Meesha Shafi was present at court today for her cross examination where she spoke up on the need for sexual harassment trial proceedings to be more safer for victims in order for them to speak out against abusers. Addressing the reporters outside, the singer and actor spoke up on why it is necessary that court proceedings are carried out in a private manner to protect the victim can empower more women to come forward and speak out against their harassers:
“In Pakistan today sexual harassment cases are dealt with publicly since you have an open door policy as well as public access to records, which threatens to drag out the personal background of the victim as well as their family into the entire mess. Our culture and religion refuses to allow us to talk about sexual harassment and rape openly, and because of this reason victims feel a sense of shame and embarrassment when their private details are made public this way, which is why their forced to withdraw their cases. Our culture holds women to be more responsible than men in keeping their family’s honor and respect so which is why they refrain from taking their cases to court because of how little protection they are guaranteed if their private details are leaked. For this reason abusers continue to remain above the law since they use this to their advantage to keep their victims silenced.
Meesha Shafi further said that from her experience of fighting her harassment case for more than four years now, she hopes for parliament to pass this amendment soon as it can ensure something good came out of her own fight to ensure justice:
I feel like from my experience, we must ensure that this new amendment improves the way sexual harassment cases are handled and it is about to be passed in parliament soon. I have a lot of faith that from my experience, it can be used as a case study to improve laws regarding harassment and rape and empower more survivors to come forward with their cases. This would be a positive and well needed change, and it would make me feel like my entire struggle to get justice was worth something.”
You can listen to her complete statement below:
Here is Meesha talking about the ways in which these proceedings can be improved and made less hostile.
She referred to the amendments in the sexual harrasement at workplace laws. pic.twitter.com/SGRcWdOQes
— Fatima Razzaq (@FatimaRazzaq20) January 4, 2022