The hashtags #MeToo and #Timesup have given women all across the world the courage to voice their experiences with sexual harassment and to demand justice and protection against it. Women in Pakistan have not been left behind it seems since every few weeks we see women from all walks of life raise their voice against this social menace.
After having the CEO of Patari ousted for claims of sexual misconduct towards women in his organisation followed by women, led by Meesha Shafi, taking to social media with allegations of sexual harassment by the acclaimed singer Ali Zafar, it seems that younger girls are also finding courage to shame men for their unwelcome advances.
In a private Facebook post that has since become viral, a young girl from a private college in Karachi accused a male student from her college for sexually harassing her. The post soon wreaked havoc on Facebook and received more than 800 comments, followed by more girls coming out and accusing the boy for similar misdemeanours.
The whole incident began where the victim tagged her harasser by commenting under a related meme that was posted by one of her friends:
After being accused by the girl on this post, the predator claimed that she was wrongly accusing him but the matter had also reached their college administration and parents of both students had been involved.
By this time, more and more girls were commenting on the post accusing the boy of sexual harassment and eventually the thread crossed 800 comments – shaming the harasser.
The initial posts carried the hashtags #metoo and #timesup but as more and more victims came forward on the thread, young male students also took to social media to show their support for the victims with the hashtag #Istandwith.
These students are now rallying for private colleges in the country to establish a policy on sexual harassment in order to better protect their female students. According to them they had been subjected to sexual harassment in the past and had approached the school management but the management had not acted upon their complaints due to ‘lack of proof’.
Since then, a Facebook page titled #TimesUp has been created to advocate for prevention of sexual harassment. It invites students to share their experiences, name and shame predators in Pakistani academia. According to the movement’s founders the problem is two-fold – the actions of predators and the unsympathetic behaviour of school managment. They demand “a policy on sexual harassment so that every time a girl reports a case she is not left hopeless and helpless”.
Clearly, college students are much more aware of social misconduct AND their rights than ever before. And women in Pakistan, whether they are celebrities, working women, homemakers or students have simply HAD ENOUGH when it comes to sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour!