Sexual harassment is the technique of harassment which is sexual in nature. It has different categories ranging from demanding sexual favors in return of something or making uncomfortable due to verbal or physical conduct. It involves sexual abuse or assault as well. Harassment in any form is not justified. And sexual harassment allegation is not proof of it. One needs to go through a certain legal procedure to prove or defend it.
Let’s discuss in the light of Miss. Shafi’s allegation on Ali Zafar regarding sexual harassment.
It’s not so long ago when Meesha Shafi posted a Tweet on Twitter following #MeToo trend accusing Ali Zafar of harassing her sexually on April 19th, 2018. Her point was that if it can happen to her then it can happen to anybody, especially young females. She accused Ali Zafar and this news was on fire.
Different people had a different take on this issue. Miss Shafi accused him of harassing more than once on different occasions. Ali Zafar replied to her Tweet:
This provoked a war between celebrities too. Few were supporting Meesha Shafi for speaking up. Whereas, some colleagues sharing their working experience with Ali Zafar took his side as well.
Ali Zafar approached the court and filed the suit of 1 billion under the Defamation Ordinance 2002
Ali Zafar appeared in television interviews and revealed the public that how Miss. Shafi’s allegations damaged his reputation which indirectly affected his work and family. He had approached the court to prove all the claims against him wrong. Court also imposed a fine of 10,000 on Meesha Shafi for her lawyer’s failure to attend one of the hearings. Lahore High Court ordered to conclude this case in 90 days last Tuesday.
It was a brief overview of the entire case. But there is one thing people should know.
Internet was on fire due to Ali Zafar and Meesha Shafi’s controversy. Laws are made to protect people and ensure peace and stability in society. Laws don’t give you an incentive to assassinate someone’s character whenever you want to without any solid proof.
Several questions arise out of this controversy. Meesha Shafi while sharing her #MeToo story must also tell us is it just Ali Zafar? She never faced this or similar issues from anybody else in the industry? Any lady who says she never faced any kind of harassment from a couple of people will be clearly a lie. Let’s forget this industry, the majority of working women of all ages face harassment from the bus stops to their working places and homes. Harassment is not a joke but a very serious issue which might act as a hurdle in the paths of many. Such issues must be addressed with great responsibility.
People need to understand that harassment is when you don’t allow/want to give any personal space to someone in your life and that person continues to tease you. If your consent is involved due to any reason, and later on you realize it is no longer serving your purpose so let’s call it harassment now. Then this is not harassment ladies! Under such cases, putting the whole blame on one party is a clear injustice.
It is observed many times that people who need to use this law prefer to remain silent. The hearings of this case are going on and let the court decide who is right and who is wrong. Be it a man or a woman, charges of sexual harassment can destroy someone’s reputation and career. One must be careful while making such allegations because either it can harm someone’s reputation and career or your entire bank balance.
Maida Khan has done Masters in Mass Communication from NUST. She is a part-time lecturer teaching TV Production courses.
Writing is her hobby, and she is a vocal activist.