Pakistani Women Protest Bill To Allow Husband’s To Beat Wives ‘Lightly’ With #trybeatingmelightly Campaign
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a constitutional body that advises the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, recently proposed a bill that would allow men to “lightly beat” defying wives for offenses like refusing sex, not dressing as her husband wishes or not bathing after sex or menstruation.
The 163-page bill was compromised by a panel of men as the only female member of the CII was absent during its creation.
The Bill was in response to the Punjab Assembly Protection of Women against Violence Act of 2015. While the act passed in March and is set to give unprecedented legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence the CII rejected it, deeming it “un-Islamic.”
Women have reacted with outrage sparking a trend on social media under the tag #trybeatingmelightly.
Photographer Fahhad Rajper created a photo series of 12 Pakistani women’s reaction to the bill (one pictured above). The quotes consisted of warnings to men that plan to beat women, including statements such as “I’ll become the destruction you will never forsee.”
Other reactions included Muniba Mazarin, the UN’s first woman Goodwill Ambassador to Pakistan, posting on Facebook an image of a billboard that states “Prophet Muhammad never hit women.” The image received over 16,000 Likes and 2,000 shares within 20 hours.
Mualana Muhammad Khan Shoran, the chairman of the CII, defended the proposal after a press briefing at Islamabad, saying, “Do not try to relate our proposal with violence. Light beating does not mean violence.”
Shoran believes “the issue has been blown totally out of proportion” and states the bill implied one should beat his wife “with light things like a handkerchief, hat, or a turban,” and “not serious stuff.”
The Punjab Assembly did not pass the proposal having female members note that it differed from existing Punjabi law.
Raheela Khadim, chair of the Punjab Assembly’s standing committee on gender, calls into question the legitimacy given to the group. “We are talking about holding wife beaters accountable and they are proposing something in complete contrast,” he said, referring to the CII’s lack of support for laws made to protect women.