Just late last night I noticed a hash tag #EndSH taking rounds on Twitter. Reading a few tweets made using this hash tag made me soon realize that June 20 is being observed as a day to speak out against sexual harassment, abuse and violence. As reported in this blogpost the #EndSH initiative is brain child of Egyptian startup HarassMap. However, realizing the importance of curbing this menace, people from various parts of the world specially Middle East have now jumped on the bandwagon.
Sexual harassment and similar issues have always been close to my heart mainly because of the number of lives it effects and also because being a woman I have also faced harassment myself not once or twice but several times; most recently on a flight while coming back from New York. While I regularly tweet, blog, write, speak on this topic, today, I would rather borrow someone else’s words to address all the men out there and show support to #EndSH from Pakistan. I believe creating awareness among men about this issue is as or perhaps even more important as it is for women.
During my recent trip to US as part of the IVLP (more on this later) I met Dr. Robert Jensen at the University of Texax, Austin. Wonderful Dr. Jensen, who proudly calls himself a staunch feminist gave me his book “Getting Off - Pornography and the End of Masculinity” after I told him about my interest in ending the various forms of VAW(Violence Against Women). I have started reading this book already and each chapter of it is turning out to be a paradigm shift for me.
Below are the words of Andrea Dworkin who became the force of change for Dr. Robert. How? Read below and you’ll get to know.Andrea told men in 1983:
“I don’t believe rape is inevitable or natural…..Have you ever wondered, why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence……We do not want to do the work of helping you to believe in your humanity. We cannot do it anymore. We have always tried. We have been repaid with systematic exploitations and systematic abuse. You are going to have to do this yourselves from now on and you know it.” -1
If you also wish to eliminate sexual and other forms of harassment from within your society, then start nurturing your human side and encourage others around you to do the same. Let’s live to see the change that we all have been wanting to see for ages.
-1 Robert Jensen, Getting Off - Pornography and the End of Masculinity,South End Press,2007, p7