Sometimes one is left completely speechless. And I was upon seeing this picture in the Daily Times (21 April) of a man beating his wife as their son looks on.
But the real story here is about a society that chooses to loose its speech and prefers to remain silent in the face of a wide scale menace of acute domestic violence and spousal (and familial) abuse of women.
This is not something that is restricted only to the poorest classes. Although it is often hidden behind ‘sufaid poshi’ such violence against women is more common in our society than most of us would care to accept. Remember, for example, the case of former Pakistan cricket captain Moin Khan who was taken in custody after beating his wife while drunk.
I wonder what the child in this photograph will grow up thinking. I wonder how many children have grown up witnessing such scenes. I wonder what such emotional scars have done to them.
It is indeed true that such incidents of violence happen all over the world. There is no evidence at all that they happen more in Pakistan than elsewhere. In terms of reported cases they may be even less. But that is not the point. This is not a competition.
Saying that it happens everywhere or that it happens even more in other places is neither an excuse nor a consolation. One case would, in my opinion, be one too many. And there are clearly much more than one. As Pakistanis – no, as human beings – we must speak against such violence everywhere; but, first within our own society.