International Day of the Girl Child – to Fight Challenges

#dayofthegirl: In the Line – To Challenge Violence

11 October is recognized as the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC). The day is observed to promote the rights that young girls deserve and to help them fight the challenges they are facing. You can check the details here. 

You can also check this for some picture and more stories. 

I have written a post on International Women’s Day , you can check it here.
Today I want to share the story of a girl who was a victim of domestic violence, illiteracy and poverty but was strong enough to fight against them and was struggling to get her right of education.

I visited the hospital where my mother was working during my holidays. My mother went to examine some patients in the ward and asked me to accompany her. She wanted me to meet Mona and asked me to give her some comfort by talking to her. I was wondering what my mother wants to do, how I will talk to a stranger. When I reached at last bed, my mother introduced me to a beautiful girl, Mona. She was lying on the hospital bed, with broken arm, injured foot, few bandages on her face and with stitches on her forehead. I was shocked to see her condition. Her beautiful eyes which were full of tears and disappointment were telling her story.

I was very sad to see her condition and I could not control my tears that rushed out of my eyes rolling down my cheeks. My mother pressed my hand to tell what I was doing. I was completely lost in her beautiful sparkling eyes and I could see immense pain and fear on her face. Emotions of anger, anxiety and depression rushed into me. I was able to notice her discomfort clearly. My mother told me what happened to her and then she held Mona’s hand and exclaimed that she is a brave woman and she will fight her pain with courage and told her that time is the best healer . 

She started sharing with me about her life. I came to know that Mona was just 14 years
old when she was married to a 36 years old cousin. Her parents were unable to  bear her expenses for life and thought it is better to marry her and just get rid of her. She was managing a one room mud house and was working on newly constructed road with her husband to eat at most two times a day. She has reached hospital in critical condition after her husband beat her for not giving him money to waste on drugs. It was not first time she was beaten by her husband but this was severe than all attacks. I was feeling very sad for her pains and the situation she faced in young age.  

The meeting time was over in the hospital and I had to leave though I didn’t want to leave her. When I was about to leave, Mona tried to put her hand under her pillow to pull out something and I jumped in to help her. I managed to take out some torn papers from a Urdu language book. I laughed and asked her from where did she get that. She replied that she found them in the garbage that she collected few months ago. I asked her if she can read and she started looking at page and read few lines and I was surprised and I asked from her,” From where did you learn to read?”. She replied that she was working as a maid for a lady, where she had to wash clothes and clean home. The lady who employed her was kind enough to teach Mona how to read. She said, “I know all this book” and asked if I can give her next level book. I promised to do so and the next day I went with the book and a note book. The joy that I noticed on her face cannot be expressed in words. She started crying after getting her new book.  

We have many such incidents happening around us in our society where some are severely injured requiring treatment in hospital and some victims just hide and feel it is better to stay at home until the wounds of physical torture are gone. Some men in our society feel that it is their birth right to physically attack women who are under their control.

 I hope these scars of Mona will not ruin her life and she will return to normal life soon. I stayed with her for few hours and she told me a lot about her dreams, her ambitions with enthusiasm. Though she tried to put a smile on her face, I could sense how deeply she was hurt inside. I was hoping that these violent attacks  will not ruin her trust on people, her confidence and chances for normal life.

What is the root cause behind such violent eruptions from male in our society? I believe that lack of basic needs of life creates unrest in male and they express their frustration over their poverty, illiteracy and failure to the easiest target – female.

Mona was only 16 and had 12 brothers and sisters. She was married to a cousin whose story was not different at all. He too came from same poor background living below the poverty line.

I consider it worth mentioning that the study of Islam reveals the fact that Islam started during the time of ignorance where girls were buried alive after their birth. Islam stood for women’s rights and Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) told that violence against women is crime against humanity and big sin. Men are supposed to protect women, not beat or torture her. 

Dr. Bilal Philips has mentioned on his Facebook page,” The rights given to women by Islam in the 7th century were unparalleled anywhere else in the world at that time. The rights were earth shaking. Many of those rights were not given to women in western countries until the 20th century, 1400 years later.” 

All of us are familiar with domestic violence and throughout the world many women are coming out against such violent attacks against them.  All such violent physical attacks must be stopped. Government need to spend more on free education, and provide basic necessities and jobs to ease the suffering of the poor people. It must ensure equality in society and give opportunity to all to live a life they long for and be the one they want to be. We as an individual can inspire people to raise voice against injustice, and we have to play our role to empower girls like Mona to end child marriage, child labor and  violence against them. Religious scholars should repeatedly give lectures on importance of protecting women in Islam and should emphasize on education and teach values of respect and humanity.

I deem it worth mentioning that on this specific day Nobel Peace Prize was grated to Malala Yousafzai & Kailash Satyarthi who are working for the rights of children and girls. You can check the details here.

Whenever you see such violent attacks and stories of domestic violence and oppression from any part of the world, you must understand that Islam do not teach this at all. Islam is religion of mercy. The people who do so have NO knowledge of Islam. Such Black Sheep are present in every religion and society. 

I came across a website suggesting the ways to STOP Domestic Violence.

You can take these steps to help girl child grow and fight the challenges.

I hope you will share this post to stand with many women in the world who are facing such violence against them.