When in 2006 Tarana Burke, an activist and sexual assault survivor, used the term MeToo while sharing horrific experience of sexual assault on her, she didn’t know that the term will become a global movement. MeToo movement gave freedom of expression to those victims who were forcefully kept silence upon society’s pressure after getting sexually harassed. However, the movement got global attention, but in Pakistan the movement was suppressed, considering the subject as taboo.
The event of #MeToo, second event in “Lab Kushai” program, held on 12th April, 2019, was arranged to initiate the discourse and split into two sessions: first about credibility and implementation risk of #MeToo movement in Pakistan, and second about women harassment legislation in Pakistan and the role of law enforcement institution.
The first session was rolled by Najia Ashar, Founder and President of GNMI, when she shared her observation of the frequency of sexual harassment cases in media industry and asked women to understand and support each other in their hard times. Panelists and guests were of the point that victims of sexual harassment are given neither justice nor respect in our country. Most of the time, they end up in further worsened condition than that of after the incident. Even though the subject is considered taboo, many guests expressed their experience of sexual victimization. Ms. Sahira Kazmi, actress and director, unveiled the real cause of harassment, “The only reason behind the harassment of the girls of my society is the lack of education, not the formal education but awareness, parents and family members must give the awareness to their daughters about their rights and the steps to be taken in such case.”
In the second session more important issue of legislation regarding women harassment and role of law enforcement institution was discussed. In the session a shocking fact about implementation of The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace 2010.” Was revealed. It was told that 90% of the public and private institution failed to formulate inquiry commission (for investigation of harassment cases) within 90 days of deadline. “Defamation Law” a significant hurdle in implementation of The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace 2010, was also reviewed. As the event concluded, participants not only recognized MeToo movement and affirmed to exert for more gender-sensitize legislation and implementation of such laws.