‘He slowed down his bike near my car, and I could see that he was showing me porn from his mobile screen’: Harassment Pakistani women face on the streets everyday

It’s not a new phenomenon that bike-riders have harassed women passersby walking on the streets: be it a maid, a modern-day woman, a burqa-clad female or even a school girl; as long as she’s a woman, she shall be harassed.

People ask women to stay in their ‘safe zones’, and not travel ‘late at night’, because perhaps that kind of safety has been crowned to the men only.

If you have female genitalia, you’re in grave danger driving alone at night, or worse, walking alone at night (which most of us women wouldn’t dare to).

Shameen Raza, a resident of Islamabad, recently experienced such harassment in the apparently safe community of Islamabad while on her way back home in her car.

Her Facebook Status:

“Yesterday at around 11:30 pm when I was turning into my street (F-11, Islamabad), I noticed that a bike was getting close to my car. As I drove ahead, I saw that the man riding the bike was showing me his phone with porn playing on the screen. I was angry and I wanted to scare the hell out of him. I picked my phone up from the dashboard, slowed down my car and pretended to call someone for help. I looked up to see whether the man had run off but he was still there and this time with his tongue sticking out of his mouth. He was pretending to be licking. I wanted to drive faster but I froze. I wanted to kill him or do something to counter this action. I snapped out of it, I don’t know how and drove on to my house. This is when I started to honk in front of my house gate like crazy and the man on the bike rode out of the street. I felt disgusted and I still do to the very core. I wish that I could’ve taken the number of his bike or taken a picture of his face. I did nothing. I’ve had a gun point experience before, where I didn’t give in. I had my senses intact and I got out of that particular situation quite okay. This isn’t like that. This was awful and truly disgusting. I can’t imagine what so many women out there on the streets go through with such lunatics living around. I feel traumatised and I swear, it was the most loathsome of things to have happened to me in a car which was locked and in a space which was deemed safe earlier. So much was put into question and it’s difficult to think otherwise.”

Unprovoked & randomly, a man can do whatever he wants in the streets of Pakistan, because he knows no one will hold him accountable for his actions.

These men make the streets of our country dirty with their sick-mindedness and their frustrated, disturbed minds. The only reason it is safe for a man to walk home alone at night, and not for a woman is the lack of punishment for such criminals.

Although there have been recent laws passed to ensure the safety of women who are a target of domestic violence or sexual harassment, rape, we still have a long way to go before we finally have men who keep to themselves while women walk, drive on the roads.

If a tragic incident like this could affect the young, independent girl of Islamabad then what are the non-independent, uneducated women facing in their lives? I dread to even think on the terms.

 

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Sana Gilani

Sana Gilani

Aspiring writer, singer, and everything in between. She can be reached at writetosanatalatgilani@gmail.com