Merwoman's Blog

I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.


Corbett, Oregon, US
June 15
Hippie Chick
OS #2421
I'm a 40-something therapist living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I'm also the chief critter-wrangler in a household that currently includes Abby the Border Collie, Collin the Aussie, Chance the Persian, Lizzie the Tortie, Mouse the Manx mix, and Jeffrey the husband. >^..^< I've been described as a bleeding heart liberal hippie do-gooder. Probably a pretty accurate description. :)


Merwoman's Links

DECEMBER 3, 2008 1:35AM

UPDATED: Call to Action: Fight Violence Against Women

Rate: 25 Flag



 A much easier way to make donations, if you care to, is to go through PayPal. If you have a PayPal account, just log onto PayPal; click on the "Send Money" button; and direct the payment to email address . I did this and it worked beautifully. Much handier than having to figure out postage to Pakistan. 

 BTW, per capita income in Pakistan is estimated to be around $900 US. Compare that to US per capita income of around $47,000, and you can see how even a small (by our terms) donation can do a lot more good than we would expect in our country. 

 The Biden-Lugar Bill mentioned below has been in committee in the Senate since Oct '07, and in the House since April '08. It's hard to lobby your congress-critters if the bill's not actually up for a vote! I've emailed Biden's office and asked if they have any information on when/whether the bill will be released from committee for a general vote. If I hear anything back, I'll be sure to pass it on.

This picture is from a trial in which the woman's female lawyers are staring down the husband's defense lawyer, who is trying to make the argument that the wife was an immoral person and therefore deserved to have her eyes gouged out and her nose, ears, and tongue cut off. Their contempt for this argument is palpable. The victim's prosecution of her husband was successful, an unfortunately rare outcome. 


Zahida Perveen stands with female lawyers at her side while the defense attorney accuses her of being

 Source: Progressive Women’s Association.


(Please rate and/or comment to keep this post on the feed. The more people who read it, the more people might decide to take action. Thank you!)

Nicholas Kristof's column in today's New York Times,  Terrorism That's Personal, delves into the practice of men, usually husbands, using acid to ruin a woman's appearance and life. He makes it clear that this is not an uncommon occurrence; nor is it a new practice.

 Kristof cites statistics gathered by Shahnaz Bukhari, the founder of the Progressive Women’s Association. In 14 years, she has tallied 7,800 cases in the Islamabad area alone, of women who have been deliberately burned by fire, scalding, or acid. That is an average of nearly 560 women per year. Only 2% of these attacks have resulted in a conviction. That translates to 156 women--out of 7800--whose attackers have been charged, tried, and convicted.

Why is this number so low? 

The short answer is, women are seen in this region as property, as chattel. Their men--fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, husbands, sons--are the overseers of their women, and have the right to adminster punishment as they see fit. Sometimes other women get into it, too--their are documented cases of mothers-in-law, especially in India, attacking their sons' wives--but it is primarily the domain of the men.

This leads society--including the courts--to place little importance on prosecuting a man for injuring, or even killing, a female in his family. He is generally considered well within his rights.

When a woman is seen as property, her only real worth is what she can provide to her husband, including dowry, sex, children. If she is left by her husband, whether divorced or abandoned; especially in a country where her movements are heavily restricted unless she has a male to escort her; her only chance for a "good life" involves marrying someone else. The chances of this happening are almost nil if her face has been disfigured.

This graphic video shows the difficulty and horror these women face if they survive such an attack. 

 And what happens to the women who do survive? 

The woman who is the focus of this article, Naeema Azar, was a successful real estate agent prior to being attacked by her ex-husband. The attack left her blind and terribly disfigured.


(Source: NYT)

She cannot close her eyes or her lips. She refuses to eat in front of other people because food falls out of her mouth. She cannot work, and survives on the charity of friends, and support of the Progressive Women’s Association. She does not go out in public unless she is completely covered, because she doesn't want to horrify people. She is cared for by her 12 y.o. son.


(Source: NYT)

The association is trying to raise funds for a surgery that could restore vision in one of her eyes. Her ex-husband has never been prosecuted; the association is also raising funds to hire a lawyer to pressure the government to find and prosecute him.

What can you do? 

 You can lobby your Congresspersons to vote for the Biden-Lugar International Violence Against Women Act. This act is designed to highlight such violence, and put pressure on foreign governments to take action. 

 More directly and immediately, you can provide financial support to the Progressive Women’s Association. This organization is working to fight all areas of violent crimes against women. 

I am donating today. I urge you to do the same. 




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Men need to understand that their wife, girlfriend or family is not their property. Men need to stop being insecure bastards who love to prey on who they believe are "weak".

Men need to stop using marriage and religion as an excuse to abuse. The abuse must stop; keep publishing these blog entries to let the world know of the oppression against women.
Thanks for stopping by and bumping the feed, Grus. I couldn't agree with you more--but I suppose that's obvious from the post, yes? :)
What a horrific story and the pictures confirm this. Thanks for your passion and all the information on how each one of us can make a difference. You're awesome!
feed bump-
(I'm part of the choir)
Men? The organisms who perpetrate this kind of horror are not men. Nor human.
I have no words to respond to this horror...
Just as sickening the second time. How can anyone be so cruel?
It's just barbaric and heart-wrenching. Brutality, whether it be rape, disfigurement and death must be stopped. These barbarians do not deserve to live.

Thanks for the post.
These cowardly men are hiding behind cultural and religious traditions to justify cruelty. What is equally disturbing is that it's so pervasive they cannot be prosecuted. Thank you for raising awareness.

I was going to post today on the legacy of the Bush-Cheney administration that makes it possible now to openly contract for "honor killings" on the streets of Basra today for as little as $100. The incidence of "honor killings" is Basra is up over 100% between 2007 and 2008, and the prosecution/conviction rate for this crime is around 6%.

Instead of possibly distracting people with my own post, I think it's better to call attention to this one and ask everyone who reads it to contact their congress person and donate.

I am Broke As F*ck™ but I will donate to this cause anyway. Props to you, merwoman for a brave and valuable post.
You guys rock! Thank you all so much for your comments. I know in large part I *am* preaching to the choir here--this is a mostly progressive site, after all--but I was so shocked, disgusted, and saddened by the statistics and the stories that I felt like I had to do *something.* Donating is not the same as being there and helping those women, but it's the next best thing when you can't pick up and go to Pakistan. I see it as putting my money where my mouth is. For my part over here, I work with victims of violence in my practice. They are some of my favorite clients.
Lonnie, if you want to post as well, go right ahead. It can only continue to spread the word. You can always link to the PWA, or to this blog, for anyone who wants more information... (is that blog whoring? :) I think it's important for people to find out how far-reaching this practice is--that this is not limited to one country, one culture, or one religion.

I'm a firm believer in reaching as many people as possible, and another blog by you would help to do that. Go for it, man!
Your tags say it all. Thank you for knowing The Right Thing To Do and urging all to step up and do it too.

Rated and donated.
Thank you, Sally, for stopping by, and especially for the donation. Wouldn't it be just wonderful if there was a flood of donations from OSers--if we actually make a difference? Even if we only help one more woman, that is a success, I believe.
Thanks for bringing this horrific issue front and center, merwoman. I will be donating and writing to my congresswoman about this.
Lisa, thank you so much for donating!

I love this place. I really, really do. Y'all are good people. :)
Thanks for the reminder to rate this post. I didn't comment the first time I read it, because really, what is there to say?Words fail me against this horror. Thankfully, they did not fail you.
Excellent post!
Bumped and rated.
m. a.h. and Krissi, thank you so much for your comments! It is a horror, and I just keep thinking that if even 5% of the people who read about this do something, how much help would that give them!
L&P, thanks so much for reading and donating!
Great post!
US support for human rights could help women all over the world!
Good work!!!
merwoman, Thank you for this wonderful post and all the information. This violence against women in other countries and the US needs to be stopped. The cowards that cause so much pain, damages physically and emotionally should be prosecuted. The punishments are never strong enough for the damages they caused.
I have feature a post reguarding the violence against women and children in the US and other countrie(shattering the glass houses) to wake the world to this crime. I should have used pictures also(might go change that). And a two trues stories and one poem. Don't mean blogwhore and I am sorry, but this a subject that I am also willing to fight for the laws to be changed. I didn't post the ture stories to get symphany I told them because I think and feel if I brought my own stories out the world could hear and see, also that maybe one woman out there in the same place will read it and take a stand for her life. I will do anything to help make a stand against violence against women and children. The stories of my own experience are "Guardian Angel On Earth", Fairytale to Nightmares", Daddy's Little Angel"( the poem). Again sorry for blogwhore.

Thank you very much for this post. Great Job wording it all
O'Steph, thanks for including me in your picks!

fireeyes24, I don't mind at all. If someone follows the links and finds out something they didn't know before, then it's all good. I will certainly head on over to your blog this weekend and check it out. Thanks for stopping and commenting.
merwoman, Thank you for not being mad for me blogwhoring on your post. SMILES!
It is a subject that I am ready to fight and I can tell even more stories. (more posts in future).
I appreciate all your efforts in the fight against violence against women. There has be something we can do.