A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Addressing, and Preventing Sexual Harassment In Pakistan

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Addressing, and Preventing Sexual Harassment In Pakistan

female harassment in Pakistan

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex. If left unchecked, sexual harassment can limit a person’s ability to earn a living, get housing, get an education, feel safe and secure, and otherwise take part fully in society. 

Organizations that do not take steps to prevent sexual harassment from taking place can incur major costs in decreased productivity, low morale, increased absenteeism and health care costs, and potential legal expenses.

In this article, we’re going to have an honest chat about what sexual harassment is, how it affects people, and what we can do to stop it.


Understanding Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment isn’t just a one-time thing. It’s when someone keeps bothering you with comments or actions they should know you don’t want. Even something small can be a big deal, like a guy intentionally keeps blocking your path.

Now, the fancy terms, subjective and objective. Subjective means if the person doing the harassing knows they’re being a pain. Objective is about what a regular person would think about it. And yeah, it’s got to take into account how the person getting harassed sees things. If the evidence shows they should’ve known their actions were unwelcome, that’s on them.

female harassment in Pakistan


And get this, you don’t always need to shout “stop” for it to be a problem. If you step back or look disgusted after someone asks something gross, that still counts.

And hey, it’s not just about losing money because you said no to something creepy. It could be anything that causes harm. The definition keeps growing to cover not just the obviously sexual stuff but also anything that puts you down because of your gender.

We’ve got to get that sexual harassment isn’t just about wanting someone romantically. Sometimes, it’s just being mean or bullying in a certain way.


How Do You Know If Someone’s Crossing the Line? 

There’s a whole list of signs. Stuff like demanding hugs, invading your space, making crude comments, or spreading rumors about your love life. It’s not just about the big things, it’s the little stuff too, like making jokes or staring inappropriately.

Understanding all these signs is key to spotting and dealing with sexual harassment in any shape or form. The following list is not exhaustive, but it should help to identify what may be sexual and gender-based harassment:

  1. Asking for hugs when you’re not comfortable.
  2. Invading someone’s personal space without permission.
  3. Unnecessary touching, including unwanted contact, like touching when it’s not okay.
  4. Making disrespectful comments about women (or men, depending on the situation) and using insulting names based on gender.
  5. Staring inappropriately or leering.
  6. Making comments about someone’s appearance or how they act based on their gender.
  7. Talking about or treating someone differently because they don’t fit traditional gender roles.
  8. Showing or sharing explicit content, like pornography, sexual pictures, or cartoons, including online.
  9. Telling sexual jokes or passing around written sexual jokes, like through email.
  10. Using rough or vulgar language related to gender.
  11. Making comments or doing things that bully someone based on their gender.
  12. Spreading rumors of a sexual nature, including online.
  13. Making suggestive or offensive remarks or hints about a specific gender.
  14. Making advances towards physical intimacy.
  15. Using verbal abuse, threats, or taunting based on gender.
  16. Bragging about sexual abilities.
  17. Asking for dates or sexual favors.
  18. Discussing or asking questions about sexual activities.
  19. Requiring an employee to dress in a sexualized or gender-specific way.
  20. Behaving in a controlling or overprotective way based on gender.


Sexual Harassment at Work: What You Need to Know? 

Workplaces can be tricky when it comes to how people treat each other, especially with power imbalances. Both guys and girls can face something called sexual harassment at work, but it often hits women more. Why? Well, women usually end up in jobs that pay less, have less authority, and are seen as less important.

Even if a woman has a higher-up job, that doesn’t mean she’s safe from this kind of bad behavior. For example, imagine a worker spreading nasty rumors about a female boss, saying she only got her job because of who she’s dating in the company.

Making a woman look bad in a sexual way, whether she’s in a top position or not, can really mess with how others see her at work. And here’s the thing, it’s not just words, it can also mess up her job, make her feel less dignified, and even lead to health problems. Sometimes, if this stuff isn’t stopped, it can get worse and turn into violence. That’s a big deal, and it’s something we need to talk about.

Now, the rules about this harassment aren’t just for the regular office. It includes job interviews, volunteer work, and even internships. So, it’s not just about being at your desk from 9 to 5.

female sexual harassment in Pakistan

And let’s be real, it’s not just about saying something directly sexual. It could be someone making rude comments about a woman during a meeting, commenting on her looks, or even interrupting her all the time. All of this is not just annoying, it’s against the rules.

Some jobs and industries have more of this kind of bad behavior. Think about jobs that have mostly guys, like in the military, police, firefighting, mining, and construction. But it’s not just about the job type, even in roles that seem less important, like healthcare or waitressing, women can face this stuff a lot.

Working alone or with very few co-workers can also make women more vulnerable to this kind of behavior. For instance, live-in caregivers, who take care of people at their homes, often face unwanted advances, exploitation, and even abuse. This is a big problem, especially when these workers don’t have full citizenship rights and depend on their bosses for their jobs and staying in the country.

Lastly, let’s talk about something called gender roles. Sometimes, people use sexual harassment to keep things the way they used to be, with guys in charge and calling the shots. For example, a boss making inappropriate comments to a female worker, showing possessive interest, and getting angry when she tries to avoid him is all about keeping old-fashioned power dynamics.

And here’s the thing: it’s not just about saying something directly sexual. It could be someone making rude comments about a woman during a meeting, commenting on her looks, or even interrupting her all the time. All of this is not just annoying, it’s against the rules.

So, we need to talk about this, understand what’s not okay, and make sure everyone can work without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe.


Sexual Harassment in Housing: Behind Closed Doors

Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, a place of peace. Unfortunately, for some, it becomes a battleground of discomfort and unwanted advances. Let’s dive into the issue of sexual harassment in housing, where landlords and housing providers misuse their authority.

In private rentals, those in control, landlords, superintendents, or building managers, play a big role. They can decide if you get benefits or not. In social or co-op housing, it might be service managers or board members.

These housing providers often know personal stuff, like your relationship status or finances, making tenants, especially women, feel like their privacy is invaded. Living on-site means they can watch your every move, and if they have a key to your place, they could show up any time, day or night. This makes someone facing sexual harassment in or around their home feel extremely vulnerable.

Sexual harassment in housing can include various behaviors, like those we talked about before. It can also mean uninvited visits, refusing to fix things, threatening to cut services, or even threatening to kick you out.

Sometimes, it’s more subtle. For example, a single woman in a co-op might get nosy questions about her love life. When she says she’s uncomfortable, she’s just told to “lighten up.”

While men, especially those who are gay, bisexual, or transgender, can face sexual harassment too, it usually hits women the hardest. The usual power difference between landlords and tenants gets even worse because of gender differences. In one case, an older male superintendent using his power inappropriately over a younger female tenant was seen as messing up her home life.

For women with lower social and economic status, finding affordable housing is tough. Some landlords might even harass them for sexual favors instead of rent, especially if they’re struggling financially.

Women often hesitate to report harassment at home because they’re afraid of what might happen—losing their home or facing retaliation. If a woman turns down a housing provider’s advances, she might face surveillance or other harassment, like getting warnings about using a parking spot.

It’s important for housing providers to know what’s expected of them in preventing and dealing with sexual harassment. Everyone should feel safe and respected where they live.


Sexual Harassment in Education: Exploring the Learning Environment

This kind of discrimination can happen anywhere in education, involving administrators, trustees, teachers, students, and even outsiders offering services.

School plays a huge role in a student’s personal and academic growth. Sadly, sexual harassment is a big problem in Pakistani schools. Studies say that over 80% of girls have faced sexual harassment, creating a really bad atmosphere. What’s worse, many cases, including sexual assault, often go unreported.

Even in colleges and universities, there are reports of women facing unwanted advances from professors, students, and others. School rituals, like hazing, may involve sexually explicit activities, adding to the bigger issue of gender-based violence on campuses.

The culture in schools often reflects what’s happening in society. Exposure to sexualized images and rigid gender roles may make students unaware or unintentionally involved in sexual harassment. Canadian law says you don’t need to prove intent for it to be discrimination; the effect alone is enough.

Media, especially electronic media, worsens negative gender stereotypes and spreads gender-based violence in schools. Sexual harassment in education includes things like comments, jokes, and gestures.

The impact of sexual harassment on students is big, from missing classes to serious stuff like anxiety and depression. Those facing harassment based on multiple reasons are even more vulnerable.

Sexual harassment can make students follow gender stereotypes, which is tough for those already dealing with identity issues. It’s often used as a bullying tool, using sexual info to control others.

Online tech opens new ways for youth to face sexual harassment. Social media can become places for public embarrassment, spreading sexual content and gossip. Dealing with online harassment is tricky, but schools need to create a safe environment both online and offline.

Recognizing sexual harassment in education as a unique problem is crucial. We need special strategies, not just anti-bullying programs. Schools need to focus on the real causes of violence, healthy relationships, and equality. Providers in education have a big job – making sure the learning environment is safe and respectful, whether it’s in person or online.


Empowering Women Across Pakistan: Iyzil’s Drive for Safety and Ending Sexual Harassment

Iyzil, Pakistan’s first smart safety service, is making significant strides in empowering women and combating sexual harassment across the country. With a mission to prioritize women’s safety, Iyzil has introduced practical features and services catering to the unique needs of Pakistani women.

Innovative Smart Security App

At the heart of Iyzil’s empowerment efforts is its innovative smart security app. This user-friendly app is designed to address the specific safety concerns of women. It allows users to quickly connect with 24/7 Alarm Monitoring Support during emergencies using panic alerts, shaking the phone, or tapping the volume button.

Personal Responders for Added Safety

Iyzil goes a step further in personal safety with its unique personal responders feature. Women can send instant alerts to their loved ones, sharing precise location details and battery percentage. This not only enhances the user’s safety but also fosters a supportive community.

Smart Connectivity and Secure Routes

Recognizing the importance of smart connectivity, Iyzil includes features tailored to enhance the safety of Pakistani women. The smart connectivity and Secure Routes options provide an extra layer of protection, allowing women to navigate their surroundings with confidence.

24/7 Alarm Monitoring Support

Central to Iyzil’s commitment is its continuous 24/7 Alarm Monitoring Support. This ensures that assistance is readily available with just a click, providing women across Pakistan with a profound sense of security and reassurance.

Guiding Light for Empowerment

Iyzil stands out as a guiding light in a society where women’s safety is paramount. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, Iyzil directly addresses the unique safety concerns faced by women in Pakistan, empowering them to move through their daily lives with newfound confidence.

Promoting Independence Through Innovation

Iyzil’s innovative solutions go beyond traditional safety measures, actively promoting independence among women. Easy access to help and the creation of personal safety networks contribute to a cultural shift towards self-reliance and empowerment.


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