In Pakistan, people are living in a patriarchal society where men are considered as dominant and misogynist, have hold on their houses and consider themselves superior beings. Contrary to this, women are symbolized as weak and helpless in this society. Consequently, it promotes the gender discrimination and distinction between the rights of men and women. This negligence makes women not to show their talents and skills to the society and cease them to fully contribute to the development of the country.

Sexual harassment has become a very common issue these days. It is a clear form of gender discrimination based on sex, the manifestation of unequal power relations and about asserting power. Discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment at workplaces even in universities are mostly ignored and unreported for the sake of the reputation of individual. Both men and women are being harassed but its majority victims are women. In Pakistan, 80% of women are facing sexual harassment in their day-to-day life. The vulnerability and helplessness of victims causes the oppressor to take full advantage. The fact is that most of the women do not take measures on harassment cases and they even don’t raise their voice against violence and injustice. In this patriarchal society, they are taught to keep these incidents private or they will face humiliation. It strengthens the perpetrators to be determined in their intentions; it also gives them the courage to take advantage of many girls and to touch them freely without restriction.

Hijab is an essential part of our religion Islam. Muslim women wear hijab for religious purpose and nowadays women have started wearing Hijabs because of the harassment issues in our Islamic society. They are being harassed by men verbally and physically and they are unable to raise their voice against injustice to expose those ruthless men. Most of the women don’t know the actual meaning of harassment. The callous attitude of men towards women makes them feel uncomfortable in our country. 

There are many cases of Harassment, like, PML-F’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi was in the Sindh Assembly and accustomed to the frequent mocked and ridiculed by certain male legislators from the ruling party in January 2017. She has taken action against humiliation when PPP’s Imdad Pitafi invited her to his chamber for a ‘satisfactory response’ to a question she had asked, which prompted laughter from other members of the ruling party. Abbasi even threatened to sacrifice herself if he did not resign. She said that “PPP’s deputy speaker Shehla Raza didn’t even stand in my defense. I was fed up with the constant whistling and bad language used by male legislators.” Later on, Bilawal and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari urged him to apologize on the floor of the house.

At Karachi University, it was found by the university inquiry committee that a well-known Urdu linguist professor, Sahar Ansari has sexually harassed a female university professor. The committee decided that he should be barred from teaching by the administration of the university. Pakistan is known as an Islamic State. If these types of incidents take place in our society how can we set a better example for the rest of the world where women have no equal rights and protection?

Overall, it has a negative impact on the life, psyche, and personality of the victim. It gives way to the anxiety, loss of self-esteem, and traumatic stress disorders.

In order to protect women against violence, Punjab Women Protection Law 2016 was passed which included domestic violence, physical and mental torture, harassment, and cyber crimes. The aspiration of this act is to provide women a secure life where they can live a respectably in this society and can work properly and shed light on justice and to protect other women from all types of humiliation and violence.

People should work together against this issue and say no to harassment. Workplaces should have anti-harassment policies in place. It should be the moral obligation of the company’s owner to make the employees aware of these anti-harassment policies. Rather than focusing on ‘why this society allows people to continue harassing women’? We must focus on eradicating harassment by supporting victims in their quest for justice.