Menace of Sexual Harassment at Workplace

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Ume Kulsoom Qayyum
Ayesha reached the office she had been called for an interview in. As she went inside, the CEO eyed her head to toe, and politely asked her to sit down.
After a brief conversation, she ushered her document file towards him, but he refused to check them; smiling in a very peculiar manner, he began to speak,
“There’s no need to check your documents, Ayesha. Your beauty says it all.”
“I beg your pardon sir?” Ayesha said in a very low tone, almost as if she was too confused to speak.
“Don’t be shy, you’ve got the best of the looks, I would be so glad to have you work here at my office,” he bragged.
“What does my beauty have to do with my job? Ayesha exclaimed.
“My dear… he said as he held his hands forward, with the intention to touch her hands….”
Ayesha quickly stood up, “you’ve misinterpreted me, sir”
As she was leaving the office, she had tears in her eyes, her heart was sinking inside the sadness she had, but she promised herself that she will never quit looking for a job as she was the only hope her family had after the demise of their father, the sole bread earner.
Three weeks later
She had tried almost fifteen different offices, but each time she gave the interview, she either heard cheesy statements about her body or her beauty, or was asked to bring a reference to get the job.
Another week later
The patient was 75% burnt. We could do the best we could, but saving a life gets almost impossible in such situations. The body is in the ICU, the doctor told Ayesha’s mother with a deep sigh.
Everyone was shocked over the suicidal death of  Ayesha. Even her mother could find no apparent reason for her very own daughter burning herself to death!
Until one day she found a death note in Ayesha’s room,
“I am burning the body, the face, the beauty, that has caused me so much pain. I needed protection and this is the only way I could find.
I am more than body, more than face!
Ayesha Fatima
25, Gold medalist,
March 25th, 2018.”
This was the story of one Ayesha who could find no option other than seeking refuge under the shelter of suicide. But there are many Ayeshas living around us, some of them fight back, some of them quit, yet some of them silently accept everything and believe that it’s their destiny, and prefer not to talk about it, yet some of them bear everything that happens.
According to oxford dictionary, the word “harassment” means “to intimidate someone by subjecting him or her to aggressive pressure”.
Yet as vague as this definition sounds, the grave are the consequences that one has to bear.
Out of every 10 women, 7 tell that they have experienced or still experience harassment at their schools/colleges or workplace, or even on the streets, whereas the other 3 prefer not to talk about it.
As I mentioned earlier, the vague the definition, the grave the consequences;
Every year, thousands of girls in the underdeveloped countries quit their battle and end up quitting their education or jobs because of “being subjected to intimidation or aggressive pressure, harassment”.
Surprisingly, women in the developed and the developing countries also share that they don’t find themselves safe.
We, living in the 21st century, the age of modernism and technology, have still failed badly in breaking the gender barriers.
Our technology has advanced, but our thinking still narrows to the clothing of women as the sole culprit. I sometimes wish I should have told the 8 year old Zainab Ansari’s mother to not make her wear revealing clothes, she being a girl after all! Sometimes I also wish I could tell all the religious foes about the true message of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who quoted that there is an equal responsibility for a man as it is for a woman to veil themselves in terms of their moral values and character, by lowering their gaze and or following the necessary precautions according to the circumstances being faced.
On one hand we claim to have given women all the freedom, and all the rights that they ask for; they have all the rights from voting in elections to being elected themselves but we as a society never fail to characterize a woman based on her bodily characters or her  facial beauty. Therefore the battle for a woman only ends when she’s on her deathbed, and sometimes not even then.
And the battle still continues…
The Writer is a student of MBBS at Bolan Medical College (BMC), Quetta. She hails from Loralai, Balochistan and passionate about blogging.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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