A calendar based on the theme of women’s harassment was launched here on Saturday by the Alliance Against Sexual Harassment (Aasha). It portrays, in cartoon form, perverted characters responsible for restricting women’s active contribution in socio-economic activities through intimidation and harassment. It’s funny yet serious.
‘Tharki baba’, the calendar’s first character, signifies men who inappropriately hug and touch young girls while pretending to be paternal figures of some sort.
A bald character in a suit, ‘hocha boss’, depicts men who generously extend explicit invitations for intimate relationships to subordinate women along with threats to punish them if they fail to comply. Perhaps the latter is also a form of innuendo for such perverts.
Another character of a man with binoculars, ‘ghuran chatto’, depicts gawkers who are usually found ‘bird-gazing’ at public places such as bus stops.
‘Ustad lucha’ is the wagon driver who touches women while pretending to be changing gears, taking money or making room for other passengers.
Another character depicts teachers who blackmail students into providing sexual favours.
An dog-faced man on a bicycle, ‘khabees on wheels’, depicts goons who offer unrequested lifts to women on the streets and intimidate women drivers. Another character is about men who use mobile phones as a harassment tool, by sending vulgar poetry in anonymous text messages with hopes to “make a connection.”
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the founding member of Aasha Dr Fauzia Saeed said, “The current government has shown commitment and support by passing legislation against sexual harassment, making it a punishable offense for the first time in the history of Pakistan. This is a milestone in our social history which will not only legitimise access of women to public and work spaces but will be a turning point in changing people’s mindset about the relationship between men and women.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2011.