Street harassment: The blame lies with you

Published: May 11, 2012
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When one talks about street harassment in Pakistan, an interesting question that is raised by most is,

Whose fault is it exactly?

In my quest to find some answers, and ask women about their views on this issue, I went to Jumma Bazar near Khayaban-e-Ittehad.

It was an interesting and eye-opening experience to say the least. To begin with, it was difficult to convince women to talk in front of the camera. We literally had to chase after a few, be extra polite and add an ‘aunty please’ after every sentence to make them answer our questions.

I asked them if they thought street harassment was common in Pakistan and if they had ever been harassed. Most of them had a story or two to tell about how men frequently create problems for them at places like bus stops and bazaars.

“Men deliberately bump into women in the market place,” said one woman.

Their solution? Beating them up and not shying away from creating a scene. One woman bodly accepted,

Mai ne chamaat mara kheench ke

(I slapped him very hard)

However, what I found a bit disappointing and disturbing was that they blamed their own gender.

“Some women ask for it by dressing improperly,” they said.

“Men can’t be blamed all the time; women can be at fault too,” was another answer.

How unfortunate that they feel this way.

If a woman has a dupatta wrapped around her, does this guarantee that she will not be harassed in our country?

Will no man stare at her then?

Does every man lower his gaze when he sees a modestly dressed woman?

Read more by Madiha here.

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Madiha Saeed

A business graduate who enjoys literature and arts.

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