Stories about sexual abuse

Understanding Pakistan’s sexual harassment law – Part II

This article is part of a series which will try to answer several questions surrounding the law on sexual harassment in Pakistan. The aim is to allow people to understand what the legal regime on this issue is, how it works, and what needs to change. Read part one here. ~ In my previous article in this series I wrote about how section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code makes sexual harassment a criminal offence. However, as I argued, structural patriarchy in terms of the court system and the police pose obstacles for victims of sexual harassment from coming forward. To conclude ...

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Why are we silent about the sexual abuse at madrassas?

Of late, many individuals in Pakistan have finally begun to confront the long festering issue of sexual harassment, with several brave victims choosing to speak out about such issues despite the repercussions that often follow such admissions. Harassment and abuse, whether at the workplace, at a university or at ones own home desperately need to be tackled, yet, we as a nation are still largely reticent to openly acknowledge and discuss these matters. This is made all the more problematic when religion is thrown into the mix. For years, it has been silently acknowledged that many madrassas (religious seminaries) in ...

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#TherapistDiaries: The realities of OCD, today’s ‘urban term’

It’s not uncommon in pop culture to use diseases and illnesses as verbs. This insensitive practice often includes the term Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It’s misused to such an extent that it is almost an urban term these days. I heard a teenager, in a popular movie, talking about his mom who was concerned about her son not washing his hands before eating, say, “She’s so OCD!” A designer, whose job focused on geometric and symmetric designs, once told me, “I have OCD”. She had been diagnosed by her friend, who read a random internet article which said that having an obsession with ...

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#JusticeForFarishta is proof we did nothing after demanding #JusticeForZainab

Childhood is perhaps the golden period in every individual’s life, but not in Pakistan. Here, even the children are not spared in this world of lust and greed, and quite often they are the ones who become victim to the paedophiles and monsters that run free. On May 20th, police recovered the body of 10-year-old Farishta, who had been abducted, allegedly raped and then brutally murdered, with her body thrown in some bushes at the edge of Islamabad. Farishta went missing from home five days prior to this, and when her father Gul Nabi rushed to the nearest police station ...

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Will she ever learn?

Her heels clicked as she briskly walked on the cemented sidewalk. It grew darker and darker as the sun drowned behind the mountains. The shadows grew taller and the evening got chillier. Her hair flowed back freely as the wind blew through it. She clutched her shawl closely to her chest, accumulating as much warmth as possible as her flimsy chiffon dress was not doing a very good job. The streets were deserted, no car or pedestrian in sight. It almost seemed like it was midnight rather than twilight. As the last line of light disappeared from the horizon, ...

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I was 6 when I was sexually abused, repeatedly, in my ‘safe space’

I am a person who is currently in his early 40’s. When I was around six-years-old, I was sexually abused, repeatedly. This is my story. At the outset, I would like to acknowledge that the inspiration to write this blog came from Nadia Jamil, the famous television actress who last year revealed the harrowing abuse she had suffered as a youngster. I, however, do not have the courage to disclose my identity or to publicly share my ordeal as she did. So by no stretch of the imagination am I trying to emulate her. She is much braver and a far ...

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Smooth criminal: After Leaving Neverland, MJ’s legacy ‘isn’t the same anymore’

After a long, busy day yesterday, I finally sat down to watch Leaving Neverland. As I was just out of nursery school during Michael Jackson’s prime – scribbling away pencil drawings in a primary classroom – I wasn’t much of a Jackson fan growing up. I was thus not particularly anticipating watching the documentary, and the prospect of watching two abuse victims reiterating their story made a part of me dread the prospect. The documentary narrates the story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, on how they were sexually abused by Jackson during the 80’s while they were ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Do you think you’re in an abusive marriage?

Her family thought that “she liked being abused by her spouse”. In fact, those were the actual words of her own mother. Her friends and co-workers thought the same. She kept on going back to the husband who embarrassed her in front of people over her appearance and body weight. She kept going back to the husband who used to beat her black and blue, and she had to go to work with bruises on her face. Eventually, he made her leave her job too and the abuse stopped for a while, only to trigger the worst physical and sexual abuse phase ...

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The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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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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