Stop Street Harassment!
Street Harassment is a global phenomenon that is largely overlooked, and even considered acceptable despite there being laws against it in many places, including Pakistan. While there has been agitation against the harassment of women in the streets as long as there have been streets, lately, several websites and Internet-based advocacy campaigns such as Hollaback!, Stopstreetharassment.org and HarassMap have spurred movements against the issue. According to the creator of Stop Street Harassment, the limited research indicates alarming statistics — 80 percent of women in Egypt and Canada, over 90 percent in Yemen and in two of the only studies conducted in the United States, 100 percent of women in both Indianapolis and California have faced street harassment.
Street harassment includes making sexually explicit comments, ogling, whistling, following and groping. Increasingly, women are speaking out against this blatant intimidation by men, asserting that it is not acceptable and certainly, not complimentary. In the making of these videos, we found that many Pakistani women, especially from the lower-middle classes began wearing burqas because they found the additional garment enabling in many ways. It made them feel more secure, allowing them to find jobs, pursue higher education, and in a few instances, just to walk out of their homes unescorted my male family members, and take public transportation. However, they find that the problem of street harassment has worsened, and even in burqas, they are harassed as they wait for buses, rickshas, taxis, or walk down the street. The intimidation experienced by the women to whom we spoke crossed class, age, religion and ethnicity. This is reflected in our videos.