‘Why don’t imams discuss domestic violence, abuse in sermons?’

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Violence against women is a widespread menace in our society. With its culture of shaming and silencing victims, society leaves most women at the mercy of abusive husbands, fathers and brothers.

Cases of domestic violence are under reported and the perpetrators of violence against women are only convicted in one to 2.5% of registered cases, according to a report by the Journal of International Women’s Studies.

This leaves more and more women feeling trapped in abusive relationships.

“No woman should consider herself completely helpless,” says therapist Mahjabeen Salman.

Speaking on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Monday, Salman said society creates these barriers for women, keeping them trapped.

She encouraged women to get out of abusive marriages and become financially independent.

“Women are scared to get out of an abusive marriage fearing things will get worse. But they need to think: are things getting any better like this?”

Salman said it is important to remove the stigma attached to mental illness, sexual abuse and domestic violence.

“Imams should condemn domestic violence and abuse,” said television personality Waqar Zaka. “Why don’t they discuss these issues in their sermons?”

More people need to be accepting of therapy, Salman added. “However, men don’t want to go for counselling voluntarily. In such a situation where nothing works, the woman should leave,” she said.

Zaka said the government needs to work on empowering women and bringing them into the workforce so they don’t have to depend on the men in their lives.