Right now, women are taking a stand against domestic violence with the hashtag #TryBeatingMeLightly, coinciding with today's news of an 18-year-old school teacher being burnt alive for refusing a marriage proposal in Pakistan. Last week, the Council of Islamic Ideology proposed a bill to the Pakistani government advising that husbands should be able to “lightly’ beat their wives. The CII proposed that husbands should be able to discipline their wives with a light beating for refusing sex, not washing or bathing after sex or menstruation, and for not dressing as their husbands please.
This has been met with uproar by both women and men. Fahhad Rajper has created 12 black and white portraits of Pakistani women for his photo series Try Beating Me Lightly in response to the proposed bill. On his Twitter, he calls for women to stand up.
As a result, the empowering hashtag #TryBeatingMeLightly is now spreading rapidly on Twitter with women daring men to hit them and face the hellish consequences.
People have also been responding on Instagram with Hamza Ali Abbasi – a Pakistani actor, director and model – posting a video of him trying to hit Mahira Khan as she hits him before he manages to ‘lightly’ beat her.
The CII have tried to clarify what they mean by a ‘light’ beating, with chairman Mualana Muhammad Khan Sherani backing down slightly after public fury and explaining to the Express Tribune: “Hit her with light things like handkerchief, a hat or a turban, but do not hit her on the face or private parts. And the beating should not cause any kind of physical damage or even scratches. Resort to light stuff, nothing serious”.
However, the damage has already been done as Raheela Khadim, chair of the Punjab Assembly’s committee on gender points out: “Through their proposed recommendations they have reflected their mindset”.