Before I move to the real story, I acknowledge that the purpose of this article is not to create any controversy but to analyze how and why this innocent girl was harassed twice within less than an hour in Islamabad.
When it comes to harassment, people have limited knowledge and with this word, they just imagine the “rape” scene or something like that. However, there are many girls who are harassed in the streets daily and no one takes notice. In fact, most of the men harass the ladies very confidently in such public places because they think there is no rule to sue them in the court.
Street Harassment- the First step every Rapist Takes
Same situation was faced by a girl who is a student of M.Sc. Psychology in International Islamic University. She wears hijab and covers herself properly while travelling. She wrote her story to us, “It was the evening of 10th February when I was on the way and I was going back to my home. I left the van at Mareer chowk and from there, I was about to cross the road. Suddenly, a car came near to me and a person who was driving it moved the window down. He had a decent personality and it seemed that he was educated enough.
I was surprisingly looking at him that he said, “Jana hae?” Further he said, “Kitnay lain gi aap?” I was just shocked and I lost my senses for a moment. I then started shouting and then the man had gone speedily. I was literally shivering with fear because my mind was thinking that he would pull me in his car and would take me away. In fact, it was a public place and there was a big crowd of people and traffic but no one came to help me.”
There would be many of such girls who face such things but they feel so helpless because they don’t have awareness how to defend themselves against such street harassment. Then she crossed the road and was waiting for the van that a person came to her. She said, “He came to me and started talking. He asked me, “Are you Hina?” I responded in no. He asked me for a couple of times and I shouted, “No, I am not Hina, please go away.” He offered me a small piece of paper on which his cell number was written and said, “This is my cell number, please take it and stay in contact. For now, let’s go to my home as no one is there so let’s have fun together!” I was unable to control myself that moment and I just slapped on his face. How dare him that he was offering such stupid and filthy things!”
This is what that happened to the girl in Islamabad that is considered as a very safe place. She lost her confidence for a long time and she started facing social anxiety.
Why this happened?
Street harassment cases are very common in our society and the main reason behind this increasing number of such illegal activities is that girls don’t know where to report such cases. In fact, such cases are considered so ordinary that even if girls report about it to the family or to police, they don’t bother it.
Big crimes always take birth from small crimes and yes, street harassment is a crime whether any law is implemented against it or not. Why don’t parents and the concerned departments take such street harassment cases into notice? Do they wait for the big things to happen first and then they would consider the matter seriously? When such street harasser will move towards Rape crime only then he will be defined as a criminal? This is the point that everyone should think and I am 100% sure that any Rapist doesn’t start from rape, but he harasses the ladies in the streets one after another and when he finds that he is free to do it and no one is offending him, no one is punishing him then he takes the big steps as he becomes confident for doing such crimes.
There are many girls who are harassed or followed by such street harassers but they bear the situation silently just because parents don’t stand with their daughters in such a situation but they prefer to keep their daughters at home. So in order to continue studies or jobs, those girls don’t discuss the things with the parents.
On the other side, when such a harasser feels that the girl being harassed is so weak that she can’t even take any step then he becomes confident and he keeps on planning even worst things.
So who’s Responsible?
As far as I have analyzed such street harassment stories, sorry to say but I feel that the parents and the people in the society are actually the main reason for promoting such crimes. When the parents are letting their daughters to go out and to work or study then they should also give confidence to them. The parents should always stand with their daughters in every situation so that they would feel free to discuss their problems. When a girl knows if she will report such harassment case to the parents, they will not try to solve the problem but due to fear, they won’t let her to continue her outdoor activities and her problems will further increase then why she will report it!
Girls do jobs to finance and support their families, their parents and that’s why they bear such things silently and don’t report just to prevent further problems in their lives.
I request you to please give freedom to your innocent daughters. Make them feel that you are always with them in their decisions, in their problems and for their protection. Why to stop the girls from going out! Why not to take a step against such street harassers who are the only root cause?
Stop Producing Rapists, Stop Street Harassment!!!!
If you also think that street harassment is an ordinary thing and the solution to it is that girls should either bear it silently or they should stay at home then you are also involved in producing Rapists in this society. When a person harasses a girl one day, he is not stopped by anyone; he follows her next day as well. In this way, the girl loses her confidence and gets disturbed psychologically. It does not happen to single girl but many become victim. Many girls in this society are harassed and each of them is harassed by many such people. So what will be the real look of this society in the future? Every girl will be facing social anxiety.
Practice makes a man perfect, same saying fits well in the case of such street harassers. Today, he might be harassing the girls in the road, but practicing it frequently and observing that no one is stopping him, he can become the master and he can think about big crimes.
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.