Yes, I have been raped; I have been sexually abused; a guy stared at me; I want to become stardom by defaming others; I want revenge; they hurt my pride. These hackneyed phrases have become the talk of the town owing to the famed “Me Too movement”. We can go on and on with such tweets on twitter as well that will become more ludicrous in the coming days. No doubt, the “MeToo movement” was initiated by Tarana Burke, a social activist in 2006 and later Alyssa Milano, the starlet of “Charmed “sister who worked on it enormously in 2017 and popularized this phrase. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the people have instituted this movement for their peculiar interests and limelight rather than emphasizing the conundrum of sexual molestation and trauma associated with it. So, we all know that the MeToo movement in Pakistan has grown exponentially to hurt each other’s reputation.
Literally, the campaign was initiated to facilitate people to raise voice against workplace harassment and assault. Milano incited the victims to tweet their stories with “#MeToo” to make people comprehend the enormity of the predicament and create cognizance among masses. Primarily, the drive was revered by many actresses, including Jennifer Lawrence, Ashley Judd, and others who came forward with their melancholic stories. Even in Pakistan, the “Me Too movement” was started with exuberance when Zainab’s case, a victim of rape and murder, came forth. Since then, the multitude of feminists and socialists have come brazen to articulate their stories. Sheema Kermani, Frieha Altaf, Raheem Khan, Nadia Jameel, and many others have shared their stories under #MeToo and dared the system to be proactive for the elimination of the child molestation in the country. The movement grew, and as the result, the punishment for this crime was incarceration for 14 to 20 years, and 1 million fine and even Prime Minister Imran Khan had hinted a capital punishment for child molesters. I must say, metoo movement in Pakistan should be stopped, nobody knows what their families can go under after hearing out such ridiculous blame on their children.
However, the balloon ruptured with the Ali Zafar and Meesha Shafi scandal, when under MeToo umbrella Meesha accused him of sexual harassment, which. Ali emphatically denied and sued her for defamation and character assassination. Moreover, another case under this MeToo umbrella was about sexual harassment allegations on Junaid Akram, a stand-up comedian, and vlogger by four teens and mid-twenty women, which he completely rejected and pursued legal actions. Furthermore, Faisal Edhi, the current head of the Edhi Foundation, also came underneath MeToo defilement when he was impugned of niggling a female journalist. Besides this, the fib of Ayesha Gulalai has been a part of hullabaloo in the latest elections scenario when she accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of sexual harassment. The whole campaign was to sabotage the PM, and the lady was declared an opportunist. Last but not least, the final straw to the movement’s botch was when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy faced backlash on her tweet about her sister being harassed by a doctor.
However, this movement brought forward some unpretentious epitomes bordering on when a woman Tweeted about delinquency by a Company’s CEO who later stepped down when she leaked her WhatsApp chat as evidence and another woman came forward to back her up. From that period, young Pakistanis are posting their harassment anecdotes with screenshots to prove the abominable mentality of the opposite gender. The cases of Umar Khan famously known as Ukhano and Mohsin Abbas Haider are the typical cases in this trend where the former was accused of sexting and later of harassing wife. The lobby has reached a hiatus owing to redundant and unimpeded exploitation of the MeToo movement. The lecherous men and women of our society, for their peculiar gains, have contaminated the movement which has gone astray. The drive has been foiled by some fictitious stories which have failed to produce any desirable results too.
Consequently, complaints have been filed against a 22-grade officer, head of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation Schools, and an officer of a private cab service. The accusations against UBER and Careem drivers were tweeted. Such debacles make it impossible for unfeigned victims to get justice. Our society is filled with such cases where women were fired when they raise their voices against actual sexual predators. Nadia Aziz, a camera operator in PTV, was sacked when she denounced PTV sports Director Noman Niaz and Controller Osama Azhar. The case started in 2017 is still in progress while Nadia remained unemployed. The UN women Pakistan has contracted a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the KPK Ombudsperson for the fortification of women in contradiction of workplace pestering. The ‘Protection against Harassment of Women in the Workplace Act’ is an additional bill by WHO to defend women against workplace harassment.
To conclude, we are a part of a misogynist society, with its roots entrenched, so women fear isolation even when they are wronged. Employees who complain often receive penalties for their careers. In 2006 the movement was started to empower women through empathy to help divulge the magnitude of tribulations with sexual harassment and assault by displaying how many people have endured these apathies themselves. However, now, owing to the meanness and personal biases, the movement seems to fail in Pakistan.
By Afrah Waseem