Who will speak for the Pakistani woman?

Published: June 10, 2012

Who is to speak for the girls who are harassed everyday, twice or even thrice a day? PHOTO: SHAHID ALI

Whether you wear a dupatta or not, the fact of the matter is that the minute a woman steps out of her house, she will feel as if everyone is staring at her. And this will happen in the local market and regardless of which neighbourhood you may be in – affluent or relatively poor – the reaction from men is usually the same.

They gawk at you as though you are from a different planet.

Even when I have to go to my workplace, I quickly get off the car and rush inside, lest all kinds of prying and penetrating eyes be staring at me.

The irony is that women of every section of our society are bound to feel insecure the moment they step out of their house, either for work or fun.

Recently, on my only day off in the work week, I had planned to hit the local cloth market to avail of some retail therapy. However, my outing was spoiled because of the rude and nasty remarks by people and their glaring eyes.

“Akeli ja rai ho? Hum bhi challain saath,” shouted out a local passerby.

(Are you going alone? Should I join you.)

I noticed that in one of the shops, the moment a woman left the shop carrying bags (filled with items bought from that very shop), the shopkeepers started commenting on her looks, gait, eyebrows, and on a lot more other things as well. About a woman wearing a sleeveless kameez, one of the shopkeepers remarked,

“Moti aunty burhapay mai jawani dikha rai hai.”

(That fat woman is trying to act young in her old age.)

Of course, I am not the only woman who has had such a terrible experience – there are countless others who endure this on a daily basis. One of my very close friends, fond of making clothes, was terribly harassed by her tailor. So traumatised was she, that she never returned to his shop – not even to collect her bag that she left there while the tailor was taking her measurements.

This doesn’t happen only to women who dress in western clothes; even if they are, as one would say, fully covered up, men will still whistle and stare.

For instance, a friend’s female domestic help had her dupatta snatched when she, covered from head to toe, was crossing a busy road in a relatively affluent and safe neighbourhood of Karachi.

A teenage girl, an acquaintance, had a traumatic experience while she was travelling on the public bus every day while going to and from university, with men touching her almost routinely. In the end, she stopped using public transport altogether.

This is most frustrating because instead of punishing the men who harassed her on a daily basis, the absence of any mechanism that would help achieve this, meant that the poor girl had to make the sacrifice of foregoing public transport.

While Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is going around covering acid victims, who is to speak for the girls who are harassed everyday, twice or even thrice a day?

Food for thought, isn’t it?

Follow Rumaisa on Twitter @RumaisaBilal

Rumaisa.Bilal

Rumaisa Bilal

A sub-editor at the Sports desk at The Express Tribune who is off to Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia to pursue her second Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication. She tweets @RumaisaBilal

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sumayya Aslam

    Nice read…I totally agree with you that it’s really hard for a woman to survive in this man-dominating world…good article….Recommend

  • Kashan Ali

    It does not only happen to women though, it also happens to boys in early and middle teenage especially those who are categorized as Pappu. I used to travel from home to school and back in public buses, and between 7th and 10th grade, I have been victim to touching on buses from men much older than me. I have been given bike lifts by men who at first appeared good Samaritans only for me to discover later on by their persistent back ups into my lap and trying to take me somewhere else. I have been touched by my Qari, as well as my social studies teacher. I have been offered candy by men. I have been winked upon. I have been told I am “sexy” by total strangers. I have been offered driving lessons by people I don’t know. This place is a pervert place. If you are a woman, or a pretty young boy, you better watch your steps. Recommend

  • Maryam

    Your point is valid, but the Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy reference comes across as catty. Perhaps it’s due to your choice of words. Or does she bear responsibility for ‘going around’ speaking for every single issue that women face in this country? Recommend

  • Salman

    Oh stop whinning.

    Sharmeen played her part and played it pretty well too. Its not food for thought. Its a very cheap stunt by what I am guessing is a person who didn’t have anything of substance to say.

    When that happens the best thing to do is use a trending keyword. Cheap, real cheap. And unfortunately also very transparent. Recommend

  • Anum

    Being a woman in her 20s I can relate to almost everything you said, except:

    1) I dont know what markets you go to, but I’ve been to loads of places and I’ve never had shopkeepers pass nasty comments at me or any of the other shoppers

    2) What girl in their right mind goes to a MALE tailor to give her measurements? I think thaking measurements in its own is harrassment whether his hands stray elsewhere or not.Recommend

  • Fahad

    These ‘incidents’ that you speak of are not unique to Pakistan, you can go anywhere in the world and you’d see men checking out women, in the gora parts of the world not only do guys stare at females as they cross by, they rate them based on their looks.
    Yes its horrible, but can’t possibly be compared to being an acid victim. If you wanna speak up about the issue, by all means do it, just refrain from making naive comparisons like this that seem to be a desperate attempt for clicks on your blog. Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Terrible article. Are we now expected to take the experience of a couple of people as the experience of all Pakistani women? Besides, these things happen every where – less so in Pakistan because Islam does not allow such behavior.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    because of sick culture in the country …..Recommend

  • Vigilant

    “Who will speak for the Pakistani woman?”………..Women themselves by educating their children and teaching them to respect other women…..you cannot fill jails with pervs because they are so many…….. Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    A good read and you raise some very important points. But, the Sharmeen Obaid reference at the end could have been done with more tact. Right now it looks as if you are attacking her for not focusing on this issue. She did her part. Someone else needs to focus on this. Perhaps, that could be you.Recommend

  • Bilal

    Here we go again. can we not have articles about women constantly complaining about the same thing over and over again? If you dont like being looked at then stay home where only your walls can look at you. If you want to go out and be all ‘independent’ then suck it up and stop whining about it. SheeshRecommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    Let Sharmeen Chinoy do her part for the acid victims, I guess women should get used to staring at least but if someone passes a comment on u i guess ignoring is a better alternative but yes some police official or some other mechanism should be there to assist. Women police etc i guessRecommend

  • Ms Marium

    Absolutely agree with the writer !Recommend

  • Naeem khan Manhattan,Ks

    This picture is such a heart wrenching, my heart goes out to all the women who are treated 2nd class citizens, the fault also lies with those who are privileged class in Pakistan, they just don’t care as long as their lives are OK.Now we have these fanatics who call themselves Muslims and yet deny the basic human rights to the our mothers,sisters, and wives.Since that dictator Zia”s time , no one had or has the guts to come forward and repeal that despicable, draconian law called Hadood law. Perhaps I will not see any change for the betterment of the women in Pakistan and Afghanistan in my life time.Thank you for your article, and enlightening the society in general.Recommend

  • LSE ka larka

    “This doesn’t happen only to women who dress in western clothes; even if they are, as one would say, fully covered up, men will still whistle and stare.”

    This is interesting. After reading this line in some other articles, I was talking to two of my female friends at LSE (Lahore School of Economics), and they were like, you know what? Let’s test this (they’re quite spontaneous you see). One of them was wearing a simple purple shalwar kameez that day, and the other one was wearing what you call “Western clothing”, a white tee with black skinny jeans. They both went to two different shops at the Auriga shopping mall on Main Boulevard, and were subjected to the same treatment that you detailed in your article. Don’t feel too sorry for them though, they’re tough little monsters both of them, and told the shopkeepers in explicit, thaith Punjabi, exactly what they thought of them :P

    The next day, both these girls borrowed burqas from cousins, and went to Auriga again. They were wearing the burqas (with faces veiled) when they interacted with the shopkeepers this time. And they themselves were quite surprised to find that the shopkeepers behaved respectfully with them. Regardless of that, when leaving the shop, they both raised their face veils and gave the shopkeepers another verbal, Punjabi lashing. As I said, they’re tough little monsters, the two of them.

    But that does prove, in this one incident only perhaps, that your theory that even if a woman is fully covered in a modest way she will still be harassed, is quite wrong.

    Thank you all for reading this :)Recommend

  • What is a Pappu?

    @Kashan Ali: What do u mean by pappu? Do you mean to say most Pakistani men have homosexual inclinations? Recommend

  • Salman

    Why don’t you then wear the damn burqah ? NO you won’t and later whine whine whine on this whinny E.T.Recommend

  • sajid

    @what is a pappu
    hahahaRecommend

  • Ammar Khan

    Y U NO LEAVE PAKISTAN ?

    WHO”S STOPPING YOU ?Recommend

  • Salma Afridi

    Aware Girls have launched a helpline recently which girls / women can contact to get some help.

    http://www.madadgaar.org/

    http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/pakistan-helpline-opens-to-help-prevent-violence-against-women/

    https://www.facebook.com/awaregirl

    If one is not comfortable doing that, do not remain silent about this but talk to someone you confide in. Usually talking to other women in the neighborhood / workplace will help.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Well written !

    The Fault does not ‘only’ lies within the men doing such heinous acts, it is equally the fault of the women ‘Why do they ignore & bear it upon themselves, why don’t they shout, revile back & face the bloody lunatics, boldly ?Recommend

  • leila rage

    @Kaalchakra:
    You claim these things happen less in Pakistan because “Islam does not allow such behaviour”. Here’s a reality check my friend: Yes Islam does not allow such harrassment and crudity, BUT that doesnt mean that people don’t indulg in it. Islam does not allow rape, and that’s one of the most common crimes in Pakistan. Islam does not allow murder/kidnapping/bribery/child sexual abuse or any of these horrible things, and yet they are fairly common in Pakistan.
    Denying the extent of our problems will not make them go away. We need to accept that this happens in Pakistan A LOT and then we need to take measures to STOP it.

    Yes, such things happen in other countries as well. But there is one main difference:
    1) In other countries, there is still the HOPE of justice if one goes to the police with harrassment complaints. In Pakistan, the police themselves are rapists, murderers, bribe-taking thugs, and there is NO justice.

    Also, if this happens in other countries too, does that make it okay? Does that mean we shouldn’t do anything to stop it from happening in our country? We live in this country and its our right to raise awareness about these issues and try to bring change.Recommend

  • Molvi Sher Khan

    @Kashan Ali, please text me your number. thanks.Recommend

  • Molvi Fazlu Diesel

    @Kashan Ali, Lalay ki jaan how old are you now btw? just wondering..Recommend

  • Vikram

    Youtube has so many videos on Hijab,where converts to Islam or real Muslim women claim how hijab can keep Muslim women safe from MANKIND..Recommend

  • Vikram

    @kaalchakra:
    “Terrible article. Are we now expected to take the experience of a couple of people as the experience of all Pakistani women? Besides, these things happen every where – less so in Pakistan because Islam does not allow such behavior.”

    As far as I know, Muslim women even without any burqa or hijab don’t get harrassed in public in USA. Harrassment problem of Muslim women seems to be lot more prevalent and worse in Muslim countries.

    Don’t forget Pakistan is top on the list of porn watcher countries.

    Search rape and Pakistan on you tube and you will see what is going on in Pakistan.

    I recently saw one video where step father waa raping his 3 daughters and his family could not stop him. Government officials evicted him from his official residence for this reason but did nothing to help the daughters.Sometthing like that can only happen in a country like Pakistan. Man threatened to kill his wife or throw acid on her face if she interfered. One of his daughter gave birth to his child.

    You can search father rapes daughter Pakistan on Internet.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @LSE ka larka: “But that does prove, in this one incident only perhaps, that your theory that even if a woman is fully covered in a modest way she will still be harassed, is quite wrong.”

    You can’t send 2 girls and test a theory. In Muslim countries where all women wear burqa, women get raped (sometimes by their own families), women get sexually harrassed, women get groped in public,

    Read this news from a burqa wearing country

    Husband posts wife’s nude photos, also sends them to her …

    http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/husband-posts-wife-s-nude-photos-also-sends-them-to-her-colleagues-2012-06-10-1.462378Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Kashan Ali: That just shows even young boys are not safe in public transport in Pakistan from SEX hungry men. You say “I have been touched by my Qari, as well as my social studies teacher.” What is Qari teacher?Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Salma Afridi: I hope maddadgar org can help street kids too.

    It would be nice if volunteers can go and meet street kids and provide them help that can change their lives.. Some of these kids get sexually abused and later start doing sex for moneyRecommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Dress modestly, wear a serious expression on your face, trust me no one wil harrass you. Yes stare they will, because it is in a mans biological nature to stare at the opposite gender, more so if she is beautiful :)Recommend

  • Sana/Londoner

    Hi all,ive enjoyed reading all your comments and opinions,i am Pakistani but ive been born and bred in London but I do visit Pakistan regularly (once every 2 years) to visit family who reside mainly in Islamabad.I haven’t ever come across a shopkeeper passing rude comments but I have definitely been subjected to the gawking eyes of male passbuyers and I really do think it is a shame that there are men like that in society,but as somebody else mentioned what women need to do is educate their children and teach them how to respect women. I hate to say it but I think alot of men in pakistan have this pick and choose of religion,where they usually like to judge others and not really.Yes women are meant to dress modestly and ‘cover up’but men should also lower their gaze as they walk. Just my 2 cents! Recommend

  • leila rage

    @Salman: wearing the burqa doesn’t help. my friends who wear the burqa are harrassed as much as anyone else. Why don’t men clean their dirty minds instead?Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    Really sad.Recommend

  • tauqir

    Allah has given every male/female to voice out for their right why don’t you voice out in public just sharing in social network. In Islam female responsibility is to prepare yourself before going out in public ………..wearing burqa is one of the cure for that problem.Recommend

  • k-h-a-n

    First of all..the picture and the title are very misleading. the girl in the picture looks like someone near to her has died and i would rather like to hear her story. these are the first world problems we always come across and the whining wont do you any justice. it doesn’t only happen in Pakistan. go to the most westernized places and you will find men doing the same..it always happen in the subways in UK and USA and neither the man nor the woman are Pakistani. come up with something substantial.Recommend

  • maz3tt

    simple solution in most of the cases atleast when going out go with a mahram and secondly dress decently. Recommend

  • Ali S

    Women themselves perpetuate stereotypes of themselves. All men have a certain degree of testosterone in them but it’s the duty of mothers to make sure they grow up knowing how to treat and respect women. They’re the ones who create this “perverted culture” that you talk about, so stop acting like men are inherently evil Satan’s spawn and all women are completely blameless.Recommend

  • leila rage

    @ayesha pervez and others: I dress decently, always in loose shalwar kameez, I always keep a serious expression because why would i smile at perverts, and I still get harassed. So sorry, thats not the solution.And so if a girl is beautiful, its her faults she’s harassed? Should she go disfigure herself then?

    Im sorry, but the ONLY real solution to this is to teach men to respect women, and think of them as equal human beings instead of just objects of desire.

    Blaming women by implying that we dress immodestly, go out without mahrams and because some of us are “beautiful” is just the STUPIDEST thing EVER.

    By this same twisted logic of yours then rape victims are to blame because its “in men’s nature” to be perverts and stare/harass and assault women right? Please don’t make me laugh. That’s pathetic.

    If you want to drag religion into it, then let me tell you that the Prophet (SAW) was none of these things, he treated women with respect and honour always and he was a MAN. I wonder why other men can’t try to emulate his example when they claim to be ‘muslims’ but are really just perverts.

    “It’s in men’s nature” is just about the most ridiculous excuse I’ve heard from any one. Recommend

  • leila rage

    @Ammar Khan: Not everyone can afford to leave so easily. If all of us dissatisfied people could leave, we would. But there are always lots of things to consider like finances, qualifications, family and of course WHERE to go, because is there really any country left where pakistanis are respected?Recommend

  • Zeeshan Sheikh

    I can’t understand womens. They want to live all luxury of a man but zero responsibility. They want to work like a man but they hate men . fact is the women is always inferior to man. they are nothing without men. men also need women but in 3-4 cases. women is dependent upon men.Recommend

  • imran

    “Even when I have to go to my workplace, I quickly get off the car and rush inside, lest all kinds of prying and penetrating eyes be staring at me.”

    then don’t go outside, stay at home. if other things are important, then bear a little. why do you believe that society should behave according to your wishes.

    @leila rage

    if you are a liberal be a real one, don’t be a cherry pick liberal. They should only look at you when you want them to and they shouldn’t when you don’t. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @k-h-a-n: “it doesn’t only happen in Pakistan. go to the most westernized places and you will find men doing the same..it always happen in the subways in UK and USA and neither the man nor the woman are Pakistani. come up with something substantial”

    No it does not happen in USA. There may be people like you doing it. Let me warn you to stop this because some one may call 911 and you may get arrested at the next subway stop. Police take their jobs seriously in countries like USA and UK.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Ali S:
    All men have a certain degree of testosterone in them but it’s the duty of mothers to make sure they grow up knowing how to treat and respect women. They’re the ones who create this “perverted culture”.

    Women have certain levels of testosterone too. Are you saying “mothers tell their sons” to go and harrass women? IRecommend

  • Vikram

    @Zeeshan Sheikh: “They want to work like a man but they hate men . fact is the women is always inferior to man. they are nothing without men. men also need women but in 3-4 cases. women is dependent upon men”.

    It is women who have given births to all prophets, kings, presidents, greatest scientists, greatest philosphers, how can she be inferior to men .Men in turn control every aspect of a woman’s life and do things to keep her from exploring her full potential and becoming independent. Truly religious peeople like “talibans” even don’t want girls to get education.Recommend

  • leila rage

    @imran: how am i being a ‘cherry-picking’ liberal? In fact i dont think i’ve said anything that should classify me as a ‘liberal’ if by that you mean irreligious and “westernised”. And when do i say that they should look at us when we want them to and not look at us when we dont want them to?

    I am merely saying that men should treat women with RESPECT and HONOUR. I don’t think that asking for respect should be limited to liberals, i think all ideologies can demand respect.

    All I am saying is that men should not look at women WITH ILL INTENTIONS and dirty thoughts. There is a difference between just looking at someone once, and STARING at someone with a leering smile and making sick remarks/jokes.

    So call me what you will; liberal, feminist, non-conservative, westernised etc, I dont care because I am only trying to be a HUMAN and asking others to behave as HUMANS rather than worse than animals….Recommend

  • Sana/Londoner

    @Vikram: I completely agree with you Vikram..hardly ever In London or when i visited america has a man ever made rude comments on the streets or “subways” and even if someone did it would be a desi person in Southall or Illford (which are both the equivalent to rawalpindis commercial market .)Us and Uk are secular countries this kind of cheap behaviour that Pakistani men have is not justifiable it is most definitely not tolerated by anyone. In pakistan it has to be tolerated because it is such a normal thing,a won cant fight with every man that steers at her because that would mean she is always arguing.
    I cant believe people are saying “women should stop complaining about it” why the hell should they?Is it so unfair to be looked at with respect? Recommend

  • Sana/Londoner

    @leila rage: Completely agree with you Laila!! #girlpowerRecommend

  • Anum

    @ Zeeshan Sheikh

    No mother/sister at home? Please get married to your hand, don’t ruin a life.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Zeeshan Sheikh, your comment made me laugh my head off. Recommend

  • imran

    @leila rage … this call me whatever you want i dont care” attitude was a bit emotional. off course no one cares about what other comments about you on public blogs.

    saying literally, i am liberal or not doesn’t matter, your thoughts can give some hints. all i said was if you are so irritated by people looking at you, stay at home or face it with strength. i don’t get it, how can you scan someone’s thoughts to term them as ILL INTENTIONED and DIRTY. men have right to look at anything they find interesting as long as women have the right to dress, walk & work according to their choice. men will be men. the girls in the west have realized this, they don’t care how many eyes are watching them, no matter what they are wearing. Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Leila rage

    By saying that these things happen “everywhere” one accepts that they happen in Pakistan too. Nor are they right. But as Muslims Pakistanis have the correct guidance. They only have to follow Islam. As LSE ka larka explained so well, if Pakistan’s elite start using the Burqa (I hope the two ladies he wrote about will become more regular users of the burqa) these problems can be solved very quickly. Please understand that such solutions are not available to non-Muslims so they can go wrong very quickly.Recommend

  • k-h-a-n

    @vikram i pity your life for reading a Pakistani paper if you are an indian. Secondly what do you mean by people like me…first of all i m rich enough to afford my own car and i have never taken a bus or a train to anywhere so trust me you wont see me groping a woman. i live in Australia and i see these people doing all sorts of things on the beaches, at the bus stops ..now you one the other hand believe in girl power and respect…so trust me when i say this that i respect women more than you would ever know but what i wanted to say was that this is not the topic worthy of a writing a blog on since whining wont do you any good. its in mans nature to stare and some would go to lengths to even touch them.Recommend

  • http://i.imgur.com/wPohA.jpg trollol

    oh goodies..what awesome discussions going on in here..with all due respect I would love to interject and say something along the following lines:
    the problem lies in the title of your article..”who will speak for the Pakistani woman?”.hope that is a rhetorical question..see no one is going to speak for you.stand up for yourselves..please stop waiting for a voice that will speak your concerns..you can speak (unless you are dumb..heh sorry)…if you want to wear a burqa over your face..sure go ahead..if you want to go out naked..sure no problem with me…….oh sorry I forgot..this is Pakistan..where if a man goes out naked then he is stoned to death and if a woman does that..she will probably be raped to death (what a sad thing to say on my part..shame on me)…lol self criticism aside but yeah you gotta deal with the reality..I think above all women need to stand up for themselves..you gotta take no s*** from anyone..women need to respect themselves and perhaps as mothers they can pass on that respect to their kids..but anyway your voice is important..speak up.(you can do a lot more with your voice..you don’t always have to whine, rant and squeal with joy at the sight of a lawn collection)…respect yourselves..you don’t need to conform to nothing! in the words of Bob Marley and the Wailers…no woman..don’t cry :)Recommend

  • Vigilant

    @Anum:
    hahahahaha :) ….. i liked ur reply to “Zeeshan Sheikh” ….. :)

    i will agree to some extent with “Zeeshan Sheikh”…….women want to compete men in every field but require special treatment even in circumstance it is impossible to provide or not needed…….Recommend

  • Sane

    Yes, there are problems. And this is almost in every part of the world more or less. However, as narrated is exaggerated. Problem with most of the writers is they talk about the problem, but have no idea about solution. Everyone knows about this problem….nothing new.Recommend

  • tahir

    Just came to my mind when read the sentence “While Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is going around covering acid victims” I think that there is little bit taunt in it whereas what Sharmeen is doing is really commendable but intoto we have to think and act about it……….Recommend

  • leila rage

    @imran: I can’t scan anyone’s mind, but a person’s behaviour can easily show you what they are thinking. For example, if your friend suddenly starts ignoring you, you will think that there must be something wrong and that your friend is probably angry at you for something. If someone keeps looking away and nodding vaguely while you are talking to them, you will be able to tell they are distracted.
    In the same way, if a man looks at you once and lowers his gaze or looks away and keeps out of your way, you know he isn’t going to harass you. But if a man keeps staring at you, gives you creepy smiles, tries to touch you as you walk by and makes rude comments its obvious that he is ill intentioned.
    Staring itself is a form of harassment.

    @kaalchakra: I’ve personally also tried the burqa and it doesn’t work. But thanks for the advice. May be men should get a burqa for their eyes.

    (last comment on this blog)Recommend

  • Vikram

    @kaalchakra:
    By saying that these things happen “everywhere” one accepts that they happen in Pakistan too. Nor are they right. But as Muslims Pakistanis have the correct guidance. They only have to follow Islam. As LSE ka larka explained so well, if Pakistan’s elite start using the Burqa (I hope the two ladies he wrote about will become more regular users of the burqa) these problems can be solved very quickly. Please understand that such solutions are not available to non-Muslims so they can go wrong very quickly.

    Muslims women without burqa are not harrassed in countries like USA and UK. That Harrassment is lot more prevalent in Muslim countries.That shows it is not burqa it is Muslim men like you who are the problem. Why don’t you tell your Muslim brothers to lower their gaze when they see a Muslim “sister”

    Send 2 LSE girls in burqa and 2 without burqa in a crowded bus or market and then compare their experience.

    It will be even better if you yourself wear a burqa and travel in crowded buses for few days. Make sure you “look” like a woman, wear a stuffed……and some jewlery too. You can ask a friend to join you. I would love to know what burqa did for you.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Fahad:
    Having been born in the west and having visited Pakistan many times in my life, I can attest to the fact that these occurrences don’t happen nearly as frequently nor as brazenly in most western countries. Yes men and women check each other out, as is natural, but there’s a difference between checking someone out and leering or vulgar remarks. I’ve never felt like a spectacle as much as I have in certain areas of Pakistan. Unfortunate situation and I feel for both men and women….education and civility (more specifically civic virtue) are a must. Recommend

  • Confused

    Burka requires more imagination from perverts, so I guess it depends on how much they are willing to care too.Recommend

  • Just Curious

    How does a girl know when a guy is staring at her? What if the guy finds the girl attarctive and wants to enjoy the moment without meaning any harm.

    How will girls in Pakistan feel if tommorow they go out and no one looks at them?

    How often you smile when people look at you?Recommend

  • Just Curious

    Author: While Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is going around covering acid victims, who is to speak for the girls who are harassed everyday, twice or even thrice a day?

    You can make a documentry on women harrasment in Pakistan.

    You can also put some men in burqa in crowded buses to experience what it is like to be a woman in burqa in crowded places.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Vigilant:
    hahahahaha :) ….. i liked ur reply to “Zeeshan Sheikh” ….. :)

    i will agree to some extent with “Zeeshan Sheikh”…….women want to compete men in every field but require special treatment even in circumstance it is impossible to provide or not needed…….

    Women have not been allowed to compete with men for 1000s of years. Don’t cry if they get some special treatment. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Vikram:
    Father daughter rapes unfortunately happen even in the US, only difference is law enforcement actually does something about it once it’s made public. such monsters are everywhere in every country. Recommend

  • AI

    @Maryam:
    I agree with you. While the article has a point worth noting and does discuss a valid problem. The remark about Sharmeen was uncalled for. At least she saw a problem and did something about it. What has the author of this article done?Recommend

  • Aamna

    Loved the article on the whole, about that Shirmeen part, Dude I think there have been more acid victims after she won accolades for her work and our Parliament passed that Acid victim related law. Or maybe more issues of that kind were highlighted on media after all that documentary stuff. When I heard in news, a girl also splashed acid on a guy, I felt like saying Thank you shirmeen obaid, now everyone’s got a hobby, ‘PLAY ACID SPLASHING GAME’. For this article, I agree women are publicly harassed by males whether they go out fully covered or dressing up in a jeans and tee, prepare to be killed by those dagger-like stares Recommend

  • Sumayya Aslam

    Just adding one more incident. My maid right now told me that yesterday when she was visiting Delhi colony for the vegetable shopping, two policemen on a bike snatched passerby’s dupatta and then were laughing out loud….that woman was in shock and didn’t know what had happened with her as everyone was staring at her questioning if she knew them. P.S. The woman was properly covered and was just buying groceries….now who should we complain to?Recommend

  • Mano

    Stop considering yourself a victim, because unless you think yourself weak, nobody is going to respect your strength. I have traveled in public transport. I go to tailors. I drive. I roam in markets alone. I go to restaurants alone. A normal guy (who isn’t criminal) won’t say or do anything if you carry yourself with confidence. Don’t rush from your car to your office. Walk confidently and if someone stares, glare back. That does the trick. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Aamna: “When I heard in news, a girl also splashed acid on a guy, I felt like saying Thank you shirmeen obaid, now everyone’s got a hobby, ‘PLAY ACID SPLASHING GAME’.”

    I hope you are not serious. Two wrongs don’t make it right. What is next women are going to unite and start harrasing men in crowded places. Any man who attacks or beats a woman is a coward.Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    @Vikram: You said it, partner!Recommend

  • Tina

    Well letme tell you this behaviour is not special to pakistani men i live in a middle eastern country and mostly come across indians/bengalis indulging in this sort of behaviour, they would stare at you like they have never seen a woman in their life, desperados! And btw arab men are no different, men just need to mind their own business and not follow every female looking figure. Get a lifeRecommend

  • Viltam

    @Tina: “And btw arab men are no different, men just need to mind their own business and not follow every female looking figure”

    Thanks for sharing information about arabs, Indians and Bangladeshis.

    I was wondering if same thing happens to women during hajj. I did read a comment where a girl mentioned that men from her family encircled the women from the family to keep them safe. It would be hard to do that when it is just a couple.Recommend