The justice for women beyond Hashtags on Twitter!
On 20th July, Noor Muqaddam was shot and beheaded by a businessman named Zahir Jaffar, who is currently arrested and in custody. The following day, all social media such as Twitter started trending with the hashtag 'JusticeForNoor' with angry and horrified citizens expressing their condolences and the urgency of justice for the victim.
In the past weeks, there have been several trends demanding justice for victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and murders. This is a pattern that is well expected to incite a response from the authorities against the culprit in the crime. However, are the hashtags enough?
There is a drastic need for change in Pakistan concerning violence against women. Every day, there are abundant unnoticed or unreported cases of violence against women. Every day, a woman is expressing her fear over being harassed, abused, or becoming the next hashtag online. The question arises regarding true justice, and the need for crimes to become trends to be provided attention and swift action.
It took the police authorities months to take any action against Usman Mirza who along with his accomplices assaulted a couple at his property. The case was months old, but the authorities only took swift action against an influential man once the videos went viral and the public demanded justice. Why not before? Why do cases have to become a sensationalized object of media, and victims need to come out of their safety to demand action?
Social media, especially Twitter is a great medium to highlight problems, spread information, and ultimately gain the attention of the whole country. This is the way citizens can put pressure on governing bodies regarding issues and speak their hearts out. Still, the problem remains, and justice is hardly being given to the victims.
The majority of the highlighted hashtags are just a small percent of the whole picture, and many cases only are given the limelight due to the social status of the victim or culprit.
Pakistan requires major attention towards its laws and implementation towards protecting women and safeguarding them from all forms of abuse and murder: that's where the country is lacking the most. Recently, amidst the awful number of crimes highlighted on social media, a domestic violence protection bill was rejected and given to the Islamic Council in Pakistan, which previously endorsed the concept of hitting women with 'feathers'.
There are many unreported and dismissed cases that never see the light of justice, and are forgotten under the large pile of increasing cases of violence against women. Hashtags are a great tool to increase outrage and pressure, but it is not a solution to the problem.
The solution would require proper rehabilitation centres, safe houses, reliable housing facilities, protection, safety, and most importantly efficient response to reported crimes against women in all aspects, and create an environment where women feel safe to report their abuse, not threatened.