Proposed Domestic Violence Bill in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Will Also Address Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Among Transgender Women

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a devastating and sometimes deadly problem facing transgender women while domestic violence affects people with any gender identity, the transgender women can find themselves at especially high risk. Certain unique factors may play into this high risk. For example, transgender women might have been rejected by their families or subjected to emotional abuse as children and teens. Early trauma may make them more likely to experience domestic violence later in life, and make them less likely to have family members they can turn to for support.

Transgender women survivors of intimate partner violence face pervasive and unique barriers to support but know there is hope as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on Status of Women (KPCSW) has also included the transgender women in the definition of aggrieved persons in the upcoming KP Domestic violence (Prevention and Response) Bill 2017 to be tabled soon in the assembly.

Neelam Toru Chairperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on Status of Women (KPCSW) said “Domestic violence affects all populations, but the transgender woman is victimized at higher rates than the general. Many transgender women have been subjected to abuse from a young age. They may have been rejected by their family for their gender identity, been subjected to emotional abuse because of who they are, or been told that who they are is not acceptable. This baseline of discrimination and violence is something that can increase the risk of trauma later in life. Discrimination and oppression against transgender women often leads to homelessness and lack of family support. They are also disproportionately singled out for police violence as much as three times as often as the general population”. We have proposed to add transgender women in the proposed domestic violence bill because we don’t want anybody to be left behind and without any help’ she added.

Farzana Jan president of the TransActoin Alliance Says “Transgender women experience discrimination when they seek help in escaping domestic violence. “Shelters are often divided by gender, and there have been a lot of transgender women who experience being turned away from any services because they don’t have legal documentation that says they’re female,”

Qamar Naseem Program Coordinator Blue Veins welcomes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on Status of Women (KPCSW). He said “Transgender women face increased risk of violence because of their gender identity and transphobia within intimate partnerships because domestic violence is rooted in power, control, and in many situations, reinforcing gender norms within a relationship, transgender women because of their lack of gender conformity, are particularly vulnerable to abuse”.

According to the bill in the charges against domestic violence the law suggests imprisonment  up to five years and fine up to one hundred thousand rupees. While in charges of Harassment, Sexual abuse or Economic Abuse Imprisonment up to six months and fine up to fifty thousand Rupees in addition to the punishment provided by another law when applicable

Transgender women across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province has appreciated and welcomed the decision of KPCSW. The transgender women activists have expressed that Transgender survivors of domestic violence often choose not to report the abuse due to a number of factors, including a fear of compromising the privacy and safety interests if one is “outed,” denying access to medical treatment or endangering one’s legal status if they are an undocumented immigrant, and a fear of the institutionalized transphobia within police and the judicial system.

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