I’m sure everyone reading this is aware of the Times Up (#TimesUp) movement that recently surfaced and caused an uproar on social media.
It all began when two girls from Cedar College, Karachi – Mariam and Muznah came forward to expose a fellow student, Hamza Zaeem, as a sexual predator and demanded the college management to take action against him instead of covering for him.
Following this, the Times Up page was created by an unknown person and multiple students as well as alumni from various educational institutions came forward to post their accounts of sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of teachers, tutors and peers.
Needless to say, the movement began to spread like wildfire.
I, myself, am an alumnus of The City School, PAF Chapter, Karachi and to see so many confessions coming forward from a place that was meant to be my second home for the last nine years was truly harrowing. Since I was so vocal about the movement, many people began to send in their stories; and these were not only people who had been harassed on school grounds.
I have been posting for my friends anonymously but you know what. Why should we be afraid? Why should we be silent? I'm…
Confession after confession was being sent my way and the number of people who claimed to have been sexually harassed and even raped was nauseating.
Being a person who suffers from anxiety and clinical depression, it was extremely taxing to handle all these heart-wrenching confessions but I knew that someone had to step up and we couldn’t lose the momentum at ANY COST. None of this would have been possible without the overwhelming support I received from victims and people in general.
Of course, at the other end there were people who wanted to trash talk and be victim blankets because sadly that’s how our society is. Especially, after I spoke about my own instances, I was confronted by people who didn’t want to believe that the teachers who had taught them could have done such awful things. Some even had the audacity to ask why I was speaking out after such a long time or why I hadn’t told my parents when it happened. On a side note, let me tell you that when I told my father, he told me to ‘let it go’ because my grades would suffer.
Yes, THAT’S the reality of our social system.
The day I spoke out on social media, I was verbally attached by friends and foes alike and I even had a panic attack but it just made my fight stronger.
If you live in Pakistan, there is a high chance that you have been sexually harassed – subtly or blatantly; by a known person or a stranger in the market. And chances are that you chose to (due to unhealthy social conditioning) and/or were told to keep quiet about it. But let me tell you a couple of things.
- NEVER assume a person’s family dynamic because you never know who lives in an abusive household and who doesn’t.
- STOP asking for proof. Sexual harassment is a very difficult thing to prove; none of us go about our daily lives with a spy cam strapped to our foreheads. As a woman, I can testify that we get harassed more times than we can count and in various (and often the most unexpected) of situations. Do you expect to us to whip out our phones every single time?
- And IF AND WHEN we do tell someone, what are the chances of us being taken seriously? The patriarchal mindset of our society likes to tell us that we’re ‘overreacting’ or ‘being dramatic’…simply because we’re women – the weaker sex.
News flash though, it can happen to ANYBODY, not just women; and this has been proved by some of the confessions we have received.
Posting for anonymous. tw: sexual harassment ….Most of the posts coming here are from girls but boys do get…
- As uncomfortable as it may be, it’s EXTREMELY important to understand that talking about these issues is crucial if we want to a) eradicate the stigma surrounding the topic and b) find a solution.
The evidence for this is in the fact that due to the sheer magnitude of posts and confessions on social media, many educational institutions have already taken action against the predators that have been named.
PAF Chapter has yet to issue a formal statement and course of action but the students have been told that strict action will be taken.
With that being said, I know that the movement is going to continue gaining momentum and that this is a HUGE step towards a massive social change. And this gives me immense hope for the future of our country with regard to such sensitive issues. It is high time we become MORE socially aware, LESS socially fearful and have proper laws and penalties for such offenses.
Only then will predators think twice before doing life-long mental and/or physical harm to victims.