Stories about sexual harassment

Where is India’s ‘landmark judgment’ on honour killing today?

In the spring of 2005, at the exotic valley of Karora village in Northern Haryana, when the sun had bid farewell and the full-moon accompanying with cluster of stars appeared in the darkness of the sphere, Manoj had fallen for Babli; a free-fall into the abyss, in love with Babli. On his first encounter with his lady love, he acted rude, for he had been a stoic his entire life; his friends had tagged him as ‘stone-hearted’. To Manoj, she was just another woman, but as time passed and seasons cycled, the cupid’s amour stroked Manoj’s young heart. It didn’t ...

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Reham Khan tells women to “stop complaining” – As a man, allow me!

Reham Khan, in an interview for IndiaToday, advised women to “stop complaining”, and expressed her disapproval of their constant ‘whining’ and self-pitying. Perhaps I should try putting my male privilege to good use by whining on their behalf for a short while? The cover of IndiaToday featured a clichéd garden shot of Mrs Khan with her children; bound in a moment of sweet domestic bliss witnessed often in magazines, seldom in cooking oil commercials, and never in real life. Beneath the saccharine image, in bold white, are printed familiar words of conformity to the patriarchal system that drive Xanax sales ...

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Dear Indonesia, rejecting the “condomisation of society” is not the solution

“We reject the condomisation of society.” Nope, that’s not a headline from The Onion or The Oatmeal. And it’s not taken from any satirical website. I am quoting directly from the Wall Street Journal’s report on Indonesia’s top Islamic authority, Indonesian Council of Ulema. Local news daily Republika reported that there is a ‘crackdown’ on shops to check whether, in effect of Valentine’s Day, shops are selling condoms with chocolates. Ma’ruf Amein, the man who uttered the golden words quoted above, insisted that if shopkeepers sold condoms to unmarried couples, it would increase the chance of sex out of wedlock. I hate to break this to you, Mr Amein, ...

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“You think you can harass me just because I’m a woman?” – You tell him, girlfriend!

The news today is inundated with reports of women of all ages being raped and harassed. So when I came across a video of a young woman who confronted a fellow male passenger who had groped her on a plane, I saw it as a step forward, a victory (albeit, a small one) in the on-going, wearisome battle that women all over the planet wage in order to be accepted as equals, individuals who deserve to be treated with respect. The video clip shows her berating the man for seeking opportune moments to touch her inappropriately. The man is seen trying to ...

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The Why Chromosome

When speaking to a friend of mine on how to treat a lady, I was fairly shocked to find that he hadn’t a clue, really.  There seems to be confusion – a dearth of clear ground rules. When it comes to women, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.   You should not stare as she walks past, or call her as a cat; Regardless of how she’s dressed, or if she’s thin or fat. Do not undress them with your eyes. Bite your cheap retorts. It’s really no business of yours, if she’s wearing shorts. “She should have worn more modest clothes to avoid catcalls.” Instead, perhaps the men should ...

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Reyhaneh Jabbari lives on – even today

“The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died ...

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There is no excuse for hitting your child, Adrian Peterson

The principal at the school I went to was notorious for canning its students. Every morning, right after the assembly was over, we would see a few students standing in a corner, waiting for him to arrive and give them a sound ‘punishment’ for all the ‘mischief’ they had caused. I, too, at times was told to accompany this separated lot and often cringe, even today, at the thought of those blows. Back then, it was a norm. A teacher could beat up a child and everyone would be fine with it. Sadly, the situation hasn’t changed much today. We still come ...

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Sexual harassment at LUMS, don’t blame the university!

A video of a woman walking the streets of New York City, getting hundreds of catcalls from men went viral around the world this week. The woman is followed, called all sorts of names, and her attention is solicited, but none of the men touch her. In Pakistan, instances of men “inadvertently” touching women are all too common. Girls are taught to ignore it, to avoid creating a ‘scene’. Not only does society silence the woman, our very laws discourage women from reporting cases of violence against them. Yesterday, news broke out of the Federal Ombudsman directing the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to ...

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India walking the talk with their first transgender news anchor

It is prime time bulletin on Lotus News, a satellite news channel in southern Indian town, Coimbatore. Dressed in a dark brown silk sari, 31-year-old Padmini Prakash is all set to read out the day’s headlines. In matching brown lipstick, vermilion in the parting of her hairline and a bunch of white jasmine tucked in her black curls, Padmini sports a professional charm. Her Tamil pronunciation is clear. Her intonation is perfectly timed. In less than two months, Padmini has become one of the most popular news anchors of the television channel.   But it wasn’t an easy journey for ...

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In Pakistan, ‘It’s On Us’ to protect women from sexual harassment

I remember a crowded market back in Karachi where we stood in a corner going through the merchandise. I was with one of my ‘foreign-educated’ aunts. Suddenly, I saw her face turn a shade of red. I dismissed it and we went back to sifting through the clothes.  A few moments later, it happened again. Her face turned red and her brows creased, but this time she turned around and before I knew it, she had grabbed a young boy by the collar.  “Can’t watch where you’re going huh? This is the third time you’ve passed by this place and grabbed ...

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