Community Fathers vow to end child marriages, domestic violence

QUETTA: Rutgers WPF, Pakistan held a workshop with community fathers at a local community centre. Fathers from different walks of life attended the workshop which was facilitated by PIDS. The aim of the workshop was to engage community fathers to advocate against child marriages and domestic violence. These fathers were sensitized on the role of care giving and their responsibility towards upbringing of children and vowed to end these practices from the society.

According to a research conducted by Rutgers WPF, Pakistan revealed that 34 percent of all marriages in Pakistan took place before the age of 15. The research further revealed that 85 percent of women had suffered some form of domestic violence during marriage.

Rutgers WPF, Pakistan launched a Green Ribbon Campaign last year on Fathers’ Day, the aim of the campaign is to mobilize fathers’ in the community advocate against the prevailing social issues such domestic violence against women and child marriages. The participants unanimously denounced the practice of child marriages under any conditions. While talking about the adverse effects of child marriages Ms. Sabeena Gul from Rutgers WPF, Pakistan said “marrying a girl at an early age surfer from various forms of domestic violence” she further added that “girls married through customary practices such as vanni, sawara or watta satta exposes these young girls to discriminatory practices.”

“marrying girls and boys at an early age deprive them of the right to education and have a diminished economic opportunities in life” she said.

When asked about why child marriages prevailed in a Balochistan, the participants were of the view that girls do not contribute towards the economic uplift of the family and is considered as financial burden, hence marrying them at an early age seems to be the only feasible solution. They further added that the child marriages also take place under the social and cultural pressures.

According to Mudabbir Maajid from Rutgers WPF, “child marriages can also result in bonded labour, slavery, sexual exploitation and domestic violence” furthermore he added “ 50 percent of the perpetrators of violence are male relatives and child marriages often associated with wife abandonment, divorce and separation.” He further added that “fathers advocating against child marriages and domestic violence will ensure a decrease in the maternal mortality ratio of Balochistan” Community fathers at the workshop pledged to support the Green Ribbon Campaign and will further advocate and spread the message of domestic violence in Pakistan. Workshop also discussed the hurdles and challenges the fathers might face while talking to the peers in the community.

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