Epidemic of acid-attacks on Islamic women

Originally Submitted by Barbara Bassett 7/25/10

I recently received two emails containing some very horrifying stories along with even more horrifying pictures. One was entitled “Epidemic of Acid-Attack on Women in Pakistan”, the article is about women who volunteered to lift their veil and show their burned faces and let a picture speak a thousand words and tell their truth. These women are courageous because they are Muslim women and under Sharia law the act of showing her face is a crime, even if it’s burned and no longer resembles a woman’s face.

I want you to think about this — these women are victims of a heinous crime. However, the heinous crime is not considered as such, it is considered an act of defending ones honor. A man whose marriage proposal is refused is defending his honor by throwing acid onto the body of the woman who refused his proposal. How dare she refuse him, his feelings are hurt and he is just so pissed off. But hey, we are talking about Islam, where men whose feelings are hurt by a woman get to act out their anger.

Yep, in Islam Mr. Refused is told not to seek counseling but seek revenge –throw acid in her face, you can even make a human torch out of her, you need to defend your honor man and we will back you up –you are the victim and she wears a veil that covers her face so we can hide our methods of peaceful honor defending. That is until she decides to lift her veil and show the world the horrific barbaric truth of what really goes on within the walls of the honorable religion of peace.

Warning the following photos are graphic and horrifying and real!

Story of Irum Saeed

Irum Saeed, 30, is a resident of Rawalpindi. She recalls how 12 years ago, when she was only 17, a boy, whose marriage proposal she had rejected, followed her to her college. The street he chose for the scene of crime was narrow, and Irum was unable to escape his hot pursuit of her. The rejected boy proceeded to throw a jug full of acid on her. As she turned to avoid this, he threw the remaining acid onto her back and shoulders, badly burning them. The photograph was taken at her office at the Urdu University of Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday, July 24, 2008. She has undergone plastic surgery 25 times to try to recover from her scars.

Story of Shameem Akhter

Shameem Akhter’s face was mutilated with acid when she was only 17. Now aged 20, she is still unable to comprehend how she fell victim to criminals, who kidnapped and raped her for revenge. Then they left her face mutilated, hoping her appearance would silence her forever and ensure that she would never marry. They have succeeded in destroying her life and much of her spirit. Shameem has undergone plastic surgery 10 times to try to repair from her scars.

 Story of Najaf Sultana

Najaf Sultana, now 16, of Lahore, was burned by her father at the age of five while she was sleeping, apparently because he didn’t want to have another girl in the family. The burning left Najaf blind. Abandoned by both her parents, she now lives with relatives. She has undergone plastic surgery around 15 times to try to repair her scars.

 Story of Shehnaz Usman

Shehnaz Usman, now 36, of Lahore was burned with acid by a relative due to a family dispute five years ago. She has undergone plastic surgery 10 times.

 
Story of Shahnaz Bibi

Shahnaz Bibi, now 35, of Lahore, was burned with acid ten years ago by a relative due to a family dispute. She has never undergone plastic surgery.

Story of Kanwal Kayum

Kanwal Kayum, now 26, of Lahore was burned with acid one year ago by a boy whom she rejected for marriage. She has never undergone plastic surgery.

 Story of Munira Asef

Munira Asef, now 23, of Lahore was burned with acid five years ago by a boy whom she rejected for marriage. She has undergone plastic surgery 7 times to try to heal her scars.

 Story of Bushra Shari

Bushra Shari, 39, of Lahore was burned with acid thrown by her husband five years ago because she wanted to divorce him. She has undergone plastic surgery 25 times.

 Story of Memuna Khan

Memuna Khan, 21, of Karachi was burned by a group of boys who threw acid on her to settle a dispute between their family and Menuna’s. She has undergone plastic surgery 21 times.

 Story of Zainab Bibi

Zainab Bibi, 17, of Islamabad was burned five years ago by throwing acid on her face a boy whom she rejected for marriage. She has undergone plastic surgery several times.

 Story of Naila Farhat

Naila Farhat, 19, of Islamabad was burned five years ago by throwing acid on her face by a boy for rejecting his marriage proposal. She has undergone plastic surgery several times.

The case of Naila Farhat was brought to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in November 2008 and received great publicity. The perpetrator was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay Rupees1.2 million in damages. This represented a landmark decisions in dealing with gender violence, but the judgment could hardly stem the menace of acid-throwing. This was also somewhat exceptional case in the landscape of acid attacks in Pakistan. In most cases, measures, if at all taken, are still disproportionately low as compared to the sufferings inflicted by the attacks.

 Story of Saira Liaqat

Saira Liaqat, 26, of Lahore was 15, when she was married to a relative. The families had agreed she would join him only after finishing school. But then he demanded her to live with him after the marriage and eventually attacked her with acid when his demand was not met. Saira has undergone plastic surgery 9 times.

 Story of Zubaida Khatoon

Zubaida Khatoon was burnt by her husband to resolve an argument. Her husband had made it a hobby of frequently marrying women from families to lower economic groups. When she discovered this, Zubaida protested his actions. He tried to settle the argument by setting her on fire after pouring kerosene on her. Raising an objection to his lechery was all needed for her to bear these scars.

 Story of Nasreen Sharif

Nasreen Sharif, 23, was once a beautiful girl. When she turned 14, her cousin poured a bottle of sulphuric acid on her face as she slept. His excuse was that he couldn’t stand other boys whistling at her (because of he beauty) when she crossed the street. She no longer bears any resemblance to that youthful beauty. “My skin melted and my hair burned away. I am now blind, I have no ears and I have no sense of smell”,
says Nasreen.

 Story of Parveen Akhtar

Parveen Akhtar, 38, from Jehlum found her life changed when her husband asked her for her written permission to allow him to remarry. Her refusal to it angered him and he tried to murder her by dousing her body with kerosene and setting it alight. He portrayed the incident as an accident and told people that he wanted to remarry because she cannot bear children.

 Story of Bashiran Bibi

Nearly 25 years ago, newly-married Bashiran Bibi (now 57), a resident of Sukheki, Pakistan, was pushed by her mother-in-law into a coal stove. The family proclaimed it to be an accident. Her husband blamed it on a fit of epilepsy that she suffers from. Resolved to her fate, Bashiran continues to live with her husband and in-laws and gave birth to 5 children after this “accident”. Whatever money is donated to Bashiran’s cause, her husband uses it for himself and doesn’t spend any on her treatment.

 Story of Mumtaz Bibi

Mumtaz Bibi, 39, from Khairpur, Pakistan, came under her husband’s wrath while trying to protect her daughters. Her offence was that she refused to let him selling off her girls, shielding them with her life. Because of her lack of compliance, her husband poured acid all over her body, then proceeded to divorce her.

 Story of Tasneem Shahzad

24-year-old Tasneem Shahzad’s story is repeated all too often. A girl, too poor to bring much demanded dowry, she bore the wrath of greedy in-laws. Tasneem’s ex-husband was an addict. It was left to her to support her own household as well as that of her extended family. Tasneem worked in several homes to support all those who depended on her. However, that was not pleasing enough for her greedy in-laws. One day, her clothes were set on fire by her rapacious in-laws and she suffered severe burns. They then proceeded to try and prove that the incident was an accident.

  Rays of Hope

Amidst this grim state of affairs for the unfortunate women of Pakistan, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is working to expose the extent of the gender-violence in Pakistan and the misogynist mindset behind it, which is spreading within the Pakistani Middle Class. The AHRC is working closely with acid-attack victims as part of its involvement for denouncing human rights violations across Asia. 

The Depilex Smileagain Foundation is another organization, which is working with victims of acid-attack to help them smile again, however impossible a task it may appear: they are trying to make impossible possible. In fact, DSF is working in partnership with the Italian NGO Smileagain Foundation that believes, “There is every possibility that these survivors can manage to live the rest of their lives with dignity, with some help.”

A team of Italian doctors, linked to Italian Smileagain Foundation, visit Pakistan every three months to conduct operations on those victims in an effort to give them back as normal a life as possible.

In September, 2008, the team visited Lahore where they carried out two operations and then proceeded to Multan, where surgeries were carried out in Bakhtawar Amin Memorial Trust Hospital. Some 60 patients were evaluated and 8 surgeries carried out.

The stories from Mutlan were strangely different. This is an area where people have property and the disputes often revolve around inheritance. Here wrath knows no gender. Whereas in other parts of the country it is often women who are burnt by acid or fires, here there are as many male victims as well. Those who have been working with Smileagain Foundation, say that what they have seen in Multan is very similar to what occurs in Bangladesh. Property encourages men to lead an idle life, it leads them to indulge in pursuits of personal pleasure, and when they see a chunk of their means of this blissful idle life slipping away, their greed turns them into violent criminals.

Undoubtedly, the life of misery and horror the victims of acid-attacks have to live on is hard to comprehend. While organizations like Smileagain Foundation works toward giving these devastated victims as dignified and normal a life as possible, let us hope that works of Human Rights groups, such as AHRC, of the media and civil-society groups help expose and discredit the Islam-motivated misogyny that is responsible for the malaise, which only can cure this problem and help restore women as a dignified and equal part of men in Pakistan and any other society

Hardy Girl’s Spark a change at Seventeen Magazine!

BettyJean Downing

Last year on The Majority United was honored to have a representative from Hardy Girls on TMU Radio to discuss their work on stopping the sexualization of girls. I am proud and please to bring you the following update about what they have achieved.

We have also had a former writer from Seventeen Audrey Brashich http://www.audreybrashich.com/

Author : All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty who left Seventeen to make a difference – serving on boards dedicated to fostering critical analysis of media messages, and consulted with national organizations such as Girls Inc. on their programming and policies for girls.

We are all exciting to read the following and look forward to continuing progress I the future. Please reach out to Seventeen and let them know that you approve of the change and by all means  support hardy Girls and the wonderful work they do.

If you don’t already have Audrey’s book – it is available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/All-Made-Up-Celebrity-Celebrate/dp/0802777449

The Next Feminist Movement is Girl-Powered

In our

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May e-news, we talked about the SPARKTeam’s activism, and Julia Bluhm’s Change.org petition, asking Seventeen magazine to commit to just one photoshop-free spread per month to celebrate real girls.  As a founding partner of SPARK, we are excited about how the SPARKTeam is taking action to end the sexualization of girls and women in the media.  While staging a mock photo shoot in front of Seventeen’s New York City headquarters, Julia was invited to speak directly to Seventeen‘s Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket about her concerns.  Julia hadn’t heard back from Seventeen, so she was left to think that while they had listened to her and the almost 86,000 people who signed her petition, they weren’t going to make any changes.

However, that assumption was proven wrong when the August issue of Seventeen magazine arrived on her doorstep.  In her Editor’s letter, Ann Shoket discussed their “Body Peace Treaty” where they pledged to “always feature real girls and models who are healthy” and to “be totally up-front about what goes into our photo shoots.” We believe that the activism of Julia, Izzy Labbe, and the entire SPARK team has brought the issue of the negative effects of the hyper-sexualization of girls and women to the public’s attention.

Read more on our blog, including a link to the story about SPARK that was on the front page of the Boston Globe on July 11, 2012.

Women, Leave GoDaddy Behind

The following post, Ditch GoDaddy, is from my blog that focuses on web development and internet issues.  The article focuses on GoDaddy’s terrible customer service.  However, GoDaddy has one of the most blantantly crass advertising campaigns I’ve seen.  They often use naked, or nearly naked women, as an incentive to visit, view, or make purchases from their website. Currently, a blog post from their owner posted on the site states, “Bob’s Latest:  The SECRETS to finding and hiring GREAT employees. + 2 Smoking-Hot Go Daddy Girls!”  While there are numerous reasons to leave GoDaddy, my opinion is that women have best reason of all to kick GoDaddy to the curb.

If you follow the buzz on the internet you probably know that GoDaddy has raised the ire of plenty of the internet’s faithful. Their latest and most damaging transgression is supporting “SOPA” a poorly written law opposing internet piracy. While opposing internet piracy is hardly a radical stance, GoDaddy was in position to know that the specific law drawn up would cause huge headaches and potential legal problems for many reputable internet sites. Godaddy eventually withdrew it support for this law when customers started leaving in protest.

This, however, isn’t GoDaddy’s only public relations blunder. The president of company trumpeting his ‘big game’ hunting, and a series of tasteless and trashy commercials have left many web professionals looking for an alternative. While they are the most well know domain name registrar they are also likely the most disliked as well.

Yet my complaint about Godaddy is due to their customer service and business practices. I strongly recommend looking for another registrar like Network Solutions or NameCheap, because GoDaddy misleads its customers and bleeds money from them through their dubious practices. The most recent example I encountered is of a client who purchased a domain and email service believing they had also signed up for a hosting account. Technically they could ‘host’ their domain at GoDaddy, but it was a severely limited plan that only allowed for a canned page to be ‘hosted’ at Godaddy, which left them without the actual service they needed.

My initial problem with GoDaddy is that I placed an order using their ‘speedy checkout’ option. This wasn’t a short cut through the order process like it sounds, it was a sneaky way to get customers to sign up for auto-renewal for particular products. Obviously I hold responsibility in this mistake, I should have read over the fine print. However, Godaddy has made a lot of money by misleading people into purchasing the wrong product.

They also hold your credit card number, and you can only check out if you agree to let them hold this information on file. For most online businesses, this is a voluntary choice, not a prerequisite to ordering. GoDaddy is the last company I trust to hold my credit card information, and I highly recommend not allowing them to store your information. At one time, GoDaddy was the only real cost effective choice for domain registration. That is no longer the case, and taking your businesses elsewhere to a company that will treat you fairly is a prudent and wise decision.


I have moved my business to NameCheap.com. I have nothing against Network Solutions, but NameCheap is more affordable and has a good domain management set up. SWITCH2NC is a coupon code you can use to get a dollar off each domain name transfer (effective early March – don’t know the expiration date.) There are other domain name registrars as well, these are just two of GoDaddy’s most prominent competitors. -Katherine Morrison

Father: “I realised something horrible today, my little girls are being diminished”

BettyJean Kling

Somehow I wandered into a gaming site where a father posted the following realization about what he is up against being the father of daughters in such a sexists climate as this. I also read the comments of other gamers who responded. I was curious  as to the amount of support he would get – it was mixed for the most part. 

I just had to post this man’s piece. I also had to post one idot’s reply. I say idiot because he was not even smart enough to realize he was one of the dummies he was recognizing and so opposed to exposing.

As long as I’ve politically aware, I’ve been broadly supportive of the aims of feminism without ever worrying myself about the details or indeed about the effects that feminists catalogue of discrimination on the lives of women. “This is bad”, I would think. “Something ought to be done”. But in terms of actually doing anything well, I left that to the feminists.

Since becoming a father to first one, then two, daughters, this perception has slowly changed. As I read “girls” books with them, or play “girls” toys with them or watch “girls” TV with them I have become aware, and saddened by the subtle way in which these things diminish the expectations and lives of little girls. There are few enough stories and stereotypes that feature females as the main characters. And when so many of them that are ostensibly about girls actually end up carrying the implicit message that what they should be worrying about is how their actions end up affecting the men in their lives, what hope is there for them to grow into strong, independent young women?

This makes me very sad. I’ve tried to treat it in a sensible fashion. Alongside the Disney things and traditional toys that they desire I do a little research and try to ensure that at least some of the things they get to play with have more central, adventurous female role models. Push it too far, start banning stuff, and you run the danger of bringing them up as social freaks or, worse, making them hate the messages that you’re trying to get them to take notice of.

As I’ve slowly grown into this realisation it’s struck me that more and more men who have daughters – especially those who, like me, have no sons to dilute their attention – must notice the same thing. It’s not like it requires a massive level of perception of intelligence to distil – it’s obvious once you, as a man, get exposed to all these “girls” things that you’d probably never otherwise notice or hear about. And so it made me wonder why it was that more and more middle-aged men aren’t, as a result, sticking up for at least the moderate sections of the feminist cause, aren’t helping the women to make a fuss about this stuff, get it noticed.

I was listening to the radio this morning, to a segment about stalkers who are almost inevitably men stalking, threatening, damaging both psychologically and physically, women, when the answer struck me. The reason is because a lot of fathers accept this stuff. They think it’s right and good and proper that their little girls grow up to be attendant to the needs and desires of men, and to put those needs and desire secondary to their own, believing that the men will handle things for them, and handle them better, just because they’re men.

That realisation has made me feel quite profoundly depressed.

Now for  a smart comment: Jorge Montero (hibikir)

There are movies presenting positive female role models for little girls, if younlook. I have no daughters, so I wonder instead about why there are so many men on TV that seem to be intellectually inadequate. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/734765/i-realised-something-horrible-today

My Comment: BettyJean Kling (The Majority United)

RE: There are movies presenting positive female role models for little girls, if younlook. I have no daughters, so I wonder instead about why there are so many men on TV that seem to be intellectually inadequate.

I am stunned with your comment. Obviously, you have missed the point of this piece completely. In fact even the writer should have provided the following visual demonstartional evidence for the viewers perusal.

I suggest you view the trailer known as MissRepresentation. It can be seen as a 3 or 8 minute video at the following link. Perhaps this will open your eyes to the point! http://vimeo.com/28066212.

If the link is not accepted here – google ‘video for MissRepresentation’ – every father of boys or girls needs to see it! Every teacher needs to make sure this is seens by young people. Get it in your colleges, Libraries and high Schools.

‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ and sexualizing 3-year-olds

BettyJean Downing Kling

After 35+ years pushing my “Sexualizing America” thesis- it is good to see others finally calling it by the same name and realizing we must do something about this! To read more about my lifelong work simply put the words “Sexualizing America” in my search and you will find a miriad of articles I have run year after year on this subject.

Meanwhile – I would love to give a shout-out to CNN and Melissa Henson for  the information below.
Please sign their petition! http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/action/T&T/main.asp

By Melissa Henson, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Melissa Henson is the director of communications and public education for the Parents Television Council, a nonpartisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. Watch Henson on CNN’s “Newsroom” live at 2:40 p.m. ET Tuesday.

(CNN) — TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” has been mired in controversy since it debuted in 2009, and much of the distaste for the series stemmed from concerns about whether we were feeding the stage mothers’ desire for attention, or about the insensitivity in taping and televising children in the middle of a meltdown or temper tantrum. But whether you think child beauty pageants are just a chance for little girls to play dress-up, or a training ground for superficial, self-centered princesses in the making, everyone should agree that sexualizing a 3-year-old little girl is wrong.

In what was likely a misguided effort to gin up publicity and ratings for the show, TLC released footage of a 3-year-old contestant dressed as the prostitute played by Julia Roberts in the 1990 film “Pretty Woman.” This stupidity came just one week after TLC — still known to many as The Learning Channel — was forced to pull its Facebook page because of the deluge of negative comments over an episode that featured a little girl dressed up to look like Dolly Parton, complete with padded bust and buttocks.

READ MORE: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/12/opinion/henson-toddlers-tiaras/index.html

PETITION: http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/action/T&T/main.asp

Facebook: promoting sexual violence and rape as if it is a first amendment right!

Please sign a petition asking Facebook to remove pages that promote sexual violence. This is not free speech – it is gratuitous violence

Tell Facebook to take down pages that promote violence against women.

The following are actual pages on Facebook:

  • “Raping your mates girlfriend to see if she can put up a fight”
  • “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina”
  • “I know a silly little bitch that needs a good slap”
  • “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you don’t want to wake her up.”

http://www.change.org/petitions/demand-facebook-remove-pages-that-promote-sexual-violence?utm_medium=email&alert_id=cBnfZkvgtZ_hRwAOhvLhi&utm_source=action_alert

Tell Facebook to take down pages that promote violence against women.

Willingly falling into second place and believing it is their choice

“It’s Me Louise”

A proud Female is one who is strong and is always in control of her own body. She may be a feminist, a wife, a mother or she may remain single. Whatever she chooses to do with her life or how she chooses to share her time or affections, she is a complete and honorable person who deserving full respect.

She may enjoy sexual intercourse or not. It should be her decision to accept or reject sexual advances, however at not time should she be forced into having unprotected sex. A first-rate man who respects a women would be prepared with “condoms” both for his protection against  sexually transmitted diseases and to prevent unwanted pregnancy rather than relying on the female for the entire responsibility of birth control. Unprotected sex is exclusively for couples who are planning to create life and are both prepared to have a baby!

Any man that claims he does not like to use condoms is a low life that has no respect for a female or for the potential child resulting from his action. He is also someone who would rather drop his easily discarded slime into a woman’s body using use her as his toilet!

Females, wake up, you are not a toilet! Why would you ever allow yourselves to become a receptacle for excess male sperm or why stand for someone you love to use you and treat you as a toilet? You deserve better than having to clean up his slime left in your body. Insist he use condoms and clean up his own residue.

Women have always intrinsically known that they were equal beings and should be independent but never before has woman had more opportunity to fight for their rights, equality, freedom, representation and to hold the highest offices. Yet with all this opportunity, so many still subject them selves to being sex objects and sperm receptacles for men’s pleasure buying the notion that anything less is a sign of sexual repression. Willingly falling into second place and believing it is their choice rather than the result of brainwashing to submit to one of the two options offered women. Neither subordinate wife or unrepressed sperm receptacle is a totally free first class citizen of the same stature man is !

If our Great Grandmothers could risk life and death fighting for the vote 200 years ago and if they could reason that women should be the only ones to determine their own destiny – surely today’s women should be equally as perceptive.

 “I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.” Susan B. Anthony 1875