Why Are Women Verbally Abused?

Issue 8 | شمارہ ۸

NAHEED_Ghost Nation III3

Ghost Nation | Artist: Murad Khan Mumtaz

A woman who gets angry cannot pick up her shoe to throw it.

She is taught that husbands and wives must respect each other. That’s why she cannot use profanity in the same way as men, with their gutter-mouthed swear words that always exceeds anything she could possible say. Even if she so desires, how can she possibly use any profane language? Every single cuss word humiliates mothers and sisters. Am I, as a woman, meant to cuss at myself?


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At a basic social and psychological level, this male attitude of disrespecting and denigrating women is a common attitude in our society. The situation in Western societies is not too different. Disrespectful and pejorative terms to address women abound in these societies as well. There are hardly any cuss words that abuse and mock men.

In the Subcontinent, all the swearwords, from A to Z, are associated with women. In fact, this is not only limited to swearwords–most of the idioms and metaphors are also designed to humiliate women. Woman is the sole of the shoe. Her brain is smaller. She is devious. She cannot keep secrets. She is weak. She is always spreading rumors and inciting conflict. She loves her jewelry more than she loves her man. She is an infidel. She is foul-mouthed. Her testimony is worth half of that of a man.

To maintain a balance in society friendships between women and men, mutual respect and dignity, and a healthy exchange of ideas constitute the essence of the best of human values. The exchange of verbal abuse between women and men is in direct contradiction with humanity itself.


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In many families, children are taught swearwords in a way that impacts their psychology. They lose the ability to respect their elders as a result. Mothers, women who must be given the utmost respect, are spoken to with disrespect, and for some reason, this is considered a sign of masculinity. The same tone is adopted with friends as well. This is when a form of barbarism takes over. At the societal level, all non-living things are gendered as feminine and living things as masculine.

At the moment, this is how respected and well-mannered ladies and gentlemen of society are created.

Kishwer Naheed is a feminist Urdu poet, writer and public intellectual. She is a recipient of the Sitar-e-Imtiaz, or the Star of Excellence–one of the highest civilian awards in Pakistan–for her literary contribution to Urdu literature.

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One Response to Why Are Women Verbally Abused?

  1. Naila on Mar 2015 at 2:48 AM

    An excellent work..keep it up girls

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