According to estimates - as many as 70 percent of women in Pakistan experience domestic violence. This violence can range from beatings, to sexual violence or torture, to broken bones and very serious injury caused by pouring of acid or burning the victim alive.
The victims of these abuses are trapped in a society where beatings from a male family member are acceptable and where independence and divorce are taboo. Often, these victims are trapped in a vicious cycle whereby they are abused twice over – once by their spouses and then by the very people they turn to for help – including policemen, judges and even mullahs (religious persons).
In many instances, violence against a woman is used as a tool by the abuser to drive the victim to commit suicide. In other instances, accidents are engineered – typically by the tampering of a kitchen stove and its resulting explosion when used – to cause a victims death. In some cases, petrol is pored over the victim and she is set ablaze, claimed to be yet another accident or suicide with plenty of family members ready to vouch as witnesses. These murders are committed usually when differences occur between the victim and her husband or his family – typically when the husband and his family feel that the dowry and gifts given with the girl during marriage were insufficient, if the husband wished to marry again and even if he and his family expected an inheritance from the death of his wife.