Stories about sexual assault

Don’t invite child abuse victims if you can’t be sensitive or respectful towards them, HRPC

I was in attendance at the ‘Conference on the Protection of Childhoods’ that was held on March 17, 2019, at Al Hamra Hall, Lahore. The first conference of its kind held in Pakistan, it was organised by Human Rights Protection Centre (HRPC) and Positive Pakistan. On paper, the conference was supposed to provide a platform for change and awareness for the public on child sexual abuse. The panel had acclaimed media personalities, government officials and even a retired justice from Australia, Dr Robyn Layton, who has spent all her life working for child protection and women and children rights. On paper, ...

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Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp: Is the credibility of #MeToo and women survivors under threat?

Last week, actor Johnny Depp hit his former wife Amber Heard with a massive $50 million lawsuit, which alleges that Heard’s claims of domestic abuse against Depp were a “hoax” intended to “advance her career”. Not only is Depp arguing that his then-wife’s case was completely fake, he is also alleging that he was the victim of domestic violence. Depp’s lawyers claim to have a lot of evidence, including almost 87 video surveillance clips from around their home and testimonies of numerous witnesses including the couple’s friends and neighbours. Even though the court of public opinion has already demonised Heard ...

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6 reasons why you need to distance yourself from that ‘friend’ of yours

When you hear the word abuse, what do you think of? A man physically abusing a woman or a person who isolates and belittles their romantic partner? What needs to be discussed more is how friendships can also become abusive. An ‘abusive friend’ may seem like an oxymoron because we are taught that our friends mean well and do what’s in our best interest. Like abusive romantic relationships, abusive friendships start out looking great on paper. You meet a new friend, who compliments you a lot and is eager to hang out with you. The same person who said that ...

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Ladies, if you think your man is #goals, you definitely need to raise the bar!

Ladies, have you ever been told that you have ‘really high standards’ when it comes to men? That you need to lower the threshold a bit, otherwise you will never ‘find anyone’? Or that you need to make some ‘compromises’ to be in a relationship? When it comes to dating or finding a husband, women are constantly told they cannot find a ‘perfect guy’, which is why they should just be happy and settle for a man who seems to be a reasonably okay person. If the ‘boys will be boys’ trope wasn’t enough, it has been made very clear to women ...

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Dishonoured

For every person, there is one emotion they can never handle with ease. For me, that emotion is anxiety. As I stand amidst the neon lights and blaring music, my hands are sweating profusely and my eyes dart from corner to corner in search of a means of escape. My heart is clogged with a lump that threatens to emerge in the form of tears. The atmosphere around me is so loud that I feel my own personality melting into the beats of the drums. But no matter how much I wish to, I can’t drink away the troubles of ...

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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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Counselling survivors of rape: “Who will marry me if I’m not a virgin?”

It’s not easy to live life after being robbed of your sense of safety. The pain is multiplied when it reminds you of the helplessness you experienced. You cannot tell apart the physical hurt from the emotional and no amount of reassurance is enough when you know that no one can empathise with what you have been through. You find no comfort in their concern and the shoulders offered to lean on can never be enough. You’re startled by the touch of even your loved ones and it takes a great deal of time to remember that touch was ...

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#MeToo: I was 8 when he taught me that a woman’s body is everyone else’s but her own

“Dekh ke aahangar ki dukaan mein Tund hai shu’le, surkh hai aahan.” (See how in the blacksmith’s forge, Flames leap high and steel glows red) I was 15-years-old when I wrote a letter to my father. I was struggling at school, getting into trouble in the neighbourhood and fighting with my siblings at home. You know the usual teenage angst. I wrote, “Dad, I know what S* uncle did. I remember everything. I need help.” The week after, my father insisted that I attend a family friend’s wedding with him. At the wedding, he asked me to step outside the hall for five minutes. ...

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When your morally-guided hero and sanskari babuji turn out to be predators in disguise

The #MeToo movement in India kicked off right after Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta alleged that Nana Patekar sexual harassed her. Since then, many women have come out with their #MeToo experiences on social media, accusing several celebrities of sexual assault or harassment. In the past few days, there has been an outpour from women from all walks of life. This is the first time that so many women in India have gathered enough courage to tell their horrific stories of sexual misconduct and to even name prominent perpetrators. In a staggering revelation made on Monday, the Bollywood writer and producer, Vinta Nanda, posted ...

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Because how can the GOAT Ronaldo ever rape a woman, despite her saying ‘no’ and ‘stop’?

Cristiano Ronaldo is so many things; father, son, partner, friend, mentor, hero, celebrity, athlete, and now an alleged rapist. Fans all over the world are offended; how is it that the hero they have put on a pedestal is accused of such a heinous crime? Is this a conspiracy by Lionel Messi fan boys to drag down Ronaldo’s good name? His admirers have come together to show their loyalties and back their forever favourite. In the midst of all this, I, a former Ronaldo fan, choose not to give him the benefit of the doubt. In cases of sexual ...

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