It was one fine morning when a little girl went for everyday grocery shopping with her dad.
Her dad told her and her little brother to go home while he bought the remaining stuff from the shops just outside their building.
The little girl and her brother raced their ways to their home with a newspaper their dad had gotten for himself.
It was on the staircase where they met a tall bald man who stopped them and stood there for a chit chat.
He held the little girl close to him and asked the brother to move aside.
He told her to read the newspaper for him as he came stood behind her back. The innocent girl started reading the news headlines aloud not knowing the intentions of that nice man who randomly started touching her inappropriately to which she realized something wasn’t right.
Her younger brother saw her from distance not being sure what was happening. They ran their way to home and told their mother who immediately rushed out but to find out that the man had ran away, of course.
The girl despite being a grown up remembers every minor detail of that incident and writes her thoughts as she recalls that afternoon.
Every day, hundreds of women and girls get harassed one way or the other. It doesn’t matter if you go out of your house fully covered or wearing normal clothing.
Whether you’re driving your own car as a woman or waiting for public transport at the busiest bus stops.
An average Pakistani woman will be stared down from top to bottom by men passing by; stopping their bikes, honking at women asking them to sit inside their cars and the list goes on.
Sexual harassment can itself be included in sexual abuse. It doesn’t only involve inappropriate actions of those men who look down women as an “object” that they have the right to stare.
Even in a world where we claim that men and women are equal, a closer image of our so called modern society reveals that we are FAR from being equal to men.
Womanizing and considering oneself macho or more “manly” by doing so is becoming the common norm of the men in our society.
The most common phrase that we get to hear is “Chup Raho”. The topic of sexual abuse is such a taboo in our society that even the influences of change are scared to talk about it.
Just because we can close our eyes to such sensitive issues, doesn’t mean they will vanish all by themselves.
Sexual education is an essential part of the personal development of a society like Pakistan’s.
Our children need to be taught about not to keep quiet instead standup against any act of sexual harassment. It’s high time that we teach our boys and girls that they need to stand up for themselves.
The victims don’t need to be ashamed; they need to be strong enough to fight back.
They need to realize that they survived such events because they weren’t the ones who caused it.
Do I feel ashamed for what happened that afternoon? No.
Was I responsible for what happened? No.