Sexual harassment is problem across the world and is prevalent in the Pakistani society too. What makes it a bigger issue for our society is that despite the problem being so commonly recurring, people still find it hard to believe and mostly question the victim. For a very long time, women in Pakistan were taught to remain quiet in the fear of “badnaami” or merely because nobody would believe them. After a video went viral where a manager at Faysal Bank is seen harassing a female colleague, people were outraged but despite the entire deal being on camera, some had the audacity to blame the victim. How did it happen? Why did she not react? Was it consensual? Why is it on camera? Why is she dressed like that? And the list goes on!
The biggest challenge women in our society face is having to prove themselves. It is always a man’s word over a woman’s. Women are always blamed for being inviting or provocative or too docile or a bit too much of something that makes it their fault that they were harassed. It is absolutely sad that a girl has to go to extreme measures such as recording a traumatic incident to prove that she is being harassed but people will still find a way to question her.
This unfortunate incident reminded us of the famous Pakistani movie Verna, where the victim had to go back to the “lion’s den” to get the evidence she needed to prove that she was harassed. Why can we not take a woman’s word for how she feels about a situation.
Hamza Shafqaat, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad has taken notice of the situation and has commanded immediate arrest of the offender. We are pleased with this decision and we hope that we are better able to safeguard the rights of women in our society.