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Harrassed by SUZZANNA JAVED

She was just feeling awkward as the person kept moving towards her. She did not know what could be an appropriate word to stop someone for making those subtle advances. What can she probably do when she knew his wife was also there? Maybe, she thought his wife would stop him. She was feeling awkward and frustrated as the guy touched her in an uncomfortable manner while he simultaneously call her his sister. It was uncomfortable for her to come out of such a situation. When she knew something was wrong but she still felt helpless. Because he was using the most appropriate social word “sister” that if she flared up, people will think she is attention seeking.

Well, right at the moment when she needed a savior, God sent her an angel.Her sister read her facial expressions, she pulled her sister towards her and moved her away from the situation,

The girl was angry at herself. Why she needed an angel? A savior? Why she needed a soldier? Why she could not speak for herself? Why? The society has trained her mind to think in a way that if someone calls her sister, they don’t have cruel intentions. It is a beautiful relationship, they cannot harass or molest her. Is that really true? What did she do wrong? Why she was blaming herself for someone else’s disgusting behavior ?

Does wearing a dress? Being confident? Being warm? Being nice gives people the wrong meaning?

Guilty her or guilty them!!

It is frustrating when your account of an experience is ridiculed. How many individuals in the world put themselves in a vulnerable position to express a traumatic experience. What gain and motivation is there for the person expressing themselves? Usually, incidences of vulnerability makes you look weak. Who would like to portray themselves as weak?

The rationale behind writing on harassment was to demonstrate how social conditioning of a pure word “sister” which South Asians use conveniently. When someone calls you “sister” in a public domain, if you flare up because of an experience, people would make you seem like an attention seeker. How on earth in a religious setting, you would like to create a drama of your own. It is easy to judge without knowing the facts.

The concern was her weakness of not being able to take action, and the weakness that she felt when she was helped. Her anger was probably at herself for not being able to speak up for herself.

For example, when a person exhibit behavior such as cheating, they have to deliberately work on not cheating because cheating is what comes naturally to them as a learned behavior.

Similarly. when a person is trained for years to think that when someone calls you his sister it is pure and harmless. How can she react? In such instances, you have to deliberately take a strong action because that won’t be a natural reaction to such a situation. Moreover, you have to understand the setting events such as religious building, home, office etc.

Everybody deals with their concerns differently. I was in a constant fight to figure out a solution for the girl in my story.

Therefore, today at lunch with a colleague I shared this story. It was interesting how she approached the issue. She expressed that in most cultures and religions women are taught to be submissive. Even though, women might see themselves as strong naturally. They still fall victim to the product of their culture and environmental setting. Individuals learn set rules and regulations from their culture. However, when they go against it, they feel they are rebelling it which makes them uncomfortable.

On the other hand, she expressed that men in many cultures have been taught to see women as objects, so they just act according to what has been taught to them.

She suggested that if an awkward situation of harassment occurs ( where you have the power to act), where an individual does not feel like rebelling or tend to make individuals around awkward, they should just say in a friendly but an assertive way, that they like their personal space and do not like to be touched physically. She added that with this, your message is communicated in a positive way. I think that a brilliant analysis and advice.

Hope no one has to go through an uncomfortable situation again.

Situations do vary and one solution is not ultimately the answer to all the problems.

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