Stories about harassment

#MeToo: I am older, wiser and more determined than the little girl who was forced to hold an imam’s genitals – but not safer

The first time it happened, I was seven. An imam in our neighbourhood mosque held me, taking my hand, wrapping my fingers (they were still tiny) around his genitals, then massaging it. I was so small I did not know what it was that was in my hand. I had never seen it before and I certainly did not know what it felt like.  “Do you like it?” he asked again and again, until someone came to the room, and he quickly let go of me. Later, I told my mom about this peculiar incident, and she wept for weeks and months over ...

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Saudi women are eager to take the wheel, but are they ready to be harassed even more?

On September 26th, a much-awaited milestone was achieved in Saudi Arabia – a royal decree issued by King Salman that allows Saudi women to drive. The Kingdom, which received much backlash for being the only country in the world that doesn’t already allow women to drive, has finally been relieved of this tarnish. Saudi women will no longer need their guardians’ permission to obtain a driving license nor need a man present with them in the car. After decades of struggle to get the ban uplifted, people took to social media to welcome the landmark decision, which is part of new reforms in the ...

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Pakistan does not need more thieves, harassers or mobs – its police officers are doing the job for them

Recently, I came across a news article about senior police officers breaking down the door of a house in Rawalpindi to arrest a murder suspect. The house they raided belonged to the cousin of the man suspected of having committed said murder. In addition, when these upright gentlemen did not find the man they were looking for, they decided to take with them cash and jewellery, worth at least a million rupees, which belonged to the owner of the house. Naturally, the poor victim immediately went to the nearest police station to file an FIR (without which the police cannot investigate a crime) ...

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Because gender equality can only be proven if women can show up to work in their underwear?

It’s 2017. Women are becoming more visible in possibly every field of work and professional capacities, proving that when they reclaim spaces, whether private or public, there is just no stopping how far they can excel. There is no one who can deny that fact. For centuries, women have been put down and pushed back with claims of natural and inherent incompetence based on their sex. Somehow, because a certain group of humans is born female with physical differences (read: different reproductive organs), they have been and still are considered not good enough to become successful or become leaders. However, the popular quote, “Time ...

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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 ...

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No, Ms Bakhtawar Zardari, a simple apology will not do

After the harassment of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Nusrat Sehr Abbasi in the hallowed precincts of the Sindh assembly, Ms Bakhtawar Zardari has asked her party’s parliamentarian, Imdad Pitafi to apologise to the female lawmaker for his lewd remarks about her. Yes must apologise absolutely unacceptable behaviour & totally against ethos of our party that has been led by the strongest of women #PPP https://t.co/3BZAlvC4c6 — Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) January 21, 2017 We condemn vulgar and ill language of MPA #ImdadPitafi and #TaimoorTalpur against #NusratSeharAbbasi Sahiba pic.twitter.com/YM44PhTLHL — Sangri (@Sangrisaeed) January 20, 2017 Likewise #Jiyalas&Pak nation urges PPPChairman @BBhuttoZardari 2tke notice of #ImdadPitafi ...

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As a man, I stand by Karachi EAT festival’s “no stags” policy

Recently the management of the Karachi EAT food festival came under a lot of criticism over their ‘families only’ rule. Memes and jokes were made and circulated on social media and a lot of online activity was witnessed where young boys who prefer to move in groups and often dubbed as ‘munchalay’ were planning a crusade against the above mentioned rule. This sparked a debate between the men and women of the country as they argued over whether they are justified or not, and how discriminatory the rule is. Don't see any twitter feminist Jihadis complaining how a guy needs to enter KarachiEat with fam ...

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I refused a sexual relationship with my boss, he refused to pay me for my work

If you’re working as a freelance writer, you’re bound to meet and work with people belonging to different cultures and mentalities. To maintain a healthy business in a professional manner, especially now when technology and virtual communication is integral to any business, it’s important to set certain restrictions and guidelines, leaving room for flexibility. But in all cases, be careful about who you trust because this is what happened to me when I let myself trust a ‘big name’. Two months ago, I chose to work for a well-known journalist, Wajahat Kazmi – one of those personalities who have a ...

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My crime that night? I was travelling home with two na-mehram boys

In middle school when my cousin, like all other Pakistani girls, ditched uniform shorts for track pants at gym class, I asked my dad if I could do the same as well. I handed him the application form to fill in so I could give it to my gym teacher. He laughed, lit his pipe and set my definition of gelling in and modesty right.  Needless to say, I bore weird glances from the Pakistani community of 12-year-olds at Carl Sandburg Middle School in Virginia for two full years. I learnt indifference. But it becomes difficult to continue practicing the learned art in this ...

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“Young woman, you’re quite attractive. Will you marry me?” asked the professor

It was during my student life that I heard some of the most scandalous stories involving female medical students and senior doctors. I didn’t take them seriously at first; my mind refused to believe that depravity of such magnitude existed around me. I was naïve and obviously wasn’t looking in the right places; perhaps it was because I wanted to keep believing that my fraternity was incapable of the horrors I had heard of. After becoming a part of the system, I had to eventually face reality. The stories were true. The perpetrators were seemingly normal individuals, who had happy families and multiple children. But ...

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