Violence against women is the most serious violation of human rights in Pakistan and all around the world. Occurring in private and public places, it has multiple forms, ranging from domestic violence to sexual harassment and trafficking, assault, and gender-related killing. According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2018, 22% of ever-married women (16-48 years) report having experienced physical violence, 26% reported emotional violence, and 5% sexual violence from husbands or intimate partners.

In Pakistan, a series of laws, including the Domestic Violence Bill of 2009, Acid Crime Prevention Act of 2010, and Anti-Harassment Act of 2010, protect women from domestic abuse, acid attacks, workplace harassment, and cultural discrimination ensuring legal recourse and support for victims while promoting gender equality and safety. Also, some apps were recently launched to protect Pakistani women from violence and ensure their safety. In this thorough article, our Tashheer research team compiled a detailed guide on how women’s safety apps help in different ways in Pakistan. Also read about How to File a Complaint Against Cyber Crime in Pakistan.

The Impact of Women Safety Apps in Pakistan: A Step Towards Empowering Women
The Impact of Women Safety Apps in Pakistan: A Step Towards Empowering Women

Women in Pakistan mostly face violence by being forced into marriage, domestic violence, workplace harassment, gender-based violence, and honor killings. Here are some women’s safety issues in Pakistan that are regarded as a key hurdle to women’s empowerment, listed as

Domestic violence is an endemic public health and social problem in Pakistan. According to a study conducted by Human Rights Watch, it is valued that between 11 and 20% of women in Pakistan have experienced some form of abuse. Women have reported attacks ranging from physical to psychological and sexual abuse from intimate partners. Every year thousand of cases are reported in hospitals in Pakistan related to domestic violence. According to a survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Pakistan is ranked as the sixth most dangerous country for women, with India being ranked as the 1st most dangerous country. Plus, Marital rape is a common type of spousal abuse and is Illegal in Pakistan.

In Pakistan, Christian and Hindu girls are kidnapped or forcibly converted to Islam and sometimes forced to marry Muslim men. Approximately 1,200 non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan annually. Forced conversion to Islam is an increasing form of extremism in Pakistan, affecting all religious minority groups. However, Hindu teenage girls in the Sindh province are the main victims.

For hundreds of years, honor killings have been happening in the sub-continent region. In Pakistan, even though authorities are supposed to treat these killings as murder cases, they often ignore them. As of 2019, Pakistan witnesses thousands of honor killings every year.

Sex is a sensitive topic in Pakistan making it difficult for women to report incidents of rape. Women’s Studies professor Shahla Haeri mentions that rape is often accepted by the state while lawyer Asma Jahangir notes that up to seventy-two percent of women in custody in Pakistan face physical or sexual abuse.

Between 2015 and 2020, TransAction Alliance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported that 68 transgender individuals were murdered in the province, and in 2018 alone, 478 transgender women were attacked in KPK province.

Around the world, about 736 million women (almost one in three) have faced physical or sexual violence from a partner or someone else at least once in their life (30% of women aged 15 and older), this number doesn’t even include sexual harassment. Women who have experienced violence are more likely to have depression, anxiety, unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and other health issues compared to those who haven’t faced this violence.

According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, about 4,000 women are killed annually by domestic violence with thousands of other women disabled or injured in Pakistan. According to surveys conducted on 1000 women in Pakistan, around 32% of randomly selected women from health facilities in Karachi have experienced physical violence. Additionally, between 70% and 90% of married women in Punjab have reported experiencing abuse from their spouses at some point in their lives.

Most violence against women comes from their husbands or partners. About 26% of women aged 15 and older, which is more than 640 million women, have experienced this kind of violence. For teenage girls aged 15–19 who have been in a relationship, nearly one in four has faced physical or sexual violence from their partner. And in the last year, 16% of young women aged 15 to 24 have gone through this kind of violence.

Across five regions, 82 percent of women politicians reported having faced some form of psychological violence while serving their terms, including gestures, remarks, and images of humiliating sexual nature, threats, and mobbing. Social media can be a powerful tool for raising awareness about violence against women and promoting safety resources. With the advancements in technology, new security systems have been developed to address the safety concerns of women, especially during late hours when they feel insecure to step outside their homes. These systems aim to provide women with a sense of security and empowerment in critical situations.

Every year, new technologies are being introduced to address women’s safety issues. These gadgets and apps not only protect women from all dangerous situations but are also extremely simple to use. From safety apps, wearable devices, and GPS trackers, when it comes to women’s safety, we have come far. Recently, Punjab police introduced a women’s safety app to protect women from every type of harassment and violence. Read more about How to Register Your Complaint on Pakistan Citizen Portal: An Easy Guide to Use PCP.

The Impact of Women Safety Apps in Pakistan: A Step Towards Empowering Women
The Impact of Women Safety Apps in Pakistan: A Step Towards Empowering Women

Pakistan has several policies and laws against numerous forms of violence but challenges remain in implementing these safety measures. Many women still lack access to essential services like healthcare, police assistance, legal support, and social services needed for their safety, protection, and recovery. After considering all these issues, Punjab police launch a safety app for women in Pakistan. This Women Safety App was made by PSCA because the Chief Minister of Punjab wanted to make sure women were safe. With this app, women can send alerts to their family and the Punjab Police if they are in trouble and the police will respond right away to help them. Women can quickly register themselves by entering basic information on their mobile phones. They can also access help from Emergency Helpline-15, Rescue 1122, Highway Police, and Motorway Police instantly with just one click during emergencies.

Here are some key features of the app:

Panic Button

With a single click, it sends an alert with the user’s location to registered emergency contacts and the Punjab Police.

Safe Journey Planner

This feature allows women to plan their trips and share their routes with contacts for added security.

Emergency Contact List

Users can register emergency contacts who will be notified in case of an emergency.

Women-Friendly Places

This app helps identify police stations, hospitals, and other safe zones around the user’s location.

Live Chat

Users can connect with a police representative through a live chat function.

According to data from The Express Tribune covering 2019–2021, Pakistan recorded over 63,367 gender-based crimes against women including 10,517 cases of rape and 643 cases of gang rape. Today, Pakistani women face numerous challenges daily including the fear of crime and violence. Some apps were launched and designed specifically for Pakistani women, Iyzil is one of the best of them. Iyzil is a big step towards safer cities in Pakistan by providing women with a tool to keep themselves safe.

Launched in 2019, Iyzil is the first smart female safety solution in Pakistan designed to provide digital security solutions for women. Their 3-way panic alarm quickly alerts emergency contacts, and their 24/7 alarm monitoring during emergencies shares location and battery level. Premium users receive a call within 30 seconds and their agents can engage PEHEL (Pakistan Emergency Helpline) 911 for instant response. This app is easy to use and download for free on both iOS and Android devices. Once downloaded, you create a user profile by entering your original name, mobile number, and password. You can add family or friends to your contact list for emergency alerts. You control your privacy, choosing when to share your location with your selected contacts every 15, 30, or 60 minutes.

Here are some key features of the Iyzil app:

  • Panic Alarm: With just a button press, the app sends an emergency alert to your chosen responders or 24/7 Professional Monitoring Team (only in the premium plan).
  • Personal Responders: In this feature, you can add close friends and family to get emergency alerts.
  • Route Management: Save routes as safe or unsafe and share them with your personal responders.
  • Smart Connectivity: Share your location with chosen responders at regular intervals.
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According to the World Economic Outlook Database, Pakistan ranks 100th out of 144 countries in terms of gender equality. It means Pakistan is taking steps to protect women and trying to reduce the cases of domestic violence, sexual Honour killing, and sexual harassment. Recently some apps were launched by the government or the private sector to protect Pakistani women. In this research article, our Tashheer research team made a thorough guide to the impacts of Women’s safety apps in Pakistan. These Pakistani safety apps can deliver peace of mind and a sense of security and can help women feel more confident and empowered.

About the Author: Alishba

Alishba Zaheer is the lead content writer at Tashheer Digital and has a genuine passion for storytelling. With her team of skillful content writers, her expertise lies in the ability to seamlessly adapt writing style to various niches, checking new trends in Tech, especially in Pakistan. She stays ahead of the curve and maintains her dedication to writing excellence. Among other things, she has been instrumental in researching local brands, Pakistani products, and services, providing benchmark articles for Pakistani audiences.