Harassment is when someone behaves or having a behavior of an offensive nature that makes you feel distressed, humiliated and threatened at the first place. Regardless of gender, this issue or incident can happen to anyone, anytime and at any place. It is characteristically identifies by its unlikelihood in terms of social and moral reasonableness.
We have observed that in the past few years that people have became aware of this behavior and wise enough to take action against it. We have also seen #MeToo campaign started all around the globe reflecting different stories of harassment victims. This campaign has laid many prominent personalities including celebrities to talk about their personal experiences regarding this issue.
Examples of harassment include:
• unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
• abuse and bullying online
• verbal abuse and threats
• Smashing windows or using dogs to frighten you.
Recently, an incident happened with a group of girls who went to Mushk Puri for recreational purpose. A girl shared her personal experience that how she got harassed on a trip by horse riders.
Below is the story that she has shared with her personal experience:
In light of our trip to Mushkpuri on 28th October, we would like to confess that the horse riders we met at the top of the hill were harassers. While dismantling from the horse they offered us to grab their shoulder for support and then went on to grab our body forcefully as if to show that they were trying help us get off from the horse but it was more than that. It also happened to my friend at the same spot but we made sure that all the other girls getting off the horses from our trip got off safely.
Sohaib (in red) and Imran (in brown) were the two horse riders. We didn’t disclose that much as it was quite embarrassing to deliver and speak p about this incident. We didn’t film the evidence prominently just as we didn’t want any controversies but would like to make sure that any other girl wouldn’t fall in the hands of their filthy act like we did.
It seemed as if they were habitual of doing such to female tourists so stay safe by asking a friend to mount you on a horse and jump off the horse by sitting in a similar position to how we sit on the bike. Also, don’t try to react without much thought if this happens to you because they are locals and in groups (know the trek as well) and many other girls have been raped enroute treks.
Just stay safe, enjoy your trip, steer clear of the locals as much as you can even if they call you bajji and treat you with respect, stick to the guy groups in your trip and have a safe one. If you are an organizer, kindly offer secure and safe services to all the females in your tour venture throughout your tour.
Preventing and Responding to Harassment on trips
Your safety is the first priority. If you feel safe and choose to respond directly to harassers, here are some general guidelines
1. Trust worthy tour guide/Operators:
While planning your trip with group of friends, you must know the previous experience of that tour guide you are choosing to go with. Look for the reviews on their social media pages to get an idea if they are secure and trust worthy enough to choose them as your travel partner. Choose trustworthy travel operators.
2. Choose known places:
Harassment toward women is more common in some places than others, and you should be aware of this unflattering side of travel. Going on a trip with friends in fun, but going somewhere which is known to you is safer especially when you have a group of girls.
3. Travel operator information:
Harassment and assault are situations that female travelers encounter and must learn to deal with. To keep your travelling safe and fun, keep the information of your travel guide/operator with you or if possible also share it with your family member for the safe and secure trip.
4. Speak up or React instantly:
Sexual harassment is revolting and should be met with resistance. React when you feel harassed due to weird actions. This act will help you to stay safe from further harm.
How Else You Can Respond To Harassment?
Take Action in the next moment
Keep the movements going
Share your story
Inform and educate your network
Muhammad Usman Awan is a Blogger and Social Entrepreneur who founded first Anti Harassment Awareness Campaign “Stop Harassment Now”. The Purpose of this campaign is to empower and educate our Girls and Working Women against Harassment.