LAHORE – Inappropriate behaviour or particularly we can say it ‘Harassment’ which is an extremely alarming situation for the person regardless of gender. Sadly, a woman becomes a victim as society sees her as weak individual referring to natural phenomenon. With this fear along her side, women simply don’t feel comfortable whether it’s a workplace, educational institution, shopping areas or even when travelling. The threat of consequences leads them to stay quiet and show no resistance against the person who carries such wrongdoings.
This serious issue has been taken into consideration internationally in the past few years. Different movements have been established to abolish this issue directly by raising voice against it. #MeToo Campaign is one of the movements which spread virally in 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to demonstrate widespread sexual harassment or sexual assault.
Harassment has been practised course to date, either in developed and underdeveloped countries.
However, we have observed that developed countries with high importance to human rights and harassment laws at workplaces particularly seen taking measures in eliminating this issue because of enforced laws and education system but it’s not completely gone. Underdeveloped countries are being struggled with it to scratch off its roots from ground by taking initiatives. Pakistan does not hold a very good reputation when it comes to this issue with women at workplaces, exactly like many other countries which are equally witnessing this concerned problem.
However, the Pakistan Penal Code also deals with women in office spaces. It expounds harassment as:
“conducts sexual advances, or demands sexual favours or uses verbal or non-verbal communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature which intends to annoy, insult, intimidate or threaten the other person or commits such acts at the premises of workplace, or makes submission to such conduct either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or makes submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual a basis for employment decision affecting such individual, or retaliates because of rejection of such behaviour, or conducts such behaviour with the intention of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”
To further take this serious issue into consideration, a social activist ‘Muhammad Usman Awan’ is playing a vital part in abolishing this ill from society.
Usman Awan is a blogger, speaker and a young activist fighting for the cultural, Moral and religious values of Pakistan. He is a founder/president of ‘Step Forward Pakistan’ and currently running an active campaign ‘Stop Harassment Now’ movement in Pakistan.
His wise initiative to stop this ill from society Usman Awan has helped a lot of lives. ‘Stop Harassment Now’ movement is active and working against sexual harassment with women in Pakistan. The purpose of this campaign is to spread awareness, help the victim and provide free assistance for harassment cases. With the help of this movement, over 10,000 women from all over Pakistan shared their views and incidents that they have experience.
This activist is keen to resolve this issue from Pakistan without legal prosecution so that it will help the victim to fully express the incident which she had experienced. He recently made a survey and talked to the victims about what and how harassment had happened to them and he got to know the reasons why women become a victim of sexual harassment in Pakistan.
According to his expert research recently, he catered over 50 women of different sectors who spoke about harassment, weaknesses and flaws that ignite the fire to such situations in Pakistan. Below mentioned are few reasons which they boldly shared:
- Lack of self-confidence
- Communication Gap with parents
- Inappropriate Law enforcement
- Law Awareness
- Lack of physical training
- Emotional blackmailing on the basis of poverty
The activist Mr.Usman believes that it is a high time to take this ignored issue seriously and to take necessary steps to ensure safety for women in this country. Reaching hundreds of victim, he came to know that it is a country’s duty and so our society’s to provide a safe and secure environment for women in Pakistan. He also emphasized on punishment that the criminal deserves for his wrongdoings.
Harassment can also destroy the lives of women at workplaces. Such activity can abandon the earning source of any home. The administration of workplaces should ensure the safe working environment for women and take measures to deal with this issue. ‘Workplace Harassment Act 2010’ should be implemented in our organizations. Below mentioned are few measures which every institution should take against this issue.
- Discussion at special meetings
- Employer’s support
- Rights of Female employees
- De-sexualize workplace and educate employees
- Measure to take against this issue
- Strict policy
- Implementation of Zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment
- Remedies to overcome this problem
With this movement ‘Stop Harassment Now’ this activist has helped a lot of women suffering from this issue without legal prosecution and free of charge. As he believes this issue is sensitive and women don’t want to expose it to the world or particularly to their families. He also wants to empower women for reacting to this kind of situation so that they can defend themselves first and then approach for any help.
There is no room for any favours to be entertained in this situation so that if the criminal is a relative of someone in authority or is considered a really good employee; he should not be banished from this.