Millions of women in Pakistan are reminded everyday that it is an unsafe world for them. However for a lot of women in Pakistan, nothing is more dangerous and violent than the physical and mental torture they suffer within their domestic familial contexts. Just a day ago, news surfaced of a woman who was electrocuted to death by her husband and his family. In the past six months, nineteen women have been abused to death by their in-laws. At least 192 cases of torture have been reported. While violent misogyny is ubiquitous around the world, Pakistani patriarchy is horrifyingly embedded within the legal and cultural norms. Domestic violence against women is perhaps the most disturbing, as it stems from family, communal life, and all that a woman holds as familiar. Also read: Fighting intolerance There have been many attempts to understand and alleviate the victimization of women. However what is missing is a comprehensive strategy to address patriarchy. We speak too often of the sisters, daughters and wives but not enough of the brothers, fathers and husbands who condone this violence; in the name of honour and righteousness. Despite popular assumptions, violence against women is a classless phenomenon that pervades through all stratas of society. While ignorance, and illiteracy are often cited as reasons for these atrocities, there is something inherently arrogant and aggressive about men’s belief that they are superior, and subsequently ‘own’ the women around them. The overwhelming backlash against the Violence Against Women’s Act, 2011, in Punjab displayed the extent of the problem. What religious bigots scuffled to protect with the ‘light beating’ compromise was to condone violence against women. In the past decade, legislative changes have favoured women but their implementation is sketchy. We need more robust laws and implementation frameworks at the national and provincial levels. Ironically, every mainstream political party in Pakistan promises the protection of women’s rights. However when Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) tried to pass anti-violence laws, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) opposed it in 2007. When Pakistan Muslim League N (PMLN) came to power and attempted to pass such legislation, it again faced serious opposition. We hope that the next five years bring systematic justice in the shape of legal safeguards, and ideological refurbishment at the socio-cultural level so that Pakistani women get a better deal from the state and the society. Women’s rights are simply non-negotiable. * Published in Daily Times, August 3rd 2018.