Sexual Harassment: Fault of the Women?
In “A Closer look at sexual harassment laws” published in the Express Tribune blogs on May 29, Fouzia Saeed pointed out that much has been accomplished since the President signed the sexual harassment laws in 2010. The author lauded the speed with which the laws were drafted and passed and pointed out that over 1000 cases have been dealt with so far. Anyway, going through the comments section, I was alarmed to see that instead of recognizing the problem and the work being done to overcome it, some people actually seemed to be trying to justify harassment in the name of Islam!
The very first was a gentleman who began by claiming that Western societies had more crime than Eastern (read Islamic) ones and then moved on to say that he wanted an Islamic state and not a secular one. He was seconded by another gentleman who declared that women had no business outside the house. Another user proclaimed that most women are pathetic and dress “exotically” (whatever that means); therefore, men are automatically attracted to them. And then he went on a rant about women wanting to control men etc.
So in their version of a so-called Islamic society, these gentlemen’s answer to sexual harassment would be to ban women from leaving their homes? That’s like banning people from defending their property against robbers! Would a truly Islamic society turn a blind eye to the harassment of women just because they are unaccompanied by a mehram instead of punishing those responsible? Because now we are talking about a very basic human right: the right to security. Islam recognizes this right and I really can’t really get my head around the idea that Muhammad (PBUH) would have let someone get away with assaulting a woman just because she was uncovered or unaccompanied!
Pakistan is rife with such problems because before there can be any cure, you must admit the existence of the disease. And in our country, some people are so blinded by prejudice and so accustomed to thinking of women as disposable objects that they either deny the existence of the problem outright or worse, attempt to transfer the blame to women! But let’s get this straight, women are NOT objects, they are human beings and deserve to be respected as such.
Finally, to the men who are “automatically attracted” to skimpy clothing, Islam commands you to ‘lower your gaze and guard your modesty’! It is funny really, how in our male-dominated society, only Islamic laws are twisted to maintain male-dominance while all parts of Islam dealing with the rights of women are conveniently ignored. And even if Islam had nothing so ay about it, get a grip on yourself. Are you perpetually drunk? Or under the influence of other drugs?
Summing it up, women getting harassed just because some perverts cannot control their feelings is unacceptable; it must stop and if these animals (for creatures with minds so weak can hardly be called men) cannot control themselves, they must be punished. The argument that women themselves are responsible for all violence or harassment is outdated and has no basis at all in Islam. Simply put, it’s not the women’s fault!