By *Hafsa Imtiaz
It is said ‘No’ means no But in a few places ‘No’ means an insult, an abuse and reaction to that is “eve teasing” “sexual harassment” and even “acid attacks”.
You may have heard or seen stories regarding sexual harassment on TVs and internet and felt your blood being boiled with the anger and mind being over powered by the thoughts that God forbid if it happens to you and your family and those are the times when your heart sinks in hopelessness and the faith in humanity shattered. We live in a society that says ‘ Don’t get raped’ instead of ‘Don’t rape’. There continuously exists a fear around. Fear of just being a female, fear of being judged, fear of protecting one’s own safety, fear of the distorted reputation, fear of the eyes, staring at her.
She dies daily. She survives daily. She relives with a faith that she’ll not be objectified today. That she can walk in her heels diligently but what she forgets is that there is a haunted place of costless dignity known as Society where the easiest thing to live and die for is Sanctity and the easiest thing to be shattered is still the same. I never know why it is so difficult to understand that ‘Yes’ means a Yes and all other things beside that means a ‘No’.
I am not sure, means No; I am not comfortable, means No; Not Know means, No; Being ignored means No, Walking the other way means, No, Stay Away means No, Silence means No and above all, No means No.
John Oliver said and I quote that Consent is like Boxing if both people do not agree to it, then one person is committing the crime. No matter what she is wearing no one demands sexual harassment. If it’s unwanted its harassment. Ten letters One word and this word keeps circling around some people’s life forever because the feeling of being touched without consent never goes away, the pain of being assaulted even when over doesn’t diminished, the acid marks never fade away.
We say it’s the media that’s polluting the culture, it’s custom, it’s the traditions but I say it’s the mentality and that mentality that is going worse and toxic day by day. You know why it happens? Because we let it happen! We allow it when the rapists get an easy sentence and are free to do more, when we just think that women’s dressing arouses people to get to them and only woman can be the victim until the genders are reversed, we allow it when we don’t put an ear to the helps we are called for, we objectify bodies and then cry for the inhumane society, we allow it to happen when thousands of harassment cases go un reported daily, we allow it to happen when we make girls quiet just for what society will think.
Someday it’s the little Zainab in Pakistan being cut into pieces after the man got its pleasure, other day it’s the Jyoti Singh Panday being the victim of Gang Rape in India in a local bus and daily are the thousands acid attacks victims and the chain doesn’t end here tomorrow it could be you it could be me it could be anyone of any gender if we’ll not stand to mark a full stop here.
Damage starts when you start keeping silence about the things that matter. Just because it’s not about you, you’ll not worry about any matter like this? It’s happening to people around you and someday you can be the people.
First, make yourself an epitome of self-dignity and then Speak to them like they don’t own your integrity. Speak that they cannot touch you if you said that they cannot. Start from yourself. Start to be aware. Start to speak. Start to stand. Start to Educate. Teach your young ones to understand the gesture of ‘No’ and encourage them to say no to any bad touch. The only way we could bring a change is if we appreciate the urgency and gravity of the situation
*Free lance writer, blogger and student of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad