowers and chocolates; send loads.

I'll see everyone on the other, happier, healthier, more wholesome side. :-)

~ UZi.

PS: I like books and music too.

Today I got this message from her;

Escaped AKUH psych ward coz they can't get their heads out of their religion-&-morality-infested asses. Now looking for new shrink urgently. They retraumatised me. Fucking MORONS! If my partner hadn't come on time, I'd have turned catatonic.

So my question today with all the doctors and therapists is that, IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE TAUGHT IN MED SCHOOL... HOW TO RE-TRAUMATIZE A PERSON WITH YOUR RELIGIOUS BULLSHIT....

do they teach you about ethics, moral, cultural sensitivity.. OR DID YOU CONVENIENTLY SKIPPED THAT LESSON... do they tell you that NOT everyone lives YOUR REALITY... YOU ARE ONLY SUPPOSE TO TREAT PEOPLE AND NOT BE RELIGIOUS MORAL POLICE... if anyone needed that, they would had gone to a clergy not to a doctor, not to a therapist...

I am so enraged, you have no idea... I know MDs and psychologists are "THE MOST FUCKED UP PEOPLE" cos all they know is applied medicine.. they dont have higher level brain functions to think anything beyond that... most survivors dont even come out and ask for help due to the stigma associated with it and here we have a fucked up system which proves how they systemically discourage people to seek help. 

If you are suppose to treat a person on death row when needed, ARE SEXUAL VIOLENCE SURVIVORS WORST THAN THAT???

This is something which I am going to end my post with; 

Psychiatrist Stop
Inspired by ‘Sex in the Forbidden Zone’ by Peter Rutter, MD

With your power above the depressed masses below,
There are so many medicated that I now want to know,
Why wise women were sacrificed just a short while ago!
If knowledge is suppressed man’s ignorance will grow!
Is Homophobia rampant because of a Holy Book?
It says it’s a sin yet wasn’t passion mistook
For love! It just explodes with a scent or a look!
If a doctor wanted sex, I guess he just took!
Why’s a woman’s quest for health returned with such spite?
Professionals please bring our frontal lobe into light.
Let’s learn what is true so all stupid lies we can fight!
How is sex determined? I want to get it right!
Psychiatrist, please stop and listen! It NOT in OUR head!
Psychiatrist, stop this abuse! We women bleed red!
Psychiatrist, stop drugging us or we will end up dead!
You must know love* has four parts, only one is for bed.

Poem was sent in by Lora Bruncke

P.S. all the messages and name have been used with Urooj's permission

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Curious case of Kakakhel Law Firm & Arsalan Bilal

I aint sure how many people are aware but earlier this year, I and my friend, ran a campaign for Arsalan Bilal who was rusticated from Bahria University on ridiculous fasicst grounds. We supported his demands because we believed in his idea that academia shouldn't be monitored by the army officials and there is no place for military in academia.

He was on hunger strike for awhile than Kakakhel Law firm jumped into it and they were talking about how they have won so many cases of similar nature and they are revolutionizing rights for the struggle of minortity students in Pakistan.. blah blah blah... but then out of the blue everything died.

Kakakhel Law Firm Executive Director was impressed for some reason by my interest and my activism and on my inquiry of what happened to the whole case, this is the conversation that he shared on twitter direct messages with me.

On my further inquiry, why he didnt contact Arsalan Bilal and how did the case further died, this is what he said;

 And on asking what he though about him being arrested outside of Bahria University, this is what he had to say

So after all this, what do I have to say... For Kakakheil Law firm, the whole thing that they talk about human rights and what not, was just a HOAX, and nothing more.

OTHER THAN THAT, they also don't believe in people. This is just their front to be big buddies with the cool people in the activist scene like Beena Sarwar and PRETEND TO POSSESS PROGRESSIVE VALUES... which they dont have any to start with...

So why am I leaking this... For starters, ARSALAN BILAL deserves to know what really happened with his case, what went wrong & WHY was no lawyer willing to take the case, cos they are just racists who think he is crazy and he is a minority student to top it off.


Note: The messages are released on the request of Arsalan Bilal

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

That girl by the bus terminal

On my way to poetry slam today, I saw this girl lying in the parking lot of the bus terminal. I got to her to inquire if she was ok. She seemed to be non-reponsive. On my insistence, if she needed help, she said no and didnt need anyone's help. Her thoughts were inchoesive and she couldnt utter proper sentences. On my further insistence, she said, "they are responsible."

I have no idea, what did she mean by it but I couldnt think of anything to help her out. At the end, I ended up informing the security guard at terminal, so that they could look out for her. They told me that she has been there for awhile and they were not sure if they should had called the police or paramedics.

She didnt seem to be be drunk but definetley she was not mentally present.

I stayed there for awhile just in case, convincing the terminal guard that at least we should send her to the hospital. By the time, I got to them, she stood up and staggered away in the alleyway. I hope she doesn't becomes tomorrow morning's news. I hope she is ok wherever she is....

I am kinda traumatized at the response that I recieved from the people around me. Some of them were like, "oh, it happens all the time, she is just one of the many...", while others said, "We can't really call the police, they will blow it out of proportion,... who knows what is happening in her life..., and she just basically needs help... maybe she is just stressed out of life and just need to sleep it off.."

The security guard lady said, "... she must be [high] on something, and there are people who just dont need help, they basically just dont want it. You can't put a person in jail for being harmful to themselves... there is only so much you can do... and people shouldnt be policing others..."

Though my anarchist self, firmly believes, we shouldnt be butting in other people's business and they have a right to live their lives as they choose to do so but my socialist self asks me dont we have responsibility as a community towards each other... shouldnt we be taking care of our vulnerable members of the society.....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kashmala Tariq: "Thou shall not pass!!"

Either Kashmala Tariq is way too rich and privleged to understand the issues of common woman., or she is one of those many high & mighty holier than thou women who think they know the realities of women in Pakistan all across the board.

So why am I ranting about her, well a couple of days ago Kashmala Tariq shut down the reporductive bill on the basis of religion and saying that it was “sensitive”. Either Kashmala Taria doesn't know what reproductive rights include or she doesn't have brains to analyze and have proper arguments.

Not to worry, Kashmala! Here is reproductive justice 101 just for you and for elites like you. 

Reproductive justice recognizes that women's reproductive health is shaped by the socio-economic conditions of their lives. This inclues conditions like human rights violations, race, sexuality, and status that they have in the country they reside. It teaches that unless we solve all these issues, women can not have control over their reproductive health.

Now that I have just given you a crash lesson on meaning of reproductive justice, let me teach you what does reproductive rights include; it includes access to sex education, access to information and treatment of STDs, STIs, HIV and last but not the least right to CHOOSE, what is right for them and last but not least, to have right to abortion.

So before jumping into all of the arguments, lets have an overview of the condition of Pakistan.

Pakistan has been voted one of the worst countries for women by Reuters. Lets be clear the first two countries were Congo and Afghanistan which are combat zones, not people democracy.

1. Pakistan & HIV

According to UN-AIDS, HIV prevalence in Pakistan nearly doubled from 11% in 2005 to 21% in 2008. This makes Pakistan an emerging country in South Asia with HIV cases. This is insanely scary. International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) launched in 2011, the report, titled HIV in Asia and the Pacific: “Getting to Zero”. Their data suggest that large proportion of new HIV infections within key populations are among young people under the age of 25, and current HIV prevention programmes are failing to reach out to young people who are most at risk.

2. Pakistan & Sexual Violence

Rape was found to be extremely widespread by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) - 220 FIRs being filed in 43 districts in March 2012 compared to 147 registered in 33 districts the preceding month. In February 2012, 193 cases of attack on modesty were reported in 33 districts while March saw the number rise to 270 in 38 districts.

Baseer Naveed from Asian Human Rights Commission reported in Ethics in Action Asia in 2011 on violence against women in Pakistan. His interview with Pakistan’s Additional Police Surgeon Dr Zulfiqar Siyal revealed that on average 100 women are raped every 24 hours in Karachi city alone. Rape and sexual harassment in police custody remains a big problem, and few cases result in prosecution.

According to report by Human Rights Watch, more than 70 percent of women in police custody experience physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their jailers. Reported abuses include beating and slapping; suspension in mid-air by hands tied behind the victim’s back; the insertion of foreign objects, including police batons and chilli peppers, into the vagina and rectum; and gang rape. Statistics have been produced which suggest that every three hours a woman is raped in Pakistan which doesn't include the rape cases which are not reported due to social stigma and marital rape cases are not even taken into account.

Naveed says that despite of these alarming reports, not a single officer has suffered criminal penalties for such abuse, even in cases where incontrovertible evidence of custodial rape exists. According to the same report, a senior police officer claimed that “in 95 percent of the cases the women themselves were blamed to be at fault”.

3. Pakistan and Forced Marriages

Daily Times – Pakistan, reported in June 2012 that Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) monitors visited 77 offices of District Police Officers (DPOs) to gather information on FIRs registered for 27 offences falling under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Of the monitored districts, 27 were in Punjab, 21 in Sindh, 19 in KP, nine in Balochistan and one in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). For the month of May 2012, there was an increase in reported cases of forced marriages that rose from 314 in 35 districts in February to 653 in 40 districts. Lahore (222), Okara (69) and Vehari (47) were the top reporting districts in March. Moreover, 108 cases of offences relating to marriage were also registered in 10 districts.

Abortion & Religion

In 2010, Pakistan Today did an interview with religious edicts on the issue of abortion. In their interview, they found them to be fairly open on the issue. A Mufti who spoke anonymously for fear of ‘undue backlash’, said that while scholars from all schools of thought in Islam agree that abortion is forbidden after the first four months of pregnancy, Hanafi scholars permit abortion until the end of four months, likening the act “moral transgression” rather than “crime”.

The Quran, he maintained, does not explicitly ban abortions either, including in verse 6:151, which speaks about not killing one’s children out of fear of poverty, but it does not address the issue of the status of a fetus at all. As living being or reference of children to being fetuses or new born children is not mentioned in Quran at all.

In his view, in Islamic legal terminology, one would use the principle of ‘al-aham wal-muhim’ (more important versus less important) in deciding the case, allowing scholars to permit abortions up to day 40, and in some schools of thought, even up to day 120 of gestation. He added that within moral and religious bounds, a physical or mental health provider must always be considered a better authority than a religious scholar when dealing with individual cases.

Necessity of Reproductive Health Services

We are a country, who don't talk to our children about rights and wrongs of sexual health. We fail to explain them logically the intricacies of sex and sexuality but we expect them to behave in a responsible manner out of nowhere. We don't teach them about dangers of HIV, STDs, STIs or necessity of safe sex practices but we demonize something which is a natural part of human life.

Pakistani men shouldn't be propagating abortion only when they want to hide their sin or don't want to get caught or when they are cowards to take responsibility for their actions i.e. premarital sex. It is not just a woman's responsibility to take care of her sexual health, but its her partner's as well.

In a country, like Pakistan where women don't have equal rights. There are lack of basic necessities, increase in sexual assaults, marital rape, forced marriages, abduction, sex trafficking, forced conversion, access to poor healthcare, and education. It is a crime to bring unwanted children who cant be taken care properly. In this whole debate, all the religious-high-&-mighty people, forget that they are ignoring the person who is living and breathing and exist in this world. In a country, where there is not even proper access to contraceptive knowledge and safe sex products, where doctors and primary health care providers are even judgemental moral police, like most of you.

In 2010, Dr. Sorush and his team conducted study to monitor Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 5 themes in Pakistan. "Our research showed that even doctors frequently turn away women seeking abortions, because they see these procedures as sinful," Sorush says. "But it is not a question of morality. It is a question of health –and everyone has a right to health."

Guttmacher Institute research shows, 890,000 women have unsafe abortions annually in Pakistan. 800 of these women will die and further 197,000 will be hospitalised due to complications."The problem is that there is no legal cover for these procedures," Head of Advocacy at the Shirkat Gah women's resource centre, condemns the current legal situation. "Women are told upfront: this is your risk, so if you don't make it, that's your problem." Women may take on this risk alone, but the physical price they pay has significant consequences for developing countries as a whole – where the majority of unsafe abortions are carried out. "If a woman is in poor health after having an unsafe abortion, she can no longer effectively contribute to a household, and her family has to bear that extra financial burden," they explain. "This lack of active participation is a barrier to achieving national development goals and creates an economic burden for the family and, ultimately, the state."

To be more rational and fair, access to have abortion are part of woman rights. Special Rappporteur to UN, Anand Grover, released statement in 2011 calling for the worldwide legalisation of abortion. He argued that the continued criminalisation of this medical practice has led to a systematic abuse of women's human rights – including the rights to life, health and equality.

Yes, its a right that women should have! After being a part of such a barbaric society, which doesn't protects women whether they live in urban or rural areas, where they are violated day-in and day-out just cos its a NORM. I demand from the MPs of Pakistan to get off their religious high horses and face the realities.

Your (Pakistani MNAs and MPAs) reality is that you have failed to protect the 50% of population of this country. You have failed to implement laws. You are a joke for the people around you. You can't take about justice in a country where a woman is nothing more than a reproductive producing machine.

So if Kashmala Tariq still doesn't get it, this is what I have to say to her. Kashmala Tariq, do hell with you and your privleged elitest stance. I want a woman MP, who represents me, understand my multiple marginalization as a woman in Pakistani society. I want someone who doesnt throws away my concerns because they don't align with her personal agenda. I want the MP who will listen to my demands and my concerns, and not just dismiss them by categorizing them to be a foreign agenda of NGOs. It was 50% of women of Pakistan who gave you that vote, not your conservative men. I am a woman of Pakistan, represent ME, not your messed up personal prejudice and your patriarchal ideology! I want my reproductive rights!

Does it means reproductive health affects just women,  probably not... but by empowering women, we are empowering Pakistan.

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Website last updated 2013