Eve-teasing? We've all experienced it. From the whistles, to the 'MashaAllahs' that they utter as they ride by, or the blatant sexual remarks - every Pakistani woman knows what it's like. Zainab Masood writes about her experience of eve-teasing this Eid.
Eve teasing has become a very common term in the Indian and Pakistani origins. Literally, itÂ means the act of annoying a woman or women in a public place, advancing towards the actsÂ similar to that of sexual harassment. More often than not this problem is not addressed by theÂ masses and even if some girl does fall victim to this sick act, she gets to hear phrases like, â€œHoÂ jaata hai, ainda uss rastay say mat jana tumâ€ or â€œPeechay nai dekhna, jawab nai dena, busÂ agay chalo.â€
Before I start to tell my account of what happened and what initially propelled me to write onÂ this largely common problem, I would like to introduce myself briefly. I donâ€™t go out often andÂ Iâ€™m also referred to as an introvert in my friends circle-so it is safe to say that I hardly comeÂ across any such issues but well, this Eid, was quite a surprise for me. And in all honestly, moreÂ than the shock that I encountered, I had a pang of disgust run through me, thinking that whatÂ makes people do or perform certain acts and if their brain goes numb and stops working brieflyÂ in that moment. I still havenâ€™t gotten my answer though.
So, on the third day of Eid, my family and I decided to dine out, at a Chinese Restaurant locatedÂ in Gulberg. My mother, Bhabhi, cousin sister and I had to take a separate car, because my otherÂ family members were traveling in the other car, and had to take a different route to theÂ restaurant. Taking the usual route we decided to use the Lahore Canal Road. We were discussingÂ how crowded the canal was that day, particularly filled with young men riding on bikes,Â performing stunts. All of a sudden, a black Corolla started to pace up to us- since it was crowdedit seemed pretty normal. We tried to overtake the car in front of us, to free the way for thisÂ Corolla, but it didnâ€™t seem to want to move ahead of us but rather chased us, leaning in everyÂ time we tried to overtake the cars in front of us. After a few annoying minutes and not lookingÂ up, I decided to see who was in the car after all. There were three young guys, maybe evenÂ younger than me, regular teenagers, laughing harder just as their car leaned in closer to ours.Â This continued for good 10 minutes, when we luckily encountered the Dolphin Police andÂ stopped and reported the carâ€™s activities to them. As the police chased them, the raced their carÂ and soon went out of sight.
Some of you, who read this might come up with the question that if nothing â€œseriousâ€ happened,Â why am I ranting on and on about this. Well, because usually such events are discarded off as notÂ being â€œseriousâ€ enough and that is exactly what further promotes such events. Women, who faceÂ this, donâ€™t end up informing their families about it because that puts an end to their freedom. AndÂ so, the brothers or friends of these very women end up doing such acts, shamelessly. TheÂ problem lies with us women, because while raising our sons we forget to treat them asÂ protectively and restrictively as we treat our daughters, making them feel comfortable with theirÂ actions whatsoever.
Public Holidays end up being a curse for women because families force them to sit at home, forÂ their safety and to avoid any unfortunate events. But rather, what is unfortunate is the fact thatÂ even today; the streets are not safe enough for the women in Pakistan. I ask you, why do we stillÂ have to think a thousand times, before we retaliate to a heinous act as this?
The point being that such incidents should be reported immediately regardless of your gender. ItÂ is high time that we all grow out of our gender egos ingrained in us and step up to help oneÂ another, because frankly, it is not a gender issue anymore. It is an active campaign against thoseÂ people who continue to make assaults on otherâ€™s human dignity. Live your life and let others liveÂ theirs or just simply be!
It is OUR public holiday too.
The Women of Pakistan