Due to the chain of events that have occurred on social media in the past month, the talk of the town is harassment. What seems to be a domino effect, continues to work, awakening the country on the much discussed topic.
Initially, it was the CEO and Co-Founder of Patari who had been exposed by girls he used to interact with on Twitter. That started a topic of sexual harassment against women in Pakistan. Soon, dozens of men were nominated on the social media forum.
Next, it was Ali Zafar’s turn on being exposed. Starlet Meesha Shafi laid down serious allegations of harassment against her by the Rock-star Ali Zafar. The incident sparked a huge hue and cry, and everyone started talking about. This brought forward many confessions, both good and bad. A guy named Faraz Talat narrated his story as well:
“BC, Itnay Baray M***y(breasts)!” Many years ago, ‘BCIBM’ – short for ‘BC Itnay Baray M***y (breasts)’ – was a nickname made up by the school boys, for one of our female classmates during O and A levels.
At the farewell event, the organizing committee was announcing titles for the students. The presenter – in unison with the male audience, which was in on the joke – announced her title in front of the entire school. – “B-C-I-B-M” – We laughed, assuming she did not know what these letters stood for. The girl, however, did know. She went straight to the principal and complained.
Terrified, the male presenter met his buddies. “Yar, ab kia karein?” Someone proposed that if the principal asks, we should tell her that the letters BCIBM stand for ‘Bravo Charlie Intercontinental Ballistic Missile”.
We were all in this together. All the boys. We all pretended that was she was either crazy and misinterpreting our joke, or a liar trying to smear the boys. We all – most regretfully including myself at the time – saw it as harmless bit of guy-humor.
After all, where was her PROOF that the presenter meant “BC Itnay Baray M***y” and not “Bravo Charlie Intercontinental Ballistic Missile”? I cannot imagine how traumatising that must have been for this person. I am so sorry this happened. Today, I’m seeing some of those same old classmates on Facebook – a few of them married men – demanding, “Where is Meesha Shafi’s PROOF that she was harassed by Ali Zafar?”
Sir jee, aap ko pata hai woh PROOF kahan hai! You and your bros banded together to bury it in the same place that the truth behind BCIBM is buried. That’s why you tell your wife not to post many pictures of herself on Facebook. That’s why you tell your daughter to stay away from boys.
Some feminists give us the benefit of the doubt regarding harassment that we, men, don’t know what women are going through. Of course we know! We’re the ones doing it! We know exactly what is discussed in the room after our female colleagues and classmates walk out.
Save your ‘proof’. The male jury of the internet already knows what’s going on. They just don’t think harassment is a big deal, and certainly not worth a bhai losing his job over.”
This narration proves that men, themselves, will have to change the course of the way. In Pakistan, harassment in co-ed schools starts at a very young age for many, leaving scars of the process on the girl’s mind and senses for several years to come. However, it is never too late. One can always start by changing their attitude.