Your breath hitches in your throat and you’re unable to make a sound when you close your eyes and hear the silent screams of the victims of the barbaric nature of a violent perpetrator who does not kill the beasts within. You find yourself trembling at the mere presence of another man and even within the walls of your home for it takes no time for a beast to barge his way in your room…A second to rip you off of your sense of ‘being alive and safe’ only to sate a filthy shaitaan within…looting you of your rights if not as a woman then as a human.
Seething with anger and quivering with fear over one’s safety, riddled with uncertainty over one’s existence in this society is an unfortunate occurrence of which most women are a victim of
Our nation’s basic standard of security deteriorates like a corroding pillar, ready to take down all of society with it, when it comes to women and their everyday experiences.
The horrendous increase in cases of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and harassment has gained massive attention and the women of our society are scared to death. With the security standards of our society crumbling, the delusion of freedom, personal safety, and the right to one’s own life and body are slowly turning to dust.
Deeply troubled and traumatized, the shadows of such a violation seem to cling onto the victim, making it harder and harder to get through the day, every day.
We spoke to some women who shared their everyday experiences that will leave you haunted
A few of the respondents found their criminals in supposedly paternal figures, in the guise of a Qaari Saab, a friend, and even a father, they have seen the worst of ‘mankind’…
One shared, “I was only 10 when my parents tried to make me learn Quran by having a “Qari Sahab” come at home. During the learning of the holy book, this ‘Qari Sahab’ used to grab my foot and feel me up and down my leg. I was traumatized to the point I didn’t want to recite the Quran. I tried quitting but my parents wouldn’t let me stop without a valid reason. I told my mom the truth because I couldn’t take it. Thankfully she made me quit my classes. I didn’t recite the Quran for almost 2 years because I was so traumatized by what happened…”
“I was 14 when I was in my school’s computer lab, working with my friend on a melody for our eoy party. A guy, my friend’s friend put his hand on my chest for a split second. Walked away grinning at me. I felt my soul leave my body as I stayed glued to the floor, not being able to do anything,” said another woman.
One horrifying encounter was shared by a survivor, saying, “I was only 12 when my dad told my mom my “bra” was too loose (I was very young and naive and not even fully developed). I was 16 when I caught my dad staring at my breasts in the car, even thou I was wearing loose clothes and a scarf that covered my chest… I don’t wear shirts at my house and I’m always uncomfortable around my dad. And every time my mom mentioned that “my dad” thought my clothes were inappropriate (they are usually loose and cover my ass) or that my “bra” isn’t right and I tried to explain to her how it’s wrong for him to look at me in a way that makes me uncomfortable, not to mention completely disgusting. She told me that all men notice and my dad’s just “looking out for me”.
Women and their everyday experiences continue to be terrifying, as six joyful years of innocent friendship and faith in men went down the drain for this brave survivor
“I had two childhood best friends from the age of nine. We had a fairly good friendship and it seemed as if I had known them all my life. However, At the age of 15, I was grieving the death of somebody in my family and I was devastated. I wasn’t coping up well with the grief when one of them suggested he take me out for some fresh air and change of atmosphere with some other friends. He ended up tricking me and jumped me. Started kissing me forcefully. I was crying and begged him to stop repeatedly. He even went ahead and took his dick out and rubbed it next to me continuously. I was shaken up, devastated, and crying. He did not proceed further because, as he said, he did not have a condom. I had secretly dialed a friend and upon this realization, He backed off and told me that ‘it’ll be fine as he’ll pray namaz for forgiveness’ and left…
Two years later, the same guy was publicly called out by multiple girls for sexual assault”
“I was only 10 and with my family when I first understood how nightmares during the daytime feel like”, shared another survivor of sexual violence regarding her experience
“I was only 10, in a T-shirt and jeans, standing with my mother and Khala in a densely populated bazaar of Lahore (Auriga). it was supposed to be a normal shopping day for me until I felt a man grabbing my butt from the behind. The first time he did, my heart stopped. I quietly changed my place and went to stand beside my mother. This man stepped by my side after saying something to his friend and groped me again. Dumbfounded and terrified, I rushed to my car. I couldn’t even tell my uncle what had happened despite him asking about it. That night, I ripped my T-shirt into pieces and threw it away…I was ONLY 10 years old”
One would think that women and their everyday experiences are not so common but you’d be surprised how even “friends” can turn out to be savage beasts
“I was severely sick for a while and it had caused me to be hospitalized on and off. Among the numerous supportive characters I had in the form of my family and friends, This one ‘friend’ had been standing out in his support for me too by being there for me and offering to give me company when my parents were at work so I wouldn’t be alone. Once when he had come over but had started to hover over me after a while. I started pushing him away and wanted to get help but no one was around and I was too weak to fight him off because of my sickness and medications. I was in my PJs that he forcefully removed. I had started crying and was begging him to stop. I cried and told him not to do this but he kept repeating that he wouldn’t stop and the next thing I remember, I was screaming in pain. I was trembling and crying when he got off me. Not yet satisfied, He told me he wanted to ‘go’ again. I had no strength to fight him as he was way bigger than me already. He put his hand there and ended up injuring me to the point I had wounds and blood and even left bruises on my body.”
“He got up and “blamed” me for being too attractive before leaving. Distraught and terrified, I tried getting help from a teacher who was well known for helping women. Instead of helping me out, She asked me ‘Why I was wearing clothes so easy to take off?’ and ‘Why was I friends with a male?’. The guy got away with it because no one wanted to help me. I’m still trying to heal from it but it seems impossible, I no longer want to be alone with anyone. I am distraught and can not find myself trusting anybody at all”.
These experiences are not just limited to the dark corners of ones home, workplaces are full of such stories of survivors of sexual violence
“While working for this company as a content writer two years ago, My employer would flirt with me and even make it blatantly obvious by calling me “Baby”. He would even send me messages asking for ‘virtual’ kisses and I was so naive and innocent back then that I chose to ignore his attempts. We used to have meetings regarding work but since they didn’t take place in the office, we used to meet outside. For such a meeting, I was waiting for him at Xander’s but when he came, he asked me to come with him as we were going someplace else…And I don’t know why I gave in but I went with him in his car. In there, he physically harassed me by forcefully holding my hand and trying to grope me. I was speechless and shocked. Once home, I confronted him about it and he denied all of it by saying, ‘you’re like my little sister’.”
“He then went ahead and fired me for not being professional enough. I, to this day, am still disgusted and tormented by what happened.”
It is these women and their everyday experiences that continue to be disregarded and dismissed by society at large and instead of making sure this doesn’t happen, time is wasted in policing women and their bodies even further
One survivor shared her experience with her own cousin, “my father and brother had gone to Iraq during the days when I was trying to get into a good college. I was at home with my mother, my sister and my taaya’s son who my father had asked to take care of the home during his absence. I was working on my documents that were to be sent to Lahore for my admission procedure while my mother was in the kitchen. Unaware of his intentions, I went to my room to pin my documents to one file when he sneaked in on me.”
“After having me cornered from behind, he grabbed my boob and squeezed it. As an immediate reflex, I turned around and slapped him. I threw the papers on his face and rushed to leave the room. He immediately grabbed my arm and twisted it, causing me immense pain.”
she continued, “he then forced me to give him a kiss by repeatedly saying ‘mein tou bhai hun na…kiss karo mujhy’. I started screaming at the top of my lungs and I don’t know how or what happened but he was kicked out of the house. I had bruises and wounds on my hands”
These experiences are also not limited to a certain “type” of woman and sexual criminals don’t look at the way a woman is dressed
“Just a couple days ago, this company from Lahore reached out to me through LinkedIn. They wanted a technical content writer and asked me to share my resume, which I did. What followed after was a series of telephonic interviews and an ‘in-person’ interview scheduled afterwards. Everything was going really smooth and the company had already checked in all the boxes of my requirements when suddenly, this last person who took my interview, older than my dad, reached out to me. Since I had to leave Lahore in a month or so, this PhD person offered to hire me for a month so I could talk to him and give him advice. I felt so disrespected and sick to my core…and before any ghairat brigade comes up with statements, I wear a hijab and keep a very private social media presence.”
Despite big words by those in power to protect them, women of all ages continue to suffer at large
“I went to an amusement park with my family once when I was 11. Me and my brother were standing as a pair in queue for the haunted house when I felt a hand brush against me. I found a man in his 50’s staring at me and smiling. He had his daughter with him. Considering it to be a harmless accident, I stepped forward and forgot about it. However, I felt another touch again and this time, I was certain it wasn’t an accident. I froze.”
“Some moments later, the man slowly grabbed me and gradually started pulling me towards himself until he was rubbing himself against me. I was utterly terrified at the moment. It continued for the rest of the time we were in the line and as our time to get in the ride came near, He forcefully made his daughter switch places with me so she stood with my brother and I, with him. Since people were going as pair on the haunted house ride, I would have had been with him during the ride in the dark and noise haunted house. Then, out of nowhere, my mother came up and made me stand with my brother so I could pair up with my brother rather than him. It has been 9 years but thinking about it still gives me goosebumps as I wonder of all that could have had happened if I had went in with him.”
These incidents of women and their everyday experiences provide a painful but a crystal clear view of what women go through…EVERY DAY.
Each day brings, with itself, a newer war for us to fight against the same old monsters. In a society where sexual assault and rape is justified with ‘the clothes she was wearing’ and ‘the time she was out at’, these offenders and criminals get to roam freely where as the victim is buried under the excruciating injustices of ‘Izzat khaak me mil gayi’ and blatant negligence and ignorance of our government and authority. The law of the wild applies in this land of pure where no woman and child can even feel a whisper of safety. It is time, the nation stands up as one and fight for what is right!