She was living in a Welfare Trust centre, the care-taker told us that they had all the facilities. They organized different events to keep them happy, they had different activities to keep them busy, they gave them pay so that they could feel comfortable and independent. They were dressed beautifully, irrespective of facilities and good behavior their priority was home. They all were waiting for a call from their loved ones.
Some had one room, some had two rooms and all of them had homes smaller than the place they had been residing than right now. None of them talked about the things that happened at home. They talked about their parents, siblings, spouse and children. They talked about relations. One was telling a story about when her children called her psycho and she had to leave home. One was depressed because her husband was a drug addict and it was tough living in a violent atmosphere. One was living with her brothers and they left her when they got married. One was divorced and she was badly missing her son. One was living there because her father had three daughters and he refused to take on the responsibility. They all belonged to poor families. There are a lot of cases when women are divorced, they have daughters, and their siblings don’t support them. But I am talking about women who are not empowered. They have been taught that you always need a man to live your life with dignity and honor and obey him even if he is wrong. She is responsible for her children’s training, managing home, respect family members and follow family norms. So the only thing she owns is her home and the relations. When these relations refuse to accept her she has no reason to live.
A woman’s heaven is her home. She decorates it and wants to live in it forever with her beautiful relations. You can give a woman wealth and facilities but she only needs love and respect. She needs her family where she can smile, laugh, cry and forget without any regret. She maybe deranged but she is your mother, she is divorced but she is your sister, she committed a mistake but she is your daughter. Accept her, forgive her and most importantly respect her. Women should be empowered so that they can live independently. Women should know their importance and remember that old people’s homes and welfare trust centers are not for women. They deserve a much better place in society.
I wrote this piece keeping in mind the scenario of Pakistan. Women of Pakistan are empowered but we cannot neglect a large ratio of women facing domestic violence, illiteracy, male dominance and poverty. Challenges faced by women of Waziristan during army operation, women of Thar during famine and women of Punjab during flood cannot be neglected.
By: Aisha Mushtaq