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Title: Violence against Women in Pakistan: Perceptions and Experiences of Domestic Violence
Contributor(s): Khan, Adeel (author); Hussain, Rafat  (author)
Publication Date: 2008
DOI: 10.1080/10357820802062181
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Abstract: Pakistan has attracted international media attention for a number of gruesome acts of violence against women. The recent case of the gang rape of Mukhtar Mai and the consequent role of the police, judiciary and executive levels of government has become an international cause célèbre. However, what often escapes media notice is that many women in Pakistan are at risk of various forms of domestic violence on adaily basis. In 2003, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) recorded 1,300 cases of honour killings alone, and the number of women who experience different forms of domestic violence is many times higher. According to the more recent estimates of international NGOs and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan domestic violence is one of the greatest threats to Pakistani women’s security, health and wellbeing (Amnesty International, 2005; HRCP, 2006). Despite repeated calls, successive governments in Pakistan have failed to commission a national-level study to determine the prevalence of domestic violence.Even more surprising is the limited number of published research studies from Pakistan (Fikree and Bhatti, 1999; Sheikh, 2000; Fikree et al., 2005) and the paucity of data on the victims’ perception of domestic violence and their strategies for coping with it. The results of a number of studies across South Asia suggest that violence against women is associated with hierarchical and inequitable gender relations (Fernandez, 1997; Miller, 1999; Ahmed-Ghosh, 2004). Heise, in her review of domestic violence in developing countries, lists a range of structural, societal and individual level issues relating to four key factors: cultural, economic, legal andpolitical (Heise, 1994). Many of these factors are discussed in her later work on understanding domestic violence using an integrated ecological framework (Heise,1998). Heise’s ecological framework has been adopted in a number of research studies on domestic violence (Krug et al., 2002; Garcia-Moreno et al., 2005). This framework, best described as comprising four nested components or interlocking circles, has the "individual" as the innermost circle extending outwards to the "relationship", the "community" and the "society" (see Figure 1). Domestic violence is conceptualised as a product or interaction of these four factors at different levels of society. In Heise’s model, at the innermost level there is the personal history each individual brings to the relationship that interacts with thecontext in which violence occurs (the relationship). The community represents the institutions and structures, both formal and informal, in which relationships are embedded, and the society (the outermost circle) includes the economic or social environment including cultural norms.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Asian Studies Review, 32(2), p. 239-253
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1467-8403
Field of Research (FOR): 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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School of Rural Medicine

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