Stop Eve-Teasing!

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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, it means the act of annoying a woman or women in a public place, advancing towards the acts similar to that of sexual harassment. More often than not this problem is not addressed by the masses and even if some girl does fall victim to this sick act, she gets to hear phrases like, “Ho jaata hai, ainda uss rastay say mat jana tum” or “Peechay nai dekhna, jawab nai dena, bus agay chalo.”

Before I start to tell my account of what happened and what initially propelled me to write on this largely common problem, I would like to introduce myself briefly. I don’t go out often and I’m also referred to as an introvert in my friends circle-so it is safe to say that I hardly come across any such issues but well, this Eid, was quite a surprise for me. And in all honestly, more than the shock that I encountered, I had a pang of disgust run through me, thinking that what makes people do or perform certain acts and if their brain goes numb and stops working briefly in that moment. I still haven’t gotten my answer though.

So, on the third day of Eid, my family and I decided to dine out, at a Chinese Restaurant located in Gulberg. My mother, Bhabhi, cousin sister and I had to take a separate car, because my other family members were traveling in the other car, and had to take a different route to the restaurant. Taking the usual route we decided to use the Lahore Canal Road. We were discussing how crowded the canal was that day, particularly filled with young men riding on bikes, 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 this Corolla, but it didn’t seem to want to move ahead of us but rather chased us, leaning in every time we tried to overtake the cars in front of us. After a few annoying minutes and not looking up, I decided to see who was in the car after all. There were three young guys, maybe even younger than me, regular teenagers, laughing harder just as their car leaned in closer to ours. This continued for good 10 minutes, when we luckily encountered the Dolphin Police and stopped and reported the car’s activities to them. As the police chased them, the raced their car and soon went out of sight.

Some of you, who read this might come up with the question that if nothing “serious” happened, why am I ranting on and on about this. Well, because usually such events are discarded off as not being “serious” enough and that is exactly what further promotes such events. Women, who face this, don’t end up informing their families about it because that puts an end to their freedom. And so, the brothers or friends of these very women end up doing such acts, shamelessly. The problem lies with us women, because while raising our sons we forget to treat them as protectively and restrictively as we treat our daughters, making them feel comfortable with their actions whatsoever.

Public Holidays end up being a curse for women because families force them to sit at home, for their safety and to avoid any unfortunate events. But rather, what is unfortunate is the fact that even today; the streets are not safe enough for the women in Pakistan. I ask you, why do we still 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. It is high time that we all grow out of our gender egos ingrained in us and step up to help one another, because frankly, it is not a gender issue anymore. It is an active campaign against those people who continue to make assaults on other’s human dignity. Live your life and let others live theirs or just simply be!

It is OUR public holiday too.

Sincerely,

The Women of Pakistan

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