Recently social activists and experts on gender responsive policing stated that the police forces should recruit women in the ranks to tackle gender-based violence. They also advised that there needs to be an increment in the enrollment of women to all police departments and responsibilities including patrolling, coping with terrorism, investigations and interrogations. Furthermore, they urged that the working environment of police women should be improved, particularly in the case of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The affair was arranged by the KPK government in collaboration with a non-government organization, Aitebaar.
There definitely is an urgency to equip our police forces with the appropriate tools to curtail gender-based violence, of which the majority of victims is female. However, more importantly and yet neglected by panelists at the conference, we need to implement a more comprehensive and honest understanding of this specific kind of oppression, and this is not possible without the cooperation and input from male police officers. Ironically enough, many of our male cops are as guilty of committing gender-based violence as other men are. By placing the onus of challenging misogyny on the gender that faces it the most – regardless of profession – we miss the point of creating of a society where women are not treated as dispensable objects that are thrown here and there at male will.
Undoubtedly, the arranged conference touched upon crucial points that we all need to openly discuss in order to expel patriarchal violence from our society, but let us not aggravate police women more than they already are, with having to deal with sexism, harassment and other forms of invalidation shown by men. Teach men in the police forces to hold gender-violence by the horns and actively attack it until it’s gone. In this way, they will create an encouraging precedent for other men to follow.