Scarred for life: The impact of the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act of 2010 on addressing violence against women in Pakistan
Authorvon Werlhof, Emily
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This article uses the Pakistani Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act of 2010 (Act of 2010) as an example to discuss the use of ad hoc legislation on issues of violence against women in Pakistan. From 2008 to 2011, the Aurat Foundation reported that 158 acid attacks occurred in Pakistan. While one remedy for the victims of acid attacks may be to see their attackers punished, a lasting remedy would be to ensure this type of horrific attack does not happen to anyone else. This article examines the effect of the Act of 2010 on addressing acid attacks as well as its place in the effort to curb violence against women in Pakistan. The danger of legislation in response to specific crime, such as the Act of 2010, is that even if the legislation's goal of prevention is realized, it serves only a small percentage of victims of violence against women by addressing a single type of attack. Since ad hoc legislation may lack sufficient development or comprehensiveness to handle the issue, the legislation can fail those it is intended to serve, thereby losing an opportunity to address problems that contribute to violence against women overall. This article argues that, despite its good intentions and limited success, the Act of 2010 falls short of its preventative goal by relying on deterrence, which does not address the range of factors that feed violence against women and which also creates barriers for women who try to pursue justice. Thus, the Act of 2010 falls short of adequately protecting victims of acid attacks and, perhaps more important, misses the chance to effectuate broad-based systemic change that would benefit all women. Therefore, a more comprehensive bill, tailored with barriers to addressing violence against women in mind, should be passed.
- 2013 - Volume 2013 - Issue 4 [5 items ]