“Unfortunately, the doctor messed with a wrong woman in the wrong family and I will definitely report him! Harassment has to stop.” SharmeenObaid 

It is one of Sharmeen’s tweets that took the Internet by storm. Public reaction turned into a rage with news of the alleged doctor’s termination. The crime was that he sent a friend request to Sharmeens’s sister . On Facebook, a page named Humans of Lahore University created an event named “ Send Friend Request to Sharmeen Obaid ” 

The problem, actually, is not of the action of the doctor but the reaction of the society, which sees nothing wrong, if a doctor sends his patient a friend request on social media. 

The whole controversy accentuates two issue; first the concept and understanding of the word harassment in our society and second the professionalism in Pakistan. 

Harassment, by the definition, is generally defined as a course of conduct, which annoys, threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear of their safety. 

The term professionalism stands for the standards of behavior expected by professionals. By the year 1675, the term had seen the secular application and now applied to three learned professions; divinity, law, and medicine. Now, the doctor, either intentionally or unintentionally, by definition has committed harassment and breached the professional code of ethics, which can, consequently, cost him his license to practice medicine. 

But our society sees the matter differently and the majority supports the doctor. Incidnets like this take place every day. People send friend requests and it does not seem wrong or unethical at all. The issue must be addressed strictly; we should promote professionalism and try to be aware of the harassment that happens everyday to every woman. Our society needs to change its mindsets because it may not be a sexual harassment but it, surely, is harassment. At the end, I would say that, fortunately, the doctor messed with the right woman. Someone needs to address these little issues for the safety of all women. 

AMNA GULL,  

Lahore, October 30.