The Churails actress Yasra Rizvi posted a series of pictures on social media that can be disturbing for light-hearted viewers. These images are strong and focus on the effects of forced marriages on women in Pakistan. The pictures show Rizvi in a red bridal dress with ruffled make-up and hair, supporting gold jewelry, and as well as chains.
Yasra Rizvi Explains Personal Freedom of Choice
The artist conveyed a message in the captions that the decision to get married or not was highly personal and a basic right of an individual. Therefore, if a marriage did not work for whatever reason or became an unpleasant experience then women should not be forced to carry it on. She reiterated that ending such a toxic marriage was also a basic human right, which was often violated in Pakistan.
Yasra Rizvi also stressed that she was not spreading western propaganda but merely repeating what the religion and law said about freedom of choice regarding marriage. The detailed note also explained how the marriage mostly affects the relationship of husband and wife, pointing to the fact that how most families took lead in planning marriages without caring about how their children would feel about the relationship.
The actress questioned the credibility of such a relationship that was formed due to the decision of someone else other than the person itself. Her pictures showed the visual representation of such feelings when a decision is imposed on a person. Especially women, who are judged and disrespected whenever they raise their voice against forced marriage or even wanting a divorce. Rizvi exclaimed that this needed to end.
Marriage is Not Imprisonment or Death Sentence
Yasra Rizvi also highlighted that marriage was a social contract that explicitly stated the rights and responsibilities of each partner. So, it was unfair to alter the concept of marriage and make it seem like a prison or death sentence. Because this was exactly how a marriage against one’s wishes felt like. Forcing marriages upon women and then damning them for wanting a divorce are two special kinds of evils that the actress wanted to speak out against.
Sadly, these evils are considered traditional norms by few cultures but in fact are nothing more than blatant attacks on human rights, as Rizvi says. It’s even sadder that these two evils are common and widely accepted in Pakistani society.
The actress once again called her followers to speak up against the oppression in the name of marriage. She asked to not only stand up for one’s own daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends but also for the random woman getting beaten up by her husband with a popular excuse: “This is our personal matter”.
Issue of Forced Marriages in Pakistan
A 2019 report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that around 1,000 Christian and Hindu women were captured annually and forcefully married. Many of these victims were minors who were trapped into marriages after sexual assaults while authorities rarely intervened. UNICEF report in 2013 revealed that 21% of girls in Pakistan got married before the age of 18. Not so long ago a 64-year-old Member of the National Assembly belonging to the Jamiat-E-Ulema Islami (JUI) party married an underage girl who was only 14-years old.
Such marriages leave a devastating impact on the mental and sexual health of a girl. The sexual and reproductive activity between a young girl and a severely older man has damaging results. According to WHO, childbirth and complications regarding pregnancy are leading causes of death in 15 to 19-year-old girls.