by Dr. Fouzia Saeed
I would like to congratulate all the women in Pakistan on the passage of two significant pieces of legislation. The issue of sexual harassment had pained us for just too long. I learnt from my mother and other elders, and I am sure all the other Pakistani women learnt it from their mothers that, Ghar se bahir niklo gi to aiesa to ho ga” (If you will go out of the home you are bound to face it). Sexual harassment, every time we went out anywhere, was taken as a given phenomenon, a constant in our lives. The burden was always on us to devise ways to handle it. Of course, these ways only restricted our own lives. No one in my life ever said that it was wrong and should not happen. The focus was how I can dress properly, not go out alone, not go out in the dark, take my brother along or even better not go out at all. Thus, the bottom line being that this teasing, intimidation and humiliation is there to stay. It was not until later in my life that I started to wonder if there could be a possibility that men could be prevented from harassing me. I am sure many other women have thought about this and, at least on some occasions, have challenged this humiliation.