Don?t speak, get harassed

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Former PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai’s accusations of harassment against PTI Chairman Imran Khan has created a storm.It doesn’t matter that she says she has proof of this, which she will show when the time comes. That will happen when it happens but for now we are seeing outcry at her accusations not only from men but women – who should have stood with her as they know all too well what women have to face in society – of course this does mean that Imran Khan is guilty of harassing her. We have to wait and see evidences.

There are chances that Ayesha Gulalai may be lying but what if she isn’t; what if she has been harassed and has now found the courage to speak about it. It often happens that victims take time to get the courage to speak up about such things, especially if it involves a senior or famous person. And more importantly many people – including the victim – don’t know that the act/word/touch is harassment at the time it happens.

The women cadre of PTI are standing by their leader – which is a positive sign for him and indicating maybe Gulalai is mistaken. But whether other PTI women have experienced harassment or not at the hands of the leader, that does not mean Gulalai is lying. But that doesn’t make her claim false, it is what she felt and has a right to talk about it. We may disagree with the way she tackled it but we cannot say she is lying.

Different women may have different experiences and treated in different ways by different people and maybe one person feels uncomfortable while another doesn’t in the company of the same person.

By belittling Ayesha Gulalai’s accusations of harassment, women are not helping other victims who are trying to tell the story but are scared of the repercussions. The onslaught on Gulalai is only going to push then further back and maybe continued to be preyed on by harassers.

Harassment is a real and serious problem and many face this on a daily basis. However, we don’t see a lot of people coming forward to talk about it. But that is not surprising. Victims of harassment – usually women and children – are unable to get the courage to speak out about this mainly as already mentioned because the perpetrator is usually a senior, powerful or famous person.

Let’s say that Gulalai lied about harassment at the hands of Imran Khan but since she spoke out she has faced a fair amount of harassment – not only on the media but also online. If she wasn’t a victim then, she is now and she can file a case with the FIA under the Cyber Crime Act.

Maybe Gulalai’s case will help spread awareness about harassment against women, maybe not.

The condescending attitude of ‘don’t speak get harassed’ because nice women don’t speak about certain things needs to end.

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