We can no longer deny the severity of the issue of sexual harassment which, sadly, too many young girls and women have had to face at some point in their lives. It can happen to anyone, at any time. There is no way to guard ourselves against it; the only way this would be possible is if we stopped being active members of society, and that would only mean that these predators have won, and that we have lost.
Here are a few shudder-inducing real-life stories to give us all an idea of how horrible it can actually get: a shout-out to everyone who bravely stepped up to share!
A message from team ProperGaanda: The purpose of sharing these stories is to reduce the stigma and taboo associated with talking about sexual harassment. In a conservative society such as ours, many victims go unheard because they are not encouraged to voice their concerns, and if they do, they are mostly silenced, or worse: held responsible for somebody else’s crime. The following examples may include explicit language.
1. The girl was 6 years old. The elevator in her building wasn’t working. So she took the stairs. Dressed in a short pink frock, she started climbing the stairs, where he found her. He told her he’d accompany her and extended his hand. She took it. He took her upstairs. She pointed to her floor but he kept on going. He told her it was okay. She thought it was a game. He let her go when he was done but not before he looked at her and put a finger to his lips.
A sexual predator has no conscience; he or she will easily pile their filth and poison on top of you and walk away, head held high. They do not care about the impact of their actions; and an unknowing and innocent child will keep the secret. This is why it is of paramount importance to educate children about their bodies and boundaries.
2. The assailant brought a gun. She was getting into the car with her friend. He told them that one of them had to get out or he’d pull the trigger. He left her no choice.
The above is just one example of the sort of ploys used, so simplistic, yet they render one powerless.
3. A friend of mine was at Minar-e-Pakistan, a guy approached her and asked her ‘what’s behind your choli?’
How big a role do blockbuster movies and songs such the so called ‘item numbers’ play in encouraging our society to openly objectify women?
4. A friend woke up one night when she heard something outside her window. She took her phone and walked towards the sound and pulled the curtains only to see her servant, who’d worked for them for seven years, masturbating outside her window.
Overcome, overwhelmed and absolutely disgusted: a fitting reaction for such a deplorable tale.
5. I had a guy whip out his d*** and stroke it while I was stuck in the parking lot at H block.
One can tell from the repulsed expression that the magnitude of this incident is as hard for us to comprehend for us as it must be for you. But unfortunately, incidents such as this are more common than one might think.
6. Walking down the thin streets in Liberty, sleazy eyes follow you around and stare at you from head to toe saying, “baji yeh wala ap pay bara acha lagey ga”.
I’m sorry, but I do not think we asked for your opinion.
7. My sister got pinched at one of the cricket matches a few years back. The guy was running away so she pulled him by the giribaan and punched him in the face.
Now that is the spirit. And quite honestly, the only path left to take. Words just don’t work on such people.
8. My sister and I were on M. M. Alam road when two boys started following us in their car. My sister asked us not to look so naturally we did. They were holding out their phones with naked pictures of girls and waving at us.
Really the only thing one can do when faced with this level of no-holds-barred desperation.
9. It’s sad to see some men so desperate for female attention, they are willing to spend hours on the road preying on girls driving alone to follow and make perverted faces. Sometimes they try even harder by unzipping their pants and leaving their genitals hanging out for us to see. Yes that happens, glad you aren’t a girl at this point, aren’t you?
Never thought we’d see the day when men would literally have to be told to keep it in their pants.
10. When you’re sitting at the Karachi airport and an educated looking man in his 40s sits right next to you, then proceeds to run his hand from your knee to your inner thigh and smiles at you when you turn to him in utter shock. Like how do you even react to something like that!!
11. I was walking home with my Nani from the market when a guy on the bike started pulling stunts in front of us. He got so close he almost pulled my dupatta off. I was so embarrassed, my Nani was with me! These men literally have no values. I never went to that market again, its been 4 years.
A passing action of one person might result in the lifelong trauma for the other. So please, educate your boys and your men to respect women instead of asking your women to constantly guard themselves.
12. My mamu would take me to his room when I was 11 and harass me sexually. He only stopped when he got married.
Yes, its possible for the person who harms you to belong to your family. That is why children must be made aware of what classifies as inappropriate behaviour, even from a loved one.
13. Just two days ago a guy in London saw me walking alone at night and asked me to go for a drink. I told him no firmly but he kept on insisting. I got angry and shouted I don’t know you, leave me alone! He then offered me to come over to his place.
It is time that we understood the meaning of no. No never means yes. It is honestly as simple as that.
14. My psychiatrist would introduce me to everyone as his ‘beti’. One day I was crying my eyes out in depression in his office when he kissed me on my forehead “beti” keh ker. Then he tried to kiss me on my lips. I was shattered, I went to this guy to get my disease fixed and he tried to stick his tongue down my throat. If I had a psychiatrist instead of a molester maybe I would be fine throughout the years.
This is the last thing one would expect from somebody working in the health care industry.
15. A guy sat in my car to steal stuff and tried to grab me inappropriately. You’re already stealing from me, must you assault me as well?!
16. My cousin bhai who was at least 8 years older than me would make me sit on his lap and bounce me. I thought I was getting ‘free kay jhoolay’. What I understood much later was that something about that situation felt very awkward and inappropriate.
This is just one example of the sport of problem that happens when we do not educate our children, their innocence is taken advantage of.
17. I was returning home after class. I was alone with the driver who had been with us for 7 years. My parents trusted him which is why I always felt secure with him. At first, he touched my ankle. I ignored it but when I felt it again I asked what are you doing, but he raised his hand and tried to touch me again. I was so scared that I was shivering. This trauma scared me so much that I’m still scared to travel alone.
Unfortunately, such incidents are rife all over society. But maybe by sharing our pain we can lessen their impact, and move on more easily.