In the wake of sexual harassment incidents occurring all around the world, renowned Pakistani singer and actress Meesha Shafi has spoken up too. The versatile artist and mother of two took to Twitter to share her own experience of facing sexual harassment at the hands of no stranger but a colleague from the industry. Ms Shafi alleged that famous singer and actor Ali Zafar made sexual advances towards her on not one or two, but multiple occasions.
“I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar. These incidences did not happen when I was young, or just entering the industry. This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children”, Meesha shared on Twitter.
Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society. It is not easy to speak out.. but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo pic.twitter.com/iwex7e1NLZ
— Meesha Shafi (@itsmeeshashafi) April 19, 2018
The 36-year-old singer issued a long statement on Twitter in which she thanked her family, friends and fans for the unconditional love and went on talking about why she finally decided to speak up.
“Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society. It is not easy to speak out. But it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo”, Meesha tweeted.
The singer-cum-actor continued in her statement, “As a woman, a public figure and a mother, I have always felt strongly about using my voice to encourage and support our youth who look up to me especially girls, who dream of carving their own path in Pakistan.”
She also talked about the taboo and stigma attached to the topic of harassment and how it is difficult for women to speak up against it.
“Despite having a voice, there are some issues that are very difficult to speak about as a woman, especially sexual harassment. If this can happen to someone like me, an established artist, then it can happen to any young woman hoping to break into the industry and that concerns me gravely”, Meesha said in her statement.
After Shafi’s statment, a well-known journalist Atika Rehman posted a tweet backing Meeshas claims. In this tweet Ms Rehman shared a message from her friend from the media industry sharing similar concerns.
— Atika Rehman (@AtikaRehman) April 19, 2018
Allegations by Shafi aside, Ali Zafar’s tweets contain element of sexism. In one tweet Ali Zafar is apparently telling his followers not to take No as an answer.
When i woman says no,respect the answer but don’t give up unless she says “never”.If she says “never” with a smirk, you still have a chance.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) July 4, 2010
In another such tweet, the singer has reduced women’s status as a mere accessory.
Man is made to be competitive, destructive, seductive and eruptive. Women make sure it continues happening.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) August 29, 2010
Social media is currently buzzing with these claims and looks like Teefa is really in trouble.