Stories about sexual harassment

While a new day yields a new molester, our girls are still told it’s their fault

“It was my first day at work. I covered my head like a good Muslim, didn’t speak to the opposite gender unnecessarily, still somehow by the time I returned home, I had a few extremely vulgar text messages from unidentified numbers on my mobile. It shocked me because only a few family members had my new mobile number and I was 100% certain that it wasn’t a coincidence to receive such messages on my first day at work. I was frightened at the thought of someone at this new workplace having such a perception of me. That someone must have assumed I am ...

Read Full Post

Dear Saudi, their only crime was being born transgender, and that’s not a crime at all

Amna, a 35-year-old from the Mingora part of Swat and 26-year-old Meeno from Peshawar were killed in Saudi Arabia this week in police custody. The death of any prisoner at the hands of law enforcement is already disturbing as it is, but these two were allegedly tortured to death. Alongside 33 others, they were arrested, placed inside sacks, and beaten, and beaten, and then beaten some more until the two succumbed to their injuries. Imagine being helpless, alone, inside a dark claustrophobic sack, and struck on the body and head with canes and kicks until dying painfully. There is very ...

Read Full Post

Why I think the PTV anchors were right to go public with their accusations

Currently, the issue of workplace sexual harassment seems to be in the national spotlight due to an on-going investigation at Pakistan Television (PTV). According to the available details, two prominent anchors had accused PTV’s current affairs director for sexual harassment. In response, the channel had initiated an inquiry to look into the matter. However, during the investigation, the two anchors decided to use other media platforms (electronic and social) to spread awareness of their case, which resulted in the PTV management imposing a ban on the involved anchors. The PTV management was of the opinion that the anchors were issuing ...

Read Full Post

Set aside that male privilege and stand up for your women, Pakistan

Being a Pakistani man myself, I would like to think that most Pakistani men are as appalled at instances of sexual violence as I am. I would like to think that most Pakistani men would not engage in sexual violence. I would like to think that there is a small minority of sexual predators who commit these terrible acts. However, the truth may be a lot more horrifying than my mistaken beliefs. I am not going to limit this to sexual harassment as I do feel a lot of people do commit sexual harassment without even realising they are ...

Read Full Post

Naila Rind: Locking women up will not help secure them from sexual harassment, Pakistan

We cannot, as a nation, claim progress till our women feel safe everywhere at any time. The life of a woman in a man’s world was never easy, but nothing can be worse than not doing anything to change that. No matter how many steps we manage to take forward, we have just as many people pushing us back. By writing this, I wish to bring to the reader’s attention the way we are handling the Naila Rind case – a student of the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, who committed suicide after being constantly blackmailed and harassed. Our country does not have harassment policies ...

Read Full Post

Dear men, a short skirt, bikini and even a naked female is not an invitation

India is in the news once again, and for all the wrong reasons yet again. An instance of mass molestation in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve has put the country under the radar. An estimated 60,000 people gathered on MG Road and Brigade road to join in the celebrations ushering in 2017. Reports state that members of the crowd turned unruly and a large number of women were harassed and groped. And as has happened previously, ministers have been making asinine statements while trying to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the crime to the victims. Ministers have been known ...

Read Full Post

Have Muslim countries failed its women due to religious orthodoxy?

A few months ago, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won her Oscar, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends. His contention was that people like her were ‘maligning’ the image of Pakistan by unnecessarily inflating some isolated incidents. In his opinion, her efforts were just creating negative stereotypical images of Pakistan and which made ‘enemies’ of Pakistan feel comfortable in their hate. In his opinion, Pakistan’s gender related issues were not systemic and were blown out of proportion. “It is just a tiny minority which is indulging in honour killings and it is unfair to present Pakistan in such a negative light”, he argued. Is he ...

Read Full Post

Our company said if he didn’t touch you, it isn’t harassment

What happens when you finally voice your opinions over the unbearable harassment that you’ve had to face for three months? You are ridiculed, you are blamed for having filth in your mind; you are indirectly under suspicion in everyone’s eyes and all this, for what? Only because you raised your voice against something you do not want to endure anymore. Three years ago I started working at an IT company – it was the beginning of my professional career. The company provided a van service for women, a facility which almost every working woman needs and that is one of ...

Read Full Post

What happens when your 12-year-old surfing the internet is exposed to porn?

“The boy had told her if she didn’t have sex ‘she wouldn’t be his sister any more’”. That’s what the prosecutor said; standing in a British court room during the trial. The young girl – aged under nine – suffered these disturbing acts one after the other and kept her silence – pressurised and blackmailed like nearly all victims are. Her next decision? She went and confided in her mother after which he used the same defence tactic that she had ‘consented’ for sex. Many victims find their stories go unheard and ignored when the possibility of ‘consensual sex’ begins to loom around. ...

Read Full Post

I’m with Hillary

When Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States, I remember watching in awe; not just because of his oratory skills, but because there was finally a black president. Eight years on, this is another historic moment, because for the first time the United States stands to have a female president. The female populous should be rejoicing, it’s taken far longer than warranted for a woman to get this close to the oval office. But rather than rejoicing, I find myself recoiling time and time again. Post yesterday’s debate, opinion polls pit Hillary as the winner with 52% of the votes – ...

Read Full Post