Stories about sexual abuse

Brett Kavanugh vs Christine Blasey Ford: Don’t send an assaulter to the Supreme Court bench!

Christine Blasey Ford recently accused an attorney and a sitting judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her in the early 80s, when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh was nominated for a position in the Supreme Court by Donald Trump and after finding out that her perpetrator may go on to be a part of the top court, her civic duty compelled her to bring her past into the spotlight.  The Senate held a hearing for this purpose, to decide whether or not Ford’s allegations hold some truth. Kavanaugh testified ...

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Are forced marriages a form of modern-day slavery?

In one of the old dictionaries I’ve been using since my school days, the definition for ‘forced marriage’ is: “A marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will.” Growing up in Britain and in an Asian community, I’ve heard countless stories of young girls – at the young age of 16, even before they’ve received their exam results – being taken abroad for a ‘family holiday’, only to discover one evening that the very next day was their wedding. It even happened to one girl I ...

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She was found in a pool of dried blood

The light blue sky hung over Najeeba as she rushed on the wet, slippery streets of her city. The city was lit by neon lights emerging from clubs and bars around every other corner, and nightfall meant the noise of blaring car horns was so loud, she couldn’t even hear herself think. Terror clouded her mind, her eyes darting from one corner to another, fearing the longing gazes of street hawkers and lazy drivers, each of them with a disgusting smile plastered onto his face. She knew she would have to bear her father’s anger once she got home. She ...

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Dear abuser, my truth matters, and your time is up!

Six days ago, Oprah Winfrey made history. I sat staring at my laptop screen, feeling her words personify themselves. I felt them dance around, vibrating to be heard and felt. Resonate ­­– yes, that’s what they did. That’s how real they felt to me in that moment. That is the power of the spoken word. I don’t usually watch the Golden Globes; sometimes I’ll watch a recap or two. But this time, I found myself going back to the moments both before and after Oprah’s speech. I looked into the onscreen eyes of all these actors and I saw that glimmer, ...

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#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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Why I choose not to speak up and say #MeToo

Social media is surreal most of the time; however, this past week has seemed more unreal than usual. My timeline on every social media platform has been flooded, or dare I say bombarded, with #MeToo status updates, tweets and posts. The hashtag went viral after American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it to encourage more women to come forward with their experiences with sexual harassment, in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that shook Hollywood. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017 My feelings on this hashtag, which ...

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Powerful sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein can get away with sexual harassment because our silence is their accomplice

I didn’t know who Harvey Weinstein was till I read the The New Yorker exposé on him. For those of you who live under the same rock as I do, he’s an Oscar-winning producer and the co-founder of Miramax. I read each and every victim’s story and felt disgusted to the core, but somehow I felt as if I had read these stories before, only this time the victims were different. The only common factor was a lecherous and sleazy man, making unwanted sexual overtures. My initial thoughts were, ‘why didn’t these women speak up earlier about these harrowing incidents’? I brought this up ...

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Sangat proves that mothers will always force their daughters to stay silent about abuse

Written by Zafar Mairaj who has also recently penned down Muqabil, another drama that deals with a victim of sexual abuse, Sangat has hundreds of snags and a few redeeming points. The plot Ashi (Saba Qamar) is a cheerful, bright woman married to Adnan (Mikaal Zulfiqar) and lives with him in their house along with her sister-in-law, Farah (Kiran Haq) and mother-in-law (Samina Ahmed). It’s all hunky dory. Adnan is a doting husband, Ashi is a dutiful wife. But they can’t have kids because Adnan needs to undergo medical treatment in order for Ashi to conceive, a matter which he is delaying. ...

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When our commercials think domestic violence is funny, how can we expect society to take it seriously?

For the second time in only a few months, several of us (hopefully millions) are baffled with the ‘sense of humour’ of the artists and creative people of our country. First, the horrendous joke about child molestation at the Hum Awards, and now the extremely offensive TV commercial talking about beating up (dhulai kerdi) your wife. If you found the advertisement funny, then let me warn you, either this blog is going to alter your patriarchal (slightly misogynistic) mind-set or it will deeply offend you. In both cases, I hope it will start a healthy discussion as to why several people deemed it acceptable ...

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Yasir Hussain is atrocious, but you’re not any better

Most Pakistanis have already moved on from outrage to the inevitable “forgive him and move on” phase, but the despicable nature of Yasir Hussain’s comment will never be lost on the victims of child molestation in Pakistan. For those who have not been on the internet for a week, at the Hum TV Awards, Hussain looked at Udaari star Ahsan Khan and said, “Itna khoobsurat child molester, kaash mein bacha hota.” (Such a beautiful child molestor, if only I were a child.) I haven't watched #Udaari but it was such a sensitive topic that i can't imagine someone making a joke on it.Sickening humor ...

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