Sexually harassed in Pakistan, with or without a hijab

Published: November 3, 2012

For those who argue that hijab — and not any other form of modest clothing — would help in warding off roving gazes, they are mistaken. PHOTO: REUTERS

I have spent two years in Boston, a city that comes close to Karachi in terms of being, what is called, a metropolis. It may not be as large or chaotic as Karachi, but the comparison qualifies for the purpose of this piece.

While in Boston, I often found myself walking home from college at ungodly hours because I had to put in a lot of time studying at the library. In the time I spent there, I received around six or seven emails from the Boston University Police reporting crimes at or near the campus, much of them involving knife-wielding mugging. Hence, while walking home, I would be alert about who was around me. Never did I encounter a single incident where I felt unsafe or agitated by the roving eyes of men.

Now I would like to express how it feels to be back home. Right from the time I landed at the airport, I got a rude awakening when I witnessed the utter lack of respect for women on Karachi’s streets. For too long, the narrative of sexual harassment in Pakistan has blamed the woman for being dressed immodestly. However, women in the West often dress, what many here will consider immodest and yet, the men there do not ogle at them like they do here. Many will now be quick to point out that the US has the highest number of statistics on incidence of rape. But the US, compared with Pakistan, also has much higher crime-reporting statistics too.

For those who argue that hijab — and not any other form of modest clothing — would help in warding off roving gazes, they are mistaken. It riles me when men ascribe to this reasoning, for they have never been in the shoes of a woman, with or without hijab. There are plenty of women who observe hijab and still face sexual harassment in public.

If covering up from head to toe is the answer to warding off lecherous gazes, then how does the West manage to prevent men from ogling at liberally dressed women?

The answer;

They have laws in place for sexual harassment in public places, which even includes visually-conducted harassment. Men in Pakistan have never been punished when they resort to this sin, thereby, limiting women’s freedom and unfairly making them scapegoats for actions of men.

Read more by Mifrah here

Mifrah Haq

Mifrah Haq

Sub-editor at the The Express Tribune Magazine, Mifrah is a Boston University Alumnus, having graduated in International Relations and International Communication.

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

  • shuja ul islam

    not that we want to…we are nothing and never be like the stop comparing…and as far the staring goes..its down right atrocious..but no LAW can stop the staring..!!Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Well said.

    Telling women to dress extra-conservatively to avoid sexual harassment, is like telling me I have to stop earning money so I don’t get robbed. Say we try a new, untested strategy of punishing the perpetrator rather than blaming the victim?Recommend

  • tahir

    u need to stop speaking against hijab this isnt france and ur mission will not be accomplishedRecommend

  • Parvez

    Completely agree. Its not in the dress, its in the head and what’s in the head can only be corrected through a long process of enlightened education blah, blah, absolutely not workable. A quick fix, would be, cutting the head off, meaning severely punish the perpetrator, this to is iffy, as the one designated to do the punishing is most likely, sick in the head as well.Recommend

  • Sanya

    EXACTLY what I’ve been telling people since day 1. They will still go ahead and say things like, “No if she covers herself no man will look at her” Ogling and sexual harassment have more to do with what kind of a human being that man is, as opposed to what the woman is wearing. HIJAB or NO HIJAB, harassment still takes place.Recommend

  • Lokhaze

    I think wearing or not wearing a hijab is a personal choice… It somehow seems like those who wear a hijab are forced to do so… That is not the case… There is no such compulsion… I think we are talking about Hijab a lot more than it needs to be talked about… Recommend

  • Ibrahim


    Well, I have a suggestion here that can make this dialogue a WIN-WIN for boys and girls.

    First, yes, only hijab cant stop sexual harassment. It works two ways, i.e. men should respect women. So, how will this be possible?

    1) Education (Educate all for free. Use religion/law etc)
    2) Enforce LAW so people can be punnished if they disobey. (the state needs to do this)
    3) Women should also be carefull by wearing hijab so that it helps men stay in their limits.

    Thanks for reading :) Recommend

  • Nandita.

    When I lived in Mumbai, I’d wear anything that caught my fancy – a short skirt or shorts and I never faced a single incident of harassment. I wasn’t ogled or stared at, was never followed by men. I felt absolutely safe. I’ve always been at ease in west/south India.

    But the same can’t be said of north India. In places like Gurgaon, I’ve had the worst experiences. Even if I’m dressed in the most modest of Salwar Kameezes ( which I always am when I visit north India ), there are always men who try to grope me or try to get friendly.
    So, it’s nothing to do with the dress, the problem lies with the attitude of men at a particular place.Recommend

  • Zia

    What else do u expect from us? You should write about Nurgis or Saima’s dance performances.Recommend

  • Nadir

    Doesnt the Quran ask men to lower their gaze? Why is the onus on women to begin with. In a pious Muslim society shouldnt a women be able to walk around naked and not feel threatened?Recommend

  • shuja ul islam

    dont get engaged in stereotyping..u guys are funny…n tell me u never gazed opposite sex longer than usual..!!??Recommend

  • khawar

    so thats means u get naked and no one will notice u…..i dont agree….that is the reason NABI S.A.W.W said use big clothe piece like (chadar)or a proper dupatta…Recommend

  • Sharique

    This is simply nonsensical article I have ever read… wasted time….. Recommend

  • Ammarttitude

    Gottta agree to this :| I know some of our Pakistanis brothers are really really, what you call ‘Tharkey’ and ‘Desi PoOnds’.. This is on of the worst things about Pakistani ‘Pai’.. :/

    Coming from a BOY, you heard me.. :(Recommend

  • Saad Arif

    The problem is not created by not wearing Hijab neither it can be avoided if a woman starts wearing the veil. It is all about education and mindset. I’m will not go ahead and start comparing Pakistan with any other country but YES the problem is, there is no Law-enforcement.

    Islam not only asks the woman to protect her dignity by wearing Hijab or whatever means but it also requires MEN to be decent and not to stare at women regardless of the fact whether she is wearing a Hijab or not. Recommend

  • Final Count Down

    I wonder..did the lady actually spit out truth or just tried something else here. Another example of google scholars and another example of not so good at facts.

    I wonder, did she actually contacted Hijabians and asked for their version? or did she try to contact ladies in France, fighting for their right for Hijab? I mean someone really asked a right question:

    Who let this girl out of Kitchen??Recommend

  • ibrahim nadir

    Few things the writer should consider doing:

    1- Don’t compare us to the west. In west, guys arent frustrated like they are here as you know well.

    2- Respect yourself and others will respect you. Wear burqa one day and pent next day. You will feel the difference yourself. While in rome do as romans do.

    3- You can’t put someone in jail for staring. No one can implement such a law. It will at most make it to the books of law and nothing more than that!

    But one thing that applies to all the guys who stare is – FIX THEIR MINDS, which is not an easy thing to do.

    This is a huge topic and many arguments can be made nevertheless.Recommend

  • Adil Yousuf

    I doubt any law can prove to be helpful considering that there are already so many laws being broken in our country. Implementation of law requires money and morally sound law enforcement agents. Both things are not enough in our nation.Recommend

  • A

    Pointless article.

    Men in our society are so starved for any kind of visual stimulation.
    Women in the West do not care about being stared at. Most of them take it as a compliment.

    The only comparison you can make is in the upbringing: Pakistan’s society doesn’t teach the children moral values. The parents want the teacher to do it, the teachers want the molvis to do it and the molvis…I think you get my point!Recommend

  • Fascist

    It seems the writer is unaware of the problems faced in the western society. According to a source, out of 4 women, 1 women has been raped/harassed/molested in America.
    Furthermore, according to a documentary named ‘Invisible war’ (you can find it on the Internet) an estimated 80% of the women in army are atleast once raped in their career. 20% of the women have reported rape yet none finds justice.

    The film notes that women are often penalized for alleging sexual assault and are required to report such attacks to their chain-of-command superior, who in some cases is the accused rapist. Single women raped by married men have been charged with adultery, while their attackers go unpunished.

  • Dharamveer Nimiwal

    Pakistan is not alone in this matter. Same is the case here in India. Molesting, rapes.. list continues. And every time such incident happens, “people” say women should dress properly. You will not believe, If you are a girl in India, born after 1985, no matter what you wear, you will be molested at least once in your life. Its guaranteed.Recommend

  • intelektual

    @shuja ul islam:
    “but no LAW can stop the staring”
    No law unenforced wud stop the staring ! One example of a “Tarro” eveteaser being punished 10’s of other tarroos frm doing it ! make it a sure shot thing that crimes do not go unpunished and crime rates wud go down drastically !Recommend


    We have to obey what QURAN says. It says cover yourself, we have to do it. It says to men to lower their gaze, they have to do it. period!. We are here to obey our religious book. Do not put your mind to it. Because mind does not accept what it does not like regardless of whether or not it becomes contradictory to religious beliefs.Recommend

  • mbs

    nicely composed article and i must say i cudnt agree with you moreRecommend

  • shuja ul islam

    how would u punish the the tarroo…and more importantly how would u catch him..u cannot just go up to him and say “chalo bhai bohat tarr lia..pata hai na criminal offence hai..”” law forced or otherwise can stop the staring..only the person being oogled not giving any kind of reaction..and its just sumthng women hve to live with in Pakistan..!!Recommend

  • http://Google Nasser

    What a waste of time, comparing apples w/oranges, an intellectual affront. Men are men lady, BUT modest dressing aka ‘hiding your curve’ does minimize the damage a bit, so to speak. We men will tend to lower our gaze more often and respect your modesty – IF we find you are not the type who likes to flaunt your figure. See if you can figure that one out.Recommend

  • Salman

    At least hijab reduces those chances, and at times women have to be strong themselves, that they can be harsh with men that stare or do something harassing rather than ignore it women should do something, if I am right in Pakistan if you mess with a women and she shouts out about it, the public beats up that guy! That’s how things go here.
    Hijab reduces the chances of harassment who will be harassed more a girl in sleeveless or a girl in hijab, common sense DUH.Recommend

  • Anwar

    See the solution for this simple. Our religion has asked both men and women to observe some code of conduct for women to dress modest and for men to keep their gaze lower. And the police definetely need to have law strictly for immodesty. Recommend

  • Hajra

    and for your information I live in Egypt, more than 90% ladies wear hijaab and Egypt is the highest in middle east for harassment, all kind, sexual, verbal, visual, groping you name it! wt that tells you? it says that you must educate your BOYS when they r growing up, how to behave in public n private, I think muslims must except their prob of sexual fascination and address it and find solution but to blame women for their harami thoughts!Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK


    It seems the writer is unaware of the problems faced in the western society. According to a source, out of 4 women, 1 women has been raped/harassed/molested in America.

    It usually helps if we read the article first, and not blindly throw our cliched, well-rehearsed arguments.
    The author wrote:

    Many will now be quick to point out that the US has the highest number of statistics on incidence of rape. But the US, compared with Pakistan, also has much higher crime-reporting statistics too.Recommend

  • Sonia

    Why does any blog that has the word “Sex” in its title draw so many comments?Recommend

  • smoothoperator

    I live in Australia for two years.. N can to an extend relate my life to life in US… Women in western world are easy to approach… n Man in this part of world can fulfill their desires on almost every Saturday night, with a different girl (Yea I felt a bit ashamed writing this, as Women here are used as a toilet paper, weirdly women find satisfaction in it….A glimpse can be seen in their movies as women wants man to find her attractive so that she can call herself sexy.. N that is a bitter truth… marriages never last long, people take anti-depressing pills and are not able to find internal satisfaction what so ever (of course there will be exceptions)..

    On the other hand, All man in the east can see is the glimpse from the movies or any other form of media (directly or indirectly) and their desire force them to act wrongly. Of course man should be blamed for his acts but the root cause of such acts should also be considered.. Islam has taught us a simple way, Marriages at the early age, May be from 18 onward should be promoted to reduce such acts.. Hijab as it acts as a shield for women should also be promoted.Recommend

  • Phoond

    So why Do Girls Go Out Wearing All Those Revealing Clothes..?? Its for Me to See…!!!Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Not a convincing comparison … I mean you are comparing the situation in Pakistan with that of in the US? You must be joking! The men in the west are ‘used to’ seeing women in tank tops and skirts.. whereas for men in PAkistan sleeveless has just started becoming common, (that too in the metro cities). When a human becomes accustomed to something, the fascination/value attached to it decreases. How can you possibly compare the men in both countries? And I do believe covering up properly reduces a womans chances of being harrassed.Recommend

  • Saeed swabian

    Harassing the women is actually a fun of some uneducated,sex-starved,and a certain or say,ill-mindset who amuse themselves by gazing,shouting,and harassing the innocent girls(sleeveless kurta,jeans,or pent-shirt wearing innocents),as we see in old indian m0vies where every of a gangster mind wants to grip the girl, going alöne.
    Here in karachi its practicle where girls get annoyed by what we say “lofar” lafang”.
    But its to0 to some percent the affected girls fault,like the author saying “harassment is must while wear hijab or n0t”

    So this am agree with the above one saying “who let her out of kitchen” .Recommend

  • Muhammad Fahad Khan

    Try to wear thr Lehnga & Sharara & than walk on the streets of US… People will definitely stare you more than in khi….Recommend

  • Tim Gunnery

    East, west,etc. Where you are doesn’t negate the difference between right and wrong….If a person wishes to walk along the road completelty naked, they should be able to do so without be attacked or molested…the punishment should be directed towards those who are unable to control their lust and desires. Those who preach otherwise should be castrated and removed from the human gene pool, Relion is irrelevent when it involves basic human rights and behaviour.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    @Tim Gunnery:
    Althought I dont doubt your nice intentions, Im certainly GLAD people are NOT being able to walk around openly without clothing. That would be a horrendous sight.Recommend

  • JB

    Dear Ms Mifrah: The reason you extracted from the events and statistics is simply bogus. Things are different here. If moving cloth-less is fashion, then animals are the most fashioned creatures on Earth. Your mindset is that the reason for wearing a Hijab is to prevent a sexual abuse. Take this in a bigger picture, with your mind clearing difference between Hijab and ‘Burqa’. Hijab is a very big term. Hijab is of eyes, Hijab is of tongue, Hijab is of ears, and I cannot understand a Muslim (Women in this case only) reaching the level of Taqwa (i.e taking that inner Hijab I just mentioned) can move on the streets without a covering her head and private parts.. well its a long discussion and I can only suggest or say advise everyone that do write -personal view- whenever you are commenting on issues like these.
    Those much interested, read Ayatullah Murtaza Muttahri and Imam Khomeini’s views on these issues and counter their arguments. :)
    Read this too:

  • Nitish

    Nandita,I think you r exaggerating this issue.According to you ,girls in delhi always wear salwar kamiz.No not at all.I lived in delhi around 2008,and i can tell you soon delhi is turning out to be another france.Some people say that dehi is hot .Do you know why?Its all coz of beautiful girls and their attire.They wear whatever they want either it may be tight jeans or mini skirt. i hardly saw bahenjis in delhi .Yes i agree stalkers r there.But delhites r very smart.They know how to deal with those.Shila dixit is also very active in insuring security of woman .Dare i say,delhi is getting westernized.And oh ,of course how can i forget roaming around rose garden beside IIT,delhi.Now actually i m staying in bangalore.Scenario is completely different here.People r more culture centric.Girls r not ogled here ,all coz they dont have white skin.But as influx of north indian population increased,somewhat changes r visible here as well.What i basically mean to say that in south india girls have black skin ,so hardly one stares them(dont take it racial,its my perspective).Law and order situation is also good.But Girls should feel more freer..thats how i think.As india saw boom in IT sector,girls started getting decent jobs.Change in life style..Then came bollywood influence..but alas our men specially uneducated lot is not ready to adapt to the changes.They unnecessarily want to take advantage of girls.That is the whole story.Moreover a sizable illiterate minority population who do not want to join main stream.Strict law and order possibly can bring more results.Recommend

  • Nandita.


    I am not talking about experiences of girls in Delhi, I was narrating my experiences. I don’t remember ever visiting Delhi and not being harassed. Whether it’s male colleagues in the delhi office badgering me for a date (before i got married) or random men passing cheap comments or trying to grope me – I experience this sort of harassment only in the North. I guess I’m entitled to my opinion Also, I didn’t comment on how delhi girls dress – I specifically said I dress up in salwar kameezes when visiting north India because girls from Maharashtra are not used to such harassment and we don’t quite know how to handle it.

    I don’t think there are any south indians who visit this site but if there are – please do take nitish’s case for the racist remark about south Indian women.

    Please let’S end it at this. I am in no mood to argue.Recommend

  • Nabila

    I studied in a university in US and I agree with Mifrah Haq’s argument. I want to add that US has the highest number of statistics on incidence of rape because their definition of rape is very different than Pakistani definition i.e. marital rape is never discussed in Pakistan. They surely are strict in this matter, and women have more protection there. Secondly, most cases go unreported in Pakistan. Raped women don’t go to police station and families hide it because of more oppressed culture against women.Recommend

  • Bilal

    its because immodestly dressed women are a norm in the west and not in pakistan so men stare, secondly every man over there is getting some action or the other whereas men in pakistan have to wait till theyr almost 30 to get some. its all about psychology and biology nothing to do with hijab.Recommend

  • Nabila

    So you read it because of this word SEX.Recommend

  • Sa

    i’ve lived in two major cities of Pakistan Karachi and Islamabad and I cover myself from top to bottom except for my face, even i am not spared, dress or no dress pakistani men especially middle-age ones will never stop harassing women, so don’t expect anything from themRecommend

  • Sana

    I would not agree with your article.

    The point is simple, what Allah has said in the Quran, to argue against it or to ask for explanations is stupid as Allah who has made the whole world, knows the best for us and the world. The female is considered best when she is covered. Just consider a sweet which is lying on the beach for hours without a wrapper, will u eat it or will you prefer a sweet which is properly packed and clean. Same is the woman, she is extremely precious in front of Allah and the humans if she is covered.
    Do you keep money in a wallet or carry it naked in your hands?
    Do you take meat covered or naked in your hands?
    Money is kept safe as it is precious and even meat is kept in a shopping bag.
    Even if rules and regulations are imposed and all the males punished for staring at girls, still males have a natural attraction for women which Allah has given them.

    Allah has said, if I (Allah) come out of my parda (cover), the whole universe will be destroyed and the day of Judgement will come. Same Allah has said for women, when a female will become naked, the brain of a man will stop working. All men will become useless as they will stare the beauty of the female.

    Try this you will see it yourself … Why has mujras increased, why is sex so cheap and open and marriages so difficult and expensive, why is the divorce rate increasing, why are boys demanding to marry only pretty girls,……..

    This is all due to the female getting bold, confident and modern. Females should do everything but in parda. They should study, work, do shopping, etc. etc. but in parda.Recommend

  • Azeem Iqbal

    So you simply want to say that because laws are not being implemented in Pakistan correctly women are facing sexual harrasment even after wearing a burqa. So, you nail your own argument with your own argument. This is not a question of whether Burqa prevents this or not its a question that when the laws will be implemented in Pakistan as even burqa is now not able to stop these acts! Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    In many Musli countries women even in burqa get sexually harrassed. I guess Muslim men are not used to SEEING women at all even in burqa.

    A womn’s dress can’t control control hormones or thoughts of men who look at her.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @A: “Pakistan’s society doesn’t teach the children moral values.”

    So you think Pakistani Men harrass women because they have not been taught moral values. I have a feeing all adults and young people know what is morally right or morally wrong with exceptions of mentally challenged psychotic people.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nandita.: Yep.Born and brought up n Mumbai and same experience here. It does not just stop at ogling in Delhi. If you are waiting to hail an auto, at least 2 or 3 arbit people wil stop and offer a ride when you had given no indication whatsoever that you wanted to hitch a ride. In Baroda during Navaratri, groups of girls can be walking back all decked up and in fine jewellery totaly unescorted at 3 am in the night and no-one will bother them.

    One thing though – in India even in Mumbai – you did not meet the yes of strangers or smile, if you were in the elevator or something. That is pretty routine in the US – atleast down south.Recommend

  • Hindu Indian

    @Ayesha Pervez: The question again gets raised, why should wat i wear matter to you, if you dont want to watch something try closing your eyes. Dont expect someone else not to do something just because you dont find it nice.

    @Others: Those who think “staring” cannot be stopped, there is a difference between “looking” and “staring”. Looking” is inevitable, “staring” can be stopped because every guy is a kid at some stage, if you teach the kid good habits(i dont mean read Quran day in and day out) and explain the meaning of it, i am sure they will stop the activities,Afterall these kids learn things from their parents ;).

    @Rest: For the rest who think hijab saves a girl from getting molested/reduced the probability, i would suggest chain your daughters to some pillar inside the house, that will solve your problems.

    @Author: Nice effort, but over the past 2 years i realised that advocating doesnt help. But you have the spirit to go on. All the bestRecommend

  • HoneyBunny

    Good one !Recommend

  • Sudheer

    I strongly object to your distasteful and downright racist comment, though you have requested not to be taken it as such. For you, it seems, beauty lies in the color of the the skin. Darker the girl and lesser she is prone to the harassment. Your mindset or perhaps your twisted taste, is really pathetic. I am from Hyderabad south, but my grandparents were from Punjab/Haryana who migrated to the South during Nizams era. And therefore, yes, I and my family members are relatively fair skinned than the people of the south, but, trust me buddy South Indian girls are breathtakingly beautiful! Yes, not every girl is beautiful, but, that applies to every other country/ethnicity/race etc., after all beautiful people are rare and rest of us have just ordinary looks. Besides, physical beauty is not everything, it is the personality of the person that decides his/her level of attractiveness. There was a woman(in her mid thirties} in our office who had just average looks, but, her cheerful and compassionate personality made her so popular amongst us that if she ever abstained from duty, the whole office looked like a barren desert.
    I need not have to remind you that how many southern damsels ruled bollywood for so many decades and still do. Who can forget Bengal’s, in your words another “dark” state’s, mesmeric heartthrobs like Moon moon Sen, Mala Sinha, Sharmila Tagore and queen of the Universe Sushmita Sen?
    I too have lived and experienced lifestyles of many cities of India. Apart from Hyderabad, my home city, I fell in love with Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Ahmadabad, Bhopal and of course Chennai despite its horrible weather. All these cities, I can say, are extremely safe for women. Although, no place is 100% safe, but in these cities women can reach their home unmolested even in the late hours, irrespective of their color of skin or nature of the dress.
    I am not that confident of Delhi. Yes, as you said, girls in Delhi are about beat in fashion their counterparts in Mumbai and Bangalore but, local men are yet to learn a lesson or two in mannerism.
    As for the teasing and harassing women in public places is concerned, all I can say is that the men who take pleasure in doing this are in fact suffer from deep sense of insecurity and lack self confidence. They are the losers in the true sense.Recommend

  • Red

    Muhammad Fahad Khan:
    Try to wear thr Lehnga & Sharara & than walk on the streets of US… People will definitely stare you more than in khi….

    Been there, done that. I wore a shalwar kameez in the US, even to a bar, no one batted an eyelid. Most people don’t even notice, they are too busy with their own friends and life. Recommend

  • shiza

    I believe that it works both ways. Women can not go around dressed inappropriately, differently, because mind you different is what grabs attention. Also because the men in our society are so sex deprived, they would grab whatever comes in their hands! So yeahh modesty is needed.
    The men however, can not be excused just for the fact that women are ‘putting up a show of themselves.’
    From a personal experience; I was at a movie shop in karachi, and when I asked the guy to take out a particular movie for me, he asked to fix my shirt first because I had not realised its neck was falling. I mean, who gave the guy rights to comment on what I wear?!?!Recommend

  • Red

    I agree with the author. To the woman who said the two are not comparable and that people in the US are used to seeing women dressed like that I would like to add that residents of Pakistani enclaves in the US are also used to it but regardless of how many years they have lived there or even if they have been born in the States to immigrant parents, they still behave abominably (and I spent my time in Pakistani neighborhoods in the winters fully covered up because, well, it’s winters…you can’t walk around wearing sleeveless unless you want to freeze to death…it’s the only place where I have been sexually harassed so far). It has more to do with parenting and the values we impart to our children. If you keep repeating ad infinitum that any woman who steps outside is fair game and should know better than to put herself in such situations or wear these or those kinds of clothes instead of condemning the behavior of sexual harassers, well, what do you expect?

    I would like to add that a lot of women in Pakistan face their first sexual harassment, which invariably involves groping and physical contact in markets, when they are children of about 10-13 years. You could say Pakistan has a “culture” of pedophilia (people loooove to talk about “culture” as an explanation for all sorts of horrid crimes against women). Children are not obliged to cover themselves so the clothing argument stands moot (not that I think it has any value in ANY case but just to get people using their brain cells). It is high time men started taking responsibility for their lewd, uncouth crimes.

    Btw, you may want to read this:

    While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing. (140) In a study to test whether males could determine whether women were high or low in passiveness and submissiveness, Richards and her colleagues found that men, using only nonverbal appearance cues, could accurately assess which women were passive and submissive versus those who were dominant and assertive. (141) Clothing was one of the key cues: “Those females high in passivity and submissiveness (i.e., those at greatest risk for victimization) wore noticeably more body-concealing clothing (i.e., high necklines, long pants and sleeves, multiple layers).” (142) This suggests that men equate body-concealing clothing with passive and submissive qualities, which are qualities that rapists look for in victims. Thus, those who wore provocative clothes would not be viewed as passive or submissive, and would be less likely to be victims of assault. (145)

    You can extend this to sexual harassment:

    “[a]ccording to this model, male dominance is maintained by cultural patterns of male-female interaction as well as by economic and political superordinancy. Society rewards males for aggressive and domineering sexual behaviors and females for passivity and acquiescence. . . . [T]he function of sexual harassment is to manage ongoing male-female interactions according to accepted sex status norms, and to maintain male dominance occupationally and therefore economically, by intimidating, discouraging, or precipitating removal of women from work.” (149) If, as studies of rapists suggest, harassers look for more passive or submissive women, women who are provocatively dressed may appear more confident and are therefore less likely to be considered appropriate targets by potential harassers (150).

    In other words, if I look like I can give you trouble for coming after me (or beat you up…which is important because if you go to sexual harassment sites, you’ll notice in witness testimonies that tall, large women are significantly less likely to be harassed…harassers will NEVER pick on someone their own size. This is also why children and teens are harassed more frequently…they make an easier, meeker target.), I am less likely to be victimized.Recommend

  • dastan

    biology says that men are visually drawn creatures unlike women. there is a difference between ogling at a liberally dressed female and staring at a modestly dressed one. over here in our society on one hand religion and culture prevents us from sexual engagements while the women’s role in society is getting as much like the west with the passage of time. these two can’t co-exist. again it goes both ways…men are visual creatures who need distinct visual sights to satisfy their needs while women are not like men. which means that scientifically women are more sophisticated and with higher morals then men. men need to lower their gaze and women should stop provoking their gaze to be raised.Recommend

  • Salwa Kirk

    Some Muslim men are so arrogant, especially some who have posted on this page, that it almost beggars belief. It is simply not good enough to keep poking fingers at the West. You need to look in your own backyards.

    Like the writer, I have been leered at and ogled by Muslim men in a way I have NEVER been by Western men. It has very little to do with what a woman wears and everything to do with the quality of the man. Decent men would not dream of making a woman feel uncomfortable. It is about time men took responsibility for their behaviour rather than making women take it for them. If Muslim men are frustrated, and I am sure they are, then it is time they started making our religion relevant to the modern day.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nitish: “Nandita,I think you r exaggerating this issue.According to you ,girls in delhi always wear salwar kamiz.”

    I do not believe Nandita said that. She said, she always wears salwar kameez when visiting NCR and yet she has to suffer eve teasing while she can dress more liberally in Mumbai, south or east without worrying about eve teasing. I think most women can confirm that experience. IF some girls in Delhi dress liberally, it simply means they have decided not to be intimidated by eveteasers – it does not mean they do not suffer eve teasing. Recommend

  • yousaf

    @author:: ‘ITS a DRESS,not a YES’, Depends where you live.They were not wrong when they advised someone who was going to Rome.This I say only about the dress.The centre-point of the article is an eternally unresolvable issue. Recommend

  • Pir Bulleh Shah

    The only answer is for women to completely cover themselves and for men to keep their eyes down. Islam has thought of the answer already. Why are people wasting their time reinventing the wheel? Do any of you know better than Allah? Recommend

  • Akhter

    In my opinion i feel the writer has touched on the exact problem we have in Pakistan. It is a fact that women/girls dare not venture out alone as this will first of all be seen as immoral behavior on their part with all the innuendo’s that go along with this. The problem stems from lack of respect for women in general and the thinking that women should be “locked in the kitchen” In Pakistan freedom is a big issue as for too long we have been policed on political/religious views. We find anything that displays independence to be a threat.
    Women are made to feel insecure with direct eye contact as this the men feel re-affirms there supremacy. (the thought is how dare this Girl/Woman walk around in public? why does she not have a man in the house? if she has come out of the house then i have every right to Ogle her! maybe i might get lucky?) What we men fail to recognize is that the Hijab should not be on the woman but it should be on our eyes. Our Morality/strength of character and respect for all women regardless of caste/creed should be the same as that for our own sister/mother. We forget that every time we stare/ogle at a women be it with or without Hijaab we are committing Zinnah.
    For those people quick to jump on the bandwagon against USA or west a point for you to think about is that first of all they do not have the beautiful religion of Islam (hence crime rate) secondly Crime reporting is major issue in Pakistan, I doubt anyone girl/women who has been molested/raped will report the crime, Police results on this front are dismal at best and once the poor wretch has reported the rape/crime who will marry her? (most cases she gets blamed for getting raped molested) PLEASE THINK ABOUT IT.Recommend

  • Salman

    @Red: What are you doing on this site using statistics, logic, research and science? Don’t you know we don’t like to critically analyze things and believe everything the mullah tells us? Go back to your civilized world and let us continue in our harassment ways. Recommend

  • RZ

    Repression, especially sexual repression is evil. Exploitation, especially sexual exploitation is evil. God wants our freedom in truth. True freedom as an individual & as a society is free from all repression & exploitation. God loves us completely including the sexual part of us that loves others without exploiting anyone including ourselves. Live comfortable with your sexuality instead of repressing a large vibrant passionate part of yourself & your love. Having women covering themselves up completely is completely repressive, lacking of freedom & true spirituality. This hurts God.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @gp65; :) Thankyou.

    @Sudheer: A big Thanks to you as well, but I do believe he’s beyond repair. ;) Recommend

  • Cacha Cricket

    Too many liberals sitting here in ET..Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    Why would it be a horrendous sight ? One has to be really grotesque to feel ashamed of their body. But I must say without clothes the Textile industry would be dead. Recommend

  • sid

    Eve teasing is a major issue in North India………… South asians are biggest hypocraites in the world.They talk about religion and culture and do or dream of doing every so called immoral things………I bet u 50% rapes go unreported due to fear and honour issues……

    But i found South Indians and East Indians very respecting………..Recommend

  • Nitish

    @gp65:I think,Nandita is taking it little with personal,so i m not going to reply her anymore.But she got offended as some random guy tried to be friendly with her,is somewhat natural in delhi.Girls r very friendly there.If you do not know how to deal with some nut case,then obviously delhi is nightmare for you. I dont want to write more about girls in delhi ,all coz its a foreign platform and i have my own reservations.

    @Sudheer: And where i said ,south indian girls r not beautiful.They r not fairer…..thats all. Read my comment properly ,i said its my own perspective,where girls with darker skin r less prone to harassment.All in north india as well have not fairer skin.You have your own views .For that ,you need not to be offended.And When i said its not racial,i mean to say no way ,i consider person with black skin inferior to fairer one.Recommend

  • Gilani

    Please spare me from this hijaab or no hijaab debate! Why don’t you leave then? Who is stopping you?

    PS. I must say a girl in bikini would turn me on more, while I yawn at the sight of a burqa-clad woman. So. Ummm. Yeah.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed

    I believe hijab solves the problem to the best. Recommend

  • Nitish

    @gp65: I do not believe Nandita said that. She said, she always wears salwar kameez when visiting NCR and yet she has to suffer eve teasing while she can dress more liberally in Mumbai, south or east without worrying about eve teasing
    I believe every place has its own culture and people living there r used to it. As i said earlier ,they(girls in delhi) wear whatever they want.Eve teasing is not a bigger issue as she portrayed,otherwise they would have changed their way of dressing or lifestyle.Infact delhi is getting more and more westernized. Thats why i said ,she is exaggerating the issue.Recommend

  • http://gujrat Zalim singh

    @ Mifrah Haq

    the reason Pakistani men behave the way they do- they are kept away from women’s company. Women are kept under veil. So they treat women as some kind of exotic creatures. It is a natural human tendency. Hijab/ Burqas are not natural dresses. they are but monstrous deviations.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Adeel Ahmed: Why does the onus of solving a problem that stems from the male attitude, rest with the female ?
    If all males were born blind – that too would be another solution.Recommend

  • Proud Man

    after reading such articles, i feel proud to be a man :DRecommend

  • BlackJack

    I may be wasting my time, but will still give it a shot. Women do not get raped in Delhi because of their attire or how friendly they are – they get raped because the average Joe has more libido than class – and this is true across economic strata. You read every second or third day of some school girl getting raped in a moving car – I assume the school uniform was too tight and inviting? Pls examine your statements once before commenting. See the link below – Delhi has more than double the rape cases compared to Bombay.
    In Bangalore, my wife and I used to go for walks at least twice a week in the late evenings – as you probably know, Bangalore is very green and there are many parks in most residential localities. When we moved to Gurgaon, we tried the same thing once – took a short walk at around 6 – 6.30 in the evening to see how it felt. During the 20 min walk, a couple of autos drove by slowly ogling by wife, and some two wheelers actually circled back for another look! Needless to say, all walks since then were within our apartment complex and we took the car even to go 5 min away. People there just don’t have any culture – it has nothing to do with friendliness or lack thereof.Recommend

  • Survivor of sexual abuse

    I agree with writer’s view. Women In Hijab do face harassment. I practice Hijab on regular basis and I can still see men eyes on me >_<Recommend

  • Nitish

    @Sudheer: Bengal is north-east india…..Recommend

  • Nitish

    @Sudheer: Fyi,Bengal is north-east india…..Recommend

  • Huzaifa Zafar

    Nah nah maza nhi aaya parh k .. your arguments are void … west is west, east is east. baat khatam.

    Sexual attraction always exists no matter what. It is upto the person to observe modesty or not.

    Be clear on your definition of visual sexual ‘harassment’. A person who can be called ‘handsome’, or ‘attractive’ in your eyes stares you, and you are okay with it (I can bet on that) even if he stares you for hours. A sweeper, driver, chapraasi etc stares you and you call that harassment.

    Change yourself first, then ask others to change, or complain. Recommend

  • The TRUTH

    All the women who are saying that Hijab does not protect them from being harrassed,,, hate the hijaab and want to go out half naked… but unfotunately in Pak they are not being able to do so thats why they are venting their frustration here…Recommend

  • abhi

    @nandita, gp65, blackjack

    I don’t think there is any point in this north vs south or mumbai vs delhi debate. My wife told me that she felt people ogling at her when she went out wearing jeans in Mumbai (that too in posh area near Hiranandani complex powai).

    Also I think claiming that south there is no sexual harrasment is also overstatement. Lately many cases are making headlines in Bangalore and Pune which were suppose to be the cultural centers. And don’t start blaming outsider because in all the cases the people involved were locals. I think it has more to do with modern urban society meeting rural society due to expansion of the city. And rural people don’t know how to react if they see females wearing different type of cloths they are used see earlier. Recommend

  • Nitish

    @BlackJack: *You read every second or third day of some school girl getting raped in a moving car – I assume the school uniform was too tight and inviting? Pls examine your statements once before commenting
    Oh god,sir i never said that girls in delhi r being raped coz of tight uniform or dress is too inviting.Infact i m all for more and more freedom to woman.Actually you r twisting the meaning of my comment and rape was never the point of discussion.
    When i first time came to Karnatka(actually to join NIT,surathkal),its almost nightmare for me.Bangalore is not overcrowded like delhi but still hours of jam,poor bus service and lack of infrastructure irritated me.I found like i dropped myself from a city to village.Still perception has not changed though banglore changed a lot in last 3 year. Yes weather is very nice here as compared to delhi.But else bangalore is boring.I will try my best to join somewhere around delhi or NCR.Thats another point.
    I think you have mistaken that part of my comment where i said,”i dont want to write more about girls in delhi”.My meaning was different.Sir have you ever been to rose garden,green park or many other park in delhi.You can watchout open sex going on in public. of-course many r unmarried couple .Some Girls r so freer that they dont mind to have sex ,just one has to offer them few shot of vodka.There was a hue and cry when govt took the decision to cut 100000 trees from parks around Delhi. Girls r very fiendIy there.So every one try their luck.Girls really dont mind and can easily deny their offer as well.Rape is a different issue and should be handled with proper law.But consensual sex is very common in delhi as compared to other part of india.I have been to cubbon park or many other park in bangalore.From my experience i can say that people here r very much cultured .PDA is in limited manner.,when i was first time in delhi with my dad,a couple next to my seat,going on smooching each other.Thank god ,my dad didnt see that.Such is the delhi.But when someone complains that some guy wanted to be friendly with me unknowingly,in delhi.what can be opinion from anyone….its natural. No one is forcing you.if you dont want Just deny him…thats all.
    Law and order problem is a big issue .what you said is correct and no sane person will disagree with you.But comparing delhi or northindia to pakistan is something i dont agree with.I think some people,specially from mumbai have some kinda problem or jealousy with north india,otherwise there was no need to write such foolish comment on a foreign platform.And thats why sir i opposed them.
    @moderator i dont know whether my comment is well within your policy or not.But if possible pl publish it.Recommend

  • Haris

    I think it is downright disgusting that even some women in our society believe in blaming other women as perpetrators in such cases. It has been deeply ingrained into our minds that it is always the woman’s responsibility to keep herself safe from such incidents and not “sway” or weaken the man’s “iman”. This requires a change at the grassroots level we need to tell our children that no, it is not the woman’s responsibility to make sure that a man is not attracted to her.Recommend

  • Haris

    @Dharamveer Nimiwal:Dude I read that in some city they were blaming chow mein for rape.Recommend

  • Sudheer

    @Sudheer: Bengal is north-east india…..
    What is the problem with you man? I didn’t react to your first reply to my post, because I believe that everybody is entitled to retain his/her opinion. But what is the purpose of your second reply? Are you really trying teach me the geography of India? Or are you saying that the Bengali beauties that I named were in fact belong to your “fairer” state category?
    Look buddy, I didn’t name the southern Bollywood bombshells, simply because every Indian knows and loves them. There is a very very long list of southern heroines who dominated Bollywood for decades, but I don’t have the patience to name all of them, just two name should be enough to shut your mouth. Hemamalini and Rekha, these eternal enchantresses who still live in the millions of hearts, not only in India but the whole world as well, stand testimony to the beauty of the southern women. I can’t argue to this level anymore.
    Now, please, instead of teaching geography to others, I suggest you to go to an optician so that you can see the world in it’s proper perspective.Recommend

  • Prerna

    @Nandita @gp65 ;Beats me how you guys can cite your experiences of growing up in Mumbai;and go on to call the Maharashtrian male genteel.Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city and its ethos and culture are due to that,not because it is Maharashtrian.

    I studied in Australia,and had Marathis and Gujratis as class-mates – it was my first introduction to the people of this region.Vile and disgusting is how I would describe them.They dont just stare and ogle,they make no attempt to hide the fact that they are undressing you with their eyes.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nitish: “@gp65:I think,Nandita is taking it little with personal”

    Nandita was relating a personal experience and you rebutted her, by completely discounting her experience – so ofcourse she took it personally when your comment was personal. Nandita seems to be a well travelled person. It is very unlikely that she does not understand the difference between a friendly overture and a lichhad guy. If she says they were misbehaving then that’s exactly what must have been happening. I will give you the benefit of doubt that if you yourself do not indulge in eve teasing, you maybe unaware when others are doing it.

    Now on a separate note, I normally never make personal comments and stick to the facts and logic related to the article content, but I will make one exception here. You said you are 19 in some other article – this means so you are young enough to be my son. So I have a suggestion for you – take it for what it is worth: If you stop prejudging people based on colour of their skin, caste or religion, you will remove a lot of artificial constraints from your own life and live a more enriched life. Good luck.Recommend

  • Dante

    Wait till you move to Baltimore (around Johns Hopkins), or Flint, Michigan

    You’d encounter a place way beyond the reaches of Karachi. You just haven’t seen the whole of America yet. It’s a big country, REALLY big. Spending a few years in Boston around the comfort of a university campus with plenty of police navigation does not even begin to compare with what other areas in this country have to offer.Recommend

  • Dr Saddam Hussain

    to eradicate this problem we need a thorough change in our mind set, we have to teach our children how to treat the other gender. as far as the comparison of west with east is concerned there is a clear difference, woman is fully exposed in west and the thing which becomes common loses its significance, while in east there is still a mystery……..Recommend

  • Red

    Huzaifa Zafar

    With all due respect, that is utter bull. Kindly do not assume that how you react to sexual harassment from attractive men is how every woman in the world reacts. First of all, I find it highly insulting that you seem to think we are such shallow creatures that we cannot see beyond how good-looking a person is. Second of all, I may be mistaken, but I get the impression that you seem to think a man from the lower economic strata can never be good-looking. I don’t differentiate between men when it comes to sexual harassment. I have been followed by so-called good-looking men in so-called expensive cars and I am NOT “okay” with it. Far, far from it. It makes me very angry and, one of these days, one of these men will hit my breaking point and end up with a smashed car.

    One day I’ll have to write an article debunking all these popular myths about women. Recommend

  • Dawn

    When I was in karachi I use to take a big chadar and cover my head and body and my friend I usually travel with for college even cover her face. yet we both faced problems and worse , my friend faced more trouble than me .. she used to get comments ” jo maal chupa hey ziada achha hey” .. I think this is the mind set and thats all .. even educated men have a hostile attitude towards women and till they change their behaviour , it doesn’ t matter what women do , things will remain same Recommend

  • JustSaying


    Telling women to dress extra-conservatively to avoid sexual harassment, is like telling me I have to stop earning money so I don’t get robbed

    Somehow the analogy does not make sense. Ignoring the politically incorrect comparison to ‘money’ for a moment, a better analogy would be keeping your money in a bank (or any safe place) to avoid being robbed which I am sure any sensible person does. In any case, the actual act of robbery remains a crime punishable by law regardless you kept your valuables safe or not (but try explaining that to your Insurance agent).

    A friend of mine writing a thesis on sex-related crimes in Canada was surprised to learn how a lot of Caucasian guys she interviewed felt that a girl ‘dressed like a slut’ or drinking a lot at a nightclub is ‘asking for it’. The attitudes are similar, the bar is higher as to what constitutes ‘sluttiness’.

    There are two sides to this: the principle and the practical aspect. The principle dictates that one should be able to dress whatever way one likes. Practicality dictates that it would be safer to be more conservative in your dress, move around in groups rather than being alone etc. In either case, the victim should not take the blame.Recommend

  • Shahzad

    And a few others please note its a dress not a yesRecommend

  • Arsalan Ahmed

    Hijab is necessary for the Muslim women in Islam and its has been clearly explain in Quran ans sunnah.p;ease don`t compare the pron and cons of sexually harassment with hijab,yes it helps in stopping sexual harassment can be a benefits of hijab but its not the only reason for taking hijab.Fristly the illetracey and 2nd The police of our country is responsible for not stopping the crime of sexually harassment.on the serious note the main reason for raising of sexual harassment is the media ,media had exposed and increase the sexual need for man.In the country like Pakistan where it is not possible to go and full fill your needs by the prostitute every Saturday like(other western counties).so we have to chose, either we developed a complete Islamic society or copy the western culture completely.this 50-50 game is not possible now.well begin a Pakistan i support the true Islamic society.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Prerna: “Beats me how you guys can cite your experiences of growing up in Mumbai;and go on to call the Maharashtrian male genteel.Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city and its ethos and culture are due to that,not because it is Maharashtrian.”

    Not sure what you are referring to – I did not say anything about Maharashtrians. I did not even refer to people’s linguistic identities. I was referring to cultures of cities within different parts of India that I am familiar with. Mumbai is a very cosmopolitan city. I myself am not Marathi speaking. It is a fact that eve teasing is not a common experience in Mumbai, Banglaore, Chenai, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Pune and a very common experience in Delhi. While there can always be exceptions, this is the norm.Recommend

  • Nitish

    @Sudheer: Damn i care with your south india.I have my prejudice all coz i earned it, for that i owe you nothing.When you people in your comment compare north india or delhi with pakistan that too on a foreign platform,what r you expecting from me ….a shower of rose.
    I m commenting here coz unlike my maths my english is not good. Posts of Blackjack,Gdin and gp65 r really worthful.Else i need not learn anything from you guys.Recommend

  • Anas Tanveer

    Agreed to the writer. Thumbs up girl, it is a fact here in our society. No matter if you are covering yourself properly or not, we , MEN, wo;nt let WOMEN live on thier own. They like to keep it unsecure for women so that they always look for the support in shape of a man.

    And hijab does’nt help minimizing the harrasment anyways, beacuse we have a lot of cases reported where ladies in Hijab or a lady who has never been seen outside her house, being raped or harrassed. Our children, here are being harrasses in the Moaques by the Movli sahib, they went for the teaching of Holy Quran. It’s not about the proper dressing , it is indeed about the mentallity we ave bulit in here, in the society full of furstration, with limited light of education, we need to work a lot harder to change it, and the only possible way out is to educate our masses.

    Becasue legislation wo;nt do any good here, fact being that the laws we have here from many years , are they being followed? Are people getting trial for their wrong acts?

    We, Pakistanis, sorry to accept , following the law of jungle. It is about Power, Power and Power.

    We need to change it, and offcourse through proper education.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nitish: “When you people in your comment compare north india or delhi with pakistan that too on a foreign platform,what r you expecting from me ….a shower of rose.
    I m commenting here coz unlike my maths my english is not good. ”

    Not sure about others but I have no basis to compare North India with Pakistan since I have no experience of Pakistan. I do have experience of different parts of India which I was comparing to each other. Also the subject of eveteasing is universal, so it resonated despite not knowing about the conditions of the city the author was writing about.

    Your English is just fine and please do not think anyone is judging you based on your language skills. It is also clear that you are patriotic and passionate – all of which are wonderful qualities.IT appeared from your email (though you may not have meant it) that Delhi girls look better than girls in Banglaore and it is the difference in appearance (particularly fairness) that results in difference in eveteasing experience. My point as also Nandita BlackJAck etc. was that our personal experience was different in these different cities. Our looks do not change when we go to different cities but the experience changes drastically in NCR. Thus the different experience cannot be attributed to presence or absence of fairness – which is unchanged but rather the local culture.
    As I mentioned earlier, if you keep an open mind and open heart to people that are different from you, it will enrich your own life. Do it for yourself – not for others.

    By the way, Bangalore is a difficult city if you do not have a personalized mode of transport – so you have my sympathies there.Recommend

  • Face It

    Its been a year and a half i am living in the US i observed a thing common in most of Pakistanis they always compare Pakistan with US trying to prove Pakistan is the worst country on globe bla bla. But if you are really concerned with people staring at you wear proper hijab which includes covering your face and whole body except body parts which you cannot hide like eyes and hands (not a skaaf just to cover your hairs which most american muslim girls do) and lower your gaze no one will stare at you i can challenge this. There are more than 200 countries on this planet not only Pakistan and US. US is number one out of more than 200 and trust me crime report statistics increase when crime take place leave Pakistan but there are some other well developed countries where people report crime. Recommend