An international online movement, more colloquially known as the “Me Too” movement, which attempted to challenge the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault by powerful abusive men, has appeared to permeate itself in the Pakistani entertainment industry as well. The past month has seen many victims of sexual harassment, abuse of power and domestic abuse speak up against their abusers and shed light into the patriarchal system which protects patterns of abuse.

Of the most serious and credible charge are the allegations against famous singer and actor Mohsin Abbas Haider, who has been accused by his wife Fatema Sohail of subjecting her to violence and torture. Sohail, who uploaded pictures of her bruises stated that Haider inflicted torture on her when she was pregnant.

At one point in time, these allegations against Haider would likely not have been taken seriously by the authorities or society, which often silences and gaslights domestic violence victims. The need for the MeToo movement is witnessed in the swift action and condemnation against Haider’s behaviour which followed after Fatema’s post. The superintendent of police in Cantonment has launched an inquiry into Haider’s behaviour and his work contract has been terminated. Finding that the justice system and society still encourage silence and conformity to patriarchal norms, women are now seeking solace and relief from online spheres for accountability.

Yet, while the MeToo movement is essential in our society, which turns a blind eye towards abusers and blames the victim, we must wade through the online justice system responsibly and ensure that the MeToo movement is not trivialised. The recent case of cricketer Imam-ul-Haq’s personal correspondences and pictures being leaked under the banner of MeToo is such an example. What has proven to be a brilliant outlet for victims has the potential to be diluted by ancillary issues raised under it’s banner - in our thirst for justice, let us not give up the principle of innocent until proven guilty.