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What happens when a woman speaks out against harassment?

Categories: Community, Ayesha Gulalai, Harassment, Imran Khan, Pakistan, Politics, Sexism

It's been a whirlwind of insightful advice ever since a young Parliamentarian Ayesha Gulalai resigned from the political party she was affiliated with.

Gulalai accused the chairman of her political party and renowned cricketer turned politician Imran Khan of harassing her over the years. As a result, she's been moral policed and slut-shamed to no end. Here's a collection of just some of the moral policing Gulalai faced after her resignation.

“Moral police on the go”

A few months ago, renowned actress and video jockey Anoushey Rehman took on a woman who had viciously moral policed a friend of hers in public, she reminded everyone that no one has the right to force their beliefs on someone else, and ‘we want to live in a free country’.

Unfortunately, history shows that outburst only seems to apply to Anoushey’s friends.

It seems that if you are not a friend of our favorite VJ, then you are going to be judged. Of course, it makes sense, because it’s not like there are examples of literally dozens if not hundreds of women who came out with their stories of harassment by powerful men years or even decades later. Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods and Donald Trump never had any scandals – phew.

So of course if a woman doesn’t commit immediate career suicide and faces widespread ostracism by accusing her superior, then she is not only a liar but a disgrace.

Leading journalist weighs in ‘totally’ professionally…

A veteran journalist and editor makes a totally valid observation because checking facts or building trust with a source to verify accusations is so old-fashioned. Oh & never mind that his former colleagues did their job and were trusted with the information required to fact check the story!

I would love it if we started holding men to the impossible standards women are meant to occupy in such situations.
It makes sense to have the ‘case closed’ over one interview because we should always be in a hurry to exonerate powerful men as soon as possible and comfort ourselves with the thought that all women are manipulative charlatans.

Of course, there is no way that we can ever imagine a woman being credible, and all that is needed to shred any accusation she gives is a few questions on TV and none of the evidence involved.

“When all else fails: bully the family”

BOL TV, a news channel, has been using colonial depictions of Wazir tribesmen as ‘savages’ to attack Ayesha Gulalai. This is just example of how her ethnicity and family are being attacked simply because she accused her former boss of harassment and inappropriate behavior.

While the British have at least acknowledged the horrors of colonialism in occasional bouts of guilt, the example above exemplifies that those whose ancestors suffered from it and fought against it are only too happy to regurgitate colonial labels.

 

And lastly but most importantly…

Ah, great carefree, fun-loving man and doer of all good acts – thank you so much for your infallible wisdom. Because while we must spare the sister.

There should be no holds barred for Ayesha herself, after all, there’s no need to take responsibility as say – a leader ought to – to instruct followers on what is okay to do and what is outright dangerous. I mean, it’s not like his alleged supporters have threatened acid attacks, murder and the destruction of her home have they?

Harassment and abuse exist in multiple ways – from obvious to subtle – and even when proved conclusively proven, famous men never have to bear the consequences.

Just a minor slap on the wrist, as they kick back with their male buddies and women pander to their powerful egos to succeed.

Think of Woody Allen, or Johnny Depp, or Casey Affleck, or David Bowie each as beloved as ever, never having to deal with the debilitating public outcome of their actions.