Stories about sexual harassment

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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#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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Sakina’s soul is calling for justice, but is Pakistan listening?

Would it be true to suggest that only the mighty can get justice in Pakistan, or just another misnomer? No matter what side of the argument you support, it is undeniable that this is a question of wide importance in a country such as ours. On September 13, 2018, a brutal crime was committed in the Chak 92 JB area of Gojra. A man called Safdar, with the help of an accomplice, threw acid on a sleeping family out of revenge. The ferocity of the attack did not stop at this; they viciously poured acid into Sakina Bibi’s mouth and ...

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My right hand is clean

Laughter. Running around. Two toddlers and a baby having a jolly good time. Favourite place, Nani ma’s home; the room with the large windows, letting in the afternoon sun, warm and friendly, dancing around the marble floor. One disgusting teenage boy. Around 14 or 15. With yellow teeth and a hideous laugh. Watching over the children as they play. Hired for the ‘supervision’ of the baby. Looking for an opportunity to strike. And then he found one. “Do you want to play with a new toy?” He asked the little girl, who was gleefully laughing as she chased her cousin around the room. She ...

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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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When Tanushree Dutta said #MeToo but Bollywood didn’t care, because that stuff is only for movies

This is one real life story Bollywood will likely never make into a blockbuster, for after all, it involves one of their own. Actress Tanushree Dutta’s accusations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar have been met with diverse reactions within the industry, but the most deafening is the sound of silence by most of Bollywood’s bigwigs. On the one hand, some of those who have reacted should have just kept quiet. For instance, 66- year-old Shakti Kapoor, who himself has a dubious reputation, thought it was appropriate to joke about the matter. #WATCH:I don't know anything about this ...

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In the midst of all the tabdeeli in K-P, did Imran Khan forget about its women?

In June, Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and now set to be the country’s future prime minister, made a few uninformed statements on feminism. He said,  “I disagree with the western concepts of feminism. It has completely degraded the role of a mother.”   The internet responded to this and set the record straight. The theory and practice of feminism, which is certainly not always western, has led to maternity benefits for working mothers and has elevated motherhood in that regard. But Imran has previously opined on topics that stray from his area of expertise. His views on feminism do not ...

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The room of beasts and unspeakable secrets

Mahnaz sat under an ivory sky on the ground outside the library building of her college. A light and wispy summer breeze kept turning the pages of a tattered and well-thumbed copy of Jane Eyre lying at her feet. She had just finished reading the book for the umpteenth time, which was evident from the pages that were all worn and dog-eared, the margins that crawled with hastily scribbled notes, the pastel-coloured post-its that protruded from every page, and the spine that was riven with creases. Every time she finished reading the book, she could not help but cringe ...

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If Pakistan follows Saudi Arabia’s footsteps, why not take a leaf from its sexual harassment law also?

One would think that the loose cannon that is the rising monarch of Saudi Arabia, long since the world’s Muslim hegemony, would not have thought all its radical initiatives through. And with good reason too. But recent endeavours are making us think otherwise. From where we stood, the lifting of the decades-long driving ban for women, only weeks from being set into motion, was nothing if not far flung. But it’s now being tailed by an impressive pre-emptive measure. Put short, Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) Vision 2030 might just be a concrete plan, and not just a ludicrous ...

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#PunishSadatBashir: Are 80 voices not proof enough?

Online feminist campaigns such as #MeToo have brought down many titans of toxic masculinity. Famous international cases include James Dean, a famous adult actor who was accused by many women of sexually assaulting them. The House of Cards star and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey too was accused by a man of sexually assaulting him and is currently under police investigation, after having his contract with Netflix ended for his shameful conduct. The never-ending list of accused also includes other former legends like Bill Cosby and recent addition, Morgan Freeman. In all these cases, the allegations have been and are undergoing investigation by relevant authorities. Careers have taken ...

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