Harassment in universities
If I look at my years spent in Germany and what I have earned over those years?
I don’t feel harassed
I am not judged based on my looks
I am not treated very differently because I am a woman
I am independent to make my own choices
Most of all I am a working mother without holding a super guilt which society throws at you.
Recently our university Facebook group is created where people from all over the world joined the group and overall, it’s a fun group where people are cracking jokes and posting questions around in a funny way. Trust me there are people in the group who were graduated 10 years or 20 years back and some who just recently passed out; it’s a mixed bag. Many things probably changed in those years but one thing that didn’t change was harassment factor girls face during that tenure of 4 years in university.
Anyone who studies in N.E.D/Fast/Karachi university understand what I meant! I remember someone just posted in a thread about being harassed in university and almost all the girls agreed that they have been harassed on and off during this time either by boy from different departments or their seniors, but they kept this normality of harassment alive. There was ratio of 30% 70% between girls and boys in N.E.D and to be honest as a girl crossing a department like Mechanical and Electrical was always a threat.
The worst thing; in a top-notch engineering university which is crème da la crème of Karachi and highest scorers come to this prestigious institute from all over the country which proves the fact that they are mentally stable and high IQ people among the rest and didn’t come from mental institution where they never saw women.
How come when we hear a word harassment, we think of a street bullying but never educational institution? Do we report them? Well I reported it once and I was given a show-cause notice because eventually the whole thing got politicized and rather than doing good it harmed my reputation, and to be honest I never cared what people thought about me but yes, a girl’s reputation is always worth more than her life and more than the truth she tells. And women like me who violate social norms by speaking the truth and standing against such norms are labeled as controversial and there are glorified harassers all around us who feel pride in doing such acts. A girl’s reputation is tarnished with a cigarette and a boy’s is glorified.
How it impacts girls who face this kind of harassment on everyday basis where she is told how beautiful or ugly, she is! How fat she is, what is her body shape or why her sleeves are so short and, in some cases, the weird stares, hooting are all part of daily life whenever you cross the widely held boy’s department.
Normally the female students hesitate to voice out against such harassments because they are scared to be pulled in any controversy and sometimes, they are told it’s very normal to be harassed this way so chill! Because you are a girl and these things happen in coeducation. I also accepted it as norm which happens to every girl who is studying in a co- education or working in mixed environment until I came to Germany. These experiences had toughened me, but I realized it’s not OK to accept it as a norm Anything that makes someone uncomfortable comes under harassment whether it happens at home, universities or workplace. Harassment of any type should be condemned.
My question remains why these boys are never trained and educated on ethical level? Why as a woman we must learn to immune towards this behavior? This staring, phone numbers being leaked, lewd comments, stalking in departments happened to most of the girls. The impact of this constant harassment leaves many of us to disrupt our careers and dampens professional potential.
The result? Sexual harassment becomes a way of life and those who speak up are labelled “troublemakers”.
To make it clear I am not against men nor I am a feminist who hates men! I am writing what I faced as my firsthand experience during my B.E in a Pakistani university. ‘A portion doesn’t equal the whole even if that portion is really loud’.
I want to know your thoughts about harassment?