Stories about harassment

Will Uber end up destroying Careem as well?

As a young, 20-something, independent woman living in Lahore, I have made it a point to sustain my life and expenses all on my own. I do still live with my parents, but there is not much I rely on them for except their unwavering and unconditional love and support. This means I take care of my own transport, whether it is to travel to and from my workplace or frequently to run personal errands. A few years ago this was much harder as services like Uber and Careem were not available, but with their wide availability now, it has ...

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A trans daughter‘s letter to her family: Will you love the real me and not the man you want me to be?

Dear Abba and Maa, We live in the same house, but you have created a distance between us that leaves me feeling miles apart from you. Who generated this hatred in your heart? You can blame me for it if you wish, but I blame your fundamentalist understanding of religion and your rigid expectations of a gender role that I am unable to fulfil. Tell me, are these things more important to you than I am? I am a human being with flesh, blood and emotions. You are offering your love to imaginary abstractions, meanwhile I am left deprived of it. Abba, you ...

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Reclaiming public space: Can it be a (wo)man’s world, too?

It was a Saturday night when it rained cats and dogs in Lahore. Cool breeze finally taking over the scorching heat made for an excuse to go out and enjoy to the fullest. With such a spectacular change in weather, it was compulsory for my husband and I to drive out into the city around midnight and be amused by the pleasant ambience. Even at that hour, roads were full of traffic. Trees were swirling in the gusty wind. Eateries along the road were jam-packed with people; after all, Lahoris are known to enjoy food like none other. Boys in groups ...

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Can winking and staring be considered criminal offences under Section 509 of the PPC?

Although the #MeToo movement has not taken off across class barriers or transgressed the rural-urban divide in Pakistan – the way it has in India – it’s already the cause of much alarm. Many are perturbed about the consequences of anarchic media trials. Men worry that one can put up an allegation on Facebook or Twitter and open a trial without any of the procedural protections a court trial would offer both parties – the accuser and the accused. These include lawyers, time to prepare, rebuttals and neutral adjudicators. However, the #MeToo movement contests this position. Legal remedy is not the ...

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The new high: You’re depressed not because “your life sucks” but because of Facebook and Instagram

“He is only 19 and so accomplished, what am I doing with my life?” “My hair never looks like that model on Instagram.” “Man! He is having the time of his life and I am just stuck in this miserable job!” “Why am I just sitting here in my pyjamas at home while this guy is vacationing in Bali?” Do you recognise the pattern in these statements? Have similar thoughts gone through your mind recently? If they have, you were probably thinking like this while surfing through your social media, being too depressed to do anything. Unfortunately, we do not realise just how ...

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Before you post that selfie on Insta, know that Penn Badgley is watching ‘You’

My latest TV obsession is as dark as it gets – a series based on the bestselling novel You, starring Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail and Shay Mitchell in the lead roles. This is Badgley’s second time experimenting with a negative character, as he previously exemplified the notorious gossip girl in Gossip Girl for six years. The premise of You revolves around Joe (Badgley), a bookstore manager who falls head over heels for a lousy writer, Beck (Lail). They say, looks can be deceiving, and this description rightly fits Joe’s erratic personality. Beck exchanges a few words with Joe while shopping for ...

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How Bill Cosby went from “America’s Dad” to #MeToo’s first victory

After I took my last exam at college, I walked towards the founder’s garden on campus and sat down on a wooden beach chair. I kicked my legs up and started working on my paper; the last one due before I was free for the summer. But amidst the heat and the groups of college students socialising, smoking or eating from food trucks, the letters ‘O’Connor’ gleamed and mocked me in the summer sun. Patrick O’Connor was the chair of the board of trustees at Temple University, a public college in Philadelphia, and a few months ago, O’Connor Plaza was renovated ...

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When Sadaf Kanwal threw her privilege all over the place

I remember the first time I saw an ad featuring Sadaf Kanwal. I was walking past a clothing shop, and I stared into her big bold eyes, encompassing the entirety of a wall. I was thinking about how beautiful she was, and flawless, up on that wall for the world to see. Recently, this same beautiful model spoke about the #MeToo movement on a public forum. “You know aap ke sath #MeToo jab ho, tab bol do. Baad mein aap ko yaad araha hai #MeToo, so I think jab ho bol do.” (You know when you experience a #MeToo incident, say it then. Why ...

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The silence that kills us

Perhaps it isn’t the discomfort of the narrow streets which makes liberty unbearable for us, It isn’t the sharp scents of sweat which disgust us, It isn’t the crowd which suffocates us, In fact, it isn’t the noise, the crowd or the obvious lack of quality in products, It’s the silence.   The unsaid hush when I turn to speak up to the unwanted hands up my clothes, The constant background whistles of frustrated middle-aged men, It’s the toxic masculinity which suffocates us, The vulnerability when your body turns into a canvas, Painted by obnoxious stares, Held by unholy hands.   It’s the desensitisation, the normalisation, the silence, The echoes of shameless name ...

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Addiction killed Mac Miller, and it wasn’t Ariana Grande’s ‘job’ to save him

I was on my way to work last week when I came across #MacMiller trending on Twitter. Confused regarding what that could be about, I scrolled through my Instagram and found numerous tributes to the 26-year-old rapper, only to confirm what I had already expected. Mac Miller’s death, caused due to an apparent overdose, came as a shock to many. Working as an entertainment journalist, the aforementioned incident ultimately became my priority for the morning. As I added testimonies and tributes from famous artists and celebrities in Hollywood, there was one that I, along with the rest of the ...

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