SARGODHA - Violence against women has been assuming pandemic proportions, which warrants zero tolerance policy to check sexual harassment and domestic violence against women. Special measures must be taken to empower women as social and economic development cannot be attained without empowering half portion of the population.

This was the crux of speeches made at a daylong seminar titled “End of Violence against Women and Girls” arranged by the Department of Sociology and Criminology, Sargodha University in collaboration with the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW).

The seminar aimed at raising awareness about women and girls who are subjected to sexual abuse, domestic violence and other forms of violence while highlighting the role of women in economic and social development of the country.

Prominent among the speakers were PCSW Divisional Coordinator Talawat Hussain, Social Worker Rukhsana Bhatti, Women Sub-Inspector Anam Sarfraz and Assistant Professor Sociology Asma Younas. A large number of students and faculty members attended the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Talawat Hussain stated that women comprised 52 percent of the country’s total population and they must be provided with equal rights, opportunities and facilities so that they could play their effective role in the development of Pakistan.

He briefed the seminar that PCSW is making legislation pertaining to legal counselling of the victims and cyber harassment to safeguard rights of women and to empower them by building their confidence and helping them in overcoming inferiority complex.

Sub-Inspector Anam was of the view that there is a dire need to encourage the domestic violence and sexual harassment victims to report the incidents as most of them do not opt to do so. She informed that in last eight months, 761 cases of sexual harassment, domestic violence and honour killing have been registered in Punjab which show that the violence against women has been escalating to pandemic proportions.

It may be added here that the seminar was a part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign marked internationally every year from 25 November to 10 December to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.