Conversations around harassment and sexual abuse have been making rounds on social media since the past year. The momentum has just started building up in Pakistan – more recently with high-schoolers coming out with their stories regarding abuse and harassment in the vicinity of their own schools. Alleged sexual harassers are no longer being spared.
#MeToo, an international movement has led many to come forward, speak up about sexual harassment and have made the topic of “harassment” one that people pay real attention to, in a big way because there are real consequences for sexual harassers
The conversation began when Marium, an ex-Cedar student shared her own experience on a friend’s post.
Marium further added how when she confronted the individual and told him how the action made her feel uncomfortable, he went on to say that he will continue to do it again and again now that she’s made it clear that she doesn’t like it.
As soon as she spoke up, several other girls shared their narratives of being harassed by the same guy.
In some cases, the offense went on to be multiple times, not just once.
Soon, a direct confrontation started taking place in the comments section of the same post.
There were multiple people who came in support of the two individuals who chose to share their story.
The conversation even spread to Twitter. With evidence, too.
hamza zaeem, a student of cedar college, has been outed as a sexual predator who has preyed on numerous women, harassed them and violated them. attached is a photograph of him & him admitting he harassed two women. cedar college has yet to respond. #hamzazaeemexposed pic.twitter.com/yOhtW9uBek
— vin 🌹 (@tiredsneeza) May 10, 2018
What they did not know, however, was the fact that they just enabled countless other women to step forward with their own incidents and shed light on multiple other incidents that took place in Cedar.
People started using the hashtag #HamzaZaeemExposed in order to add their incidents to a plethora of others.
Many students believed that an absence of an adequate policy around harassment and abuse is what’s protecting these individuals. The conversation ultimately called for a policy draft against sexual harassment and abuse on campus grounds.
Consequently, the Cedar Student Government has called for a debate in order to push the school administration to draft a policy so that the collective student body doesn’t have to face similar incidents.
We reached out to Marium to ask her how she feels regarding the entire campaign. We also asked her about the support she’s received thus far:
“When I first called my assaulter out, I didn’t think I would get the support I did. I didn’t think so many people knew about it and I was so shocked. I’m so happy that this has raised awareness about the issue that schools house sexual predators and that there needs to be a change in policy across all schools in Karachi to put an end to this behavior”
The fact that this happens shouldn’t come as a shock, given the current climate of Pakistan. Patari’s CEO was recently forced to step down after similar accusations surfaced. Moreover, we’re all well aware of the Meesha Shafi-Ali Zafar debate that’s blown up.
Sexual harassers need to understand that truly, Time’s Up. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements spreading in Pakistan, let’s hope we can eradicate the existence of sexual harassment.