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Introduction :

Sometimes people in authority misuse their power to harass women. There are women

who have faced sexual harassment at some point of time, in the office or on her way to work.
They're forced to keep their mouth shut because if they report about it they are threatened to
witness worse crimes like assault (grievous, indecent, etc.) and rape, acid attack, etc especially in
Pakistan.

Despite of thousands of court cases being studied every year , We know very little about what
sexual harassment actually is about. The purpose of this paper is to crtiically assess the research
literature on sexual harassment , identify the methodological problems and recommend some
proposals for the advancements of the steps that are been taken against this issue by different
organization within Pakistan.

By the term sexual harrasment , we mean an unwanted verbal or non-verbal physical or mental
conduct which is sexual by nature and the purpose behind this conduct is violating the person’s
dignity or creating an intimidating , hostile , degrading , humiliating and offensive environment
for that person. Sexual harassment is an ever-increasing issue accross the globe. Pakistan is
one of the prominent part of the world where this happens but no or very less public records of
the cases are observed being submitted. The following reasearch determines sexual harassment
in the workplace within Karachi, Pakistan. A questionnaire has been generated and rotated to
that purpose. However, the negative consequences have impacts on both the employees and
employers. The sexually harassed people are reported to have various health issues like nausea ,
depression , weight loss , headaches and anxiety. It is observed that they are also likely to loose
self-confidence , control on anger and fear. The organization under which sexual harrassment is
practiced also faces some of the negative outcomes which include lowered job performances
and satisfaction , lowered commitment level , absenteeism and sometimes it leads to direct
resignations and a loss of reputation as a result. It is very important for organization to develop
fair and equal workplace in order to minimize the chances of sexual harrassment.

Review Of Literature :

To many of us, sexual harassment must not be relatable. But, its more than necessary to report it
or take action against it. Sexual harassment doesn't only include touching but it also refers
unwelcome behaviour and a pressure of sexual favours which a person doesn't willing to give.
Harassing someone through double meaning conversations and non-verbal sex related
communication which is not enjoyed by the person is also a form of Sexual harassment. These
sexual gestures make the person go through depression , anxiety and make him lose his
confidence once and for all.
Unwelcome Behavior is the perfect word but it does not mean "involuntary." A victim may agree
to certain conduct and actively participate in it even after knowing that it is offensive and
objectionable. Therefore, sexual conduct is unwelcome whenever the person is not willingly
engaged in it. Whether the person infact welcomed a request for a date, sex-oriented comment,
or joke depends on all the circumstances.(Source: Preventing Sexual Harassment (BNA
Communications, Inc.) SDC IP .73 1992 manual)

Sexual harassment in Pakistan , after taking place are not being reported most of the times.
When women protect harassers they are actually ‘enabling’ these men and their misconduct,
explains Nighat Dad of the Digital Rights Foundation.

“Society is wired in such ways because of the stakes involved; even if you might know of their
behaviour you will stay silent. Networks empower people and people don’t want to lose their
communities. Often harassers are weaker but enablers allow them to become strong so they stay
within communities and are not isolated. You won’t see these powerful enablers around
complainants often so they become weak and isolated.”

Silence and secrecy gives confidence to these perpetrators. If a woman cannot be completely
silenced, they make sure she is disbelieved or shamed enough, say lawyers dealing with
harassment cases. The more powerful the perpetrator, the more he is able to discredit the victim
through his network of supporters.

Some other major reasons of women being quiet even if they were not forced to stay quiet are
many ;

- Their lack of faith on the process and laws that are supposed to be taking action against the
harasser.

- The feeling of shame is at the core of the intense emotional wounding one experience when he
is sexually violated.

- The fear of the consequences also stops them to report against the harasser as they can
blackmail , demote , make them lose their credibility and their story is going to be in people's
mind for as long as forever which makes them difficult to survive in a society like Pakistan where
virginity is considered as the major requirement of finding a woman eligible for marriage.

According to a report in DAWN, where women was asked about the reason whether they were
asked to stay quiet about what had happened with them , 35% of them said there was no
pressure of staying quiet coerced on them by their employers (harrassers) and the rest 65%
percent shared that they were forced not to speak a word about what had happened with them
by their bosses or colleagues (harrassers). The survey conducted through online questionnaires
and interviews in Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta collated responses from
women in the workforce, across professions and industries, to gauge experiences of sexual
harassment and whether workplaces have anti-sexual harassment policies in place.
In a Survey Report in DAWN 2019 news By Razeshta Sethna, Tooba Masood and Ramsha
Jahangir an awareness regarding the recognisation of sexual harrassment was spread.
Understanding what exactly is happening with you may make it easier for you to approach the
issue. Sexual harassment often involves intimidation and/or bullying of a sexual nature.
The following list of intimidating gestures would help you identify the sexual harrassment that
may be happening with or around you.
1. Unwanted physical contact, including touching, hugging, deliberately brushing past a work
colleague.

2. Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics, dress or mannerism.

3. Leering or inappropriate staring.

4. Name-calling, catcalling and slurs.

5. Use of derogatory language and/or comments distributing offensive material.

6. Groping, physical assault.

7. Mockery, interference in work performance trying to divert one's attention toward the
harrasser himself.

8. Stopping promotions, unwelcome promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favours.

This Survey was when posted on the globally accessable website of the DAWN news got so many
responses. Some of the respondents agreed to what the writer meant and a few other rasied
their voice in the form of disagreement and suggestions.

One of the respondents said ;


MWAQARAPR 20, 2018 03:26AM

" When A women Says ''No'' that means No in any language.A real Man will never hit a woman
and a Real man will not sexually harass a woman, only mentally naive men hit women and
sexually impotent will rape kids and harass women. "

Another respondent added ;


ARGUERMAR 22, 2018 11:36AM

" Good analytical report, I agree with most of the contents of the writing. But i also want to drive
attention of the writers and readers towards the main rout cause of this social issue. As a male, I
want to become the voice of all those desperate yet noble young men who are deprived of
getting married just because of lack of money, social status and incompatibility of patronage. I
am not advocating those monsters who do it for pleasure, I am raising voice for those who
become depressed because of social limitations and start bullying women. Although it is not
defend able point but it is the colossal reason of our dis-shaped society. That's why I request
venerable writer and her followers to also include this matter in their research as when this issue
will be addressed along with harassment in legislation, any new case will be dealt with iron
hands."

One of the respondent requested to add an Islamic touch to the report , he said :
LEOMANMAR 20, 2018 12:58PM

"This can be reduced only when women start teaching their male children to respect other
women. Generally, in our society, male child is given much more preference and all kinds of sins
ate forgiven easily on behalf of being a man. Secondly, women inside an organization are almost
worst enemies of other women who some or how found getting more attention. This creates a
competition and jealous then the sins of male fellows are forgotten and only the victimized ones
are left alone. Thirdly, if not all but some women internally or hiddenly wish to be treated like
that. Not blaming someone but these are some steps to be taken on part of the women to check
these social evils. Only women can do something ,in short, to solve or reduce at least these
problems."

As time is passing with the growing impact of social media that has given complete freedom of
expression to everyone. people have begun to talk about it which may bring a change in society
very soon.

A prime example is the ‘#MeToo’ movement in October last year that followed the Harvey
Weinstein Sexual misconduct controversy. It was in no time viral on social media when people
from all over the world (including Pakistan) started using it as a hashtag, demonstrating the
widespread prevalence of harassment, particularly at workplace. Though the issue is universal
but it is more of a taboo here in Pakistan.

There have been some debates recently about this issue in Pakistan. The most recent effort was
titled as 'Harassment - A stain on Society" was helmed by I am Karachi Talks (IAK Talks), a
platform that gives away the opportunity to the nation's most successful and thoughtful figures
to speak on social issues publically who belong to different walks of life. Theevent took place on
Friday (August 3) at IBA, City Campus, Karachi, featuring speakers Hina Bayat, Maria Wasti,
Pakistan’s first woman SSP Shehla Qureshi and Shahbaz Islam, Head of Human Resource and
Corporate Communications at SSGC.

1. On January 5 ,2018 a blogger Susan Harrow wrote some methods to combat against the
Sexual Harassers. She mentioned various little experiences that we include under the
category of bullying someone sexually. She experienced many of them by educated men
so she reached a decision that education is not the root cause.

"There isn’t a single woman who doesn’t have a similar story of rape escape, an
unwanted hug, a secret or obvious grope — or a time when she wasn’t so fortunate, "
she said.
According to Ms. Susan Harrow , there could be 7 steps that would help one to fight
against sexual harassment. They are ;

Pay attention to your boundaries. Notice if someone consistently gets too close and
create distance. Awareness of physical boundaries, as well as your surroundings, can
head off an unwanted encounter before it happens.

2. Keep discussion about another person’s intent out of it when addressing unwanted or
uninvited communication or contact. That way you derail any unnecessary or distracting
disagreement about feelings, judgments, or assumptions. Because the person's intent is
not the issue, the impact of the person's behavior on YOU is the important point.

3. Communicate verbally or physically (or both) exactly what you want. This can mean
using the (slightly painful) pinky grab to peel an arm off of your shoulder. A non-verbal
message in the form of a look of pain or confusion can sometimes be more powerful
than words.

4. State the behavior you expect going forward.

5. Reiterate your agreement about behavior and communication if, in the future, it’s
forgotten or disrespected.

6. Take the issue to HR if the behavior doesn’t change per your repeated request. I love the
idea of women meeting monthly to discuss between them any unwanted touch or
comments so they can nip the behavior in the bud and take appropriate action. And
since HR can’t be impartial…

7. Have a separate, unbiased party that decides the seriousness of the harassment and the
outcome. i.e. education/training, suspension or firing, like the policies these women
tomato pickers got implemented to protect them against predators in the fields. To be
effective in stamping out sexual abuse, “The consequences for behavior that crosses the
line, had to be swift and visible to all.

References :

- Special Report : Sexual Harrassment in workplaces in Pakistan (By Razeshta Sethna,


Tooba Masood and Ramsha Jahangir) in DAWN news 2019.
- (Source: Preventing Sexual Harassment (BNA Communications, Inc.) SDC IP .73 1992
manual)
- Public's reponse in a Survey report in DAWN April , 2018 "HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT"

- Article by Buraq Shabir in the column INSTEP TODAY , the NEWS international , August 2018.
- Blog by Susan Harrow in the BODY BLOG on a webpage www.PsychologyToday.com