The recent case of ‘harassment’ related to Sharmeen Obaid’s sister has been in discussion, or I should say, a topic of mockery and laughter for the last couple of days. However, there is something really interesting and confusing attached to the very concept of harassment.
Imagine Christiana Ronaldo gets admitted to a hospital for an injury treatment where, for obvious reasons, he is a ‘crush’ of some female nursing staff. Ronaldo smiles at one of them without knowing what the girl thinks of him and gives her a wink; a gesture which is directly connected to eve-teasing throughout various cultures. She laughs about it and feels blessed that he got winked by Christiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo knows that if he offers her a date, she would be over the moon but it’s not good for his career. So he doesn’t move forward and the story ends as he gets released from the hospital. Nobody files a complaint of harassment and everyone is happy.
God forbid, Imagine I get admitted to the same hospital where I see a nurse who becomes my crush. I wink at her so that we can exchange some words but she feels harassed by my gesture. She puts a complaint against me and I am kicked off the hospital. A case is filed against me and media puts me in very bad light calling me eve teaser, harasser, sex-hungry, middle aged brown Asian man.
The point I want to make that why on earth this ‘harassment’ is so subjective. One man does an action that one woman appreciates and it is absolutely alright. Not because the action is wrong but only because it has got approval from that particular woman. That same man does the same action with another woman, who disapproves it, and he suddenly becomes the aggressor. The interesting aspect of this puzzle is that the man doesn’t know how the woman will react; he takes his chances and whether he is cute or he is a sex-hungry monger; that totally depends upon how that particular woman takes it.
I am putting this up because I have a firsthand knowledge of a harassment case that took place at an office. A girl got a comment from her colleague about how beautiful she looks when she puts up black dress. The girl received that comment happily and responded that with positive gestures. No complaints were filed, no eye-brows were raised and nobody labeled that colleague as harasser. After some days, one other colleague passed almost a similar comment about the same girl’s dressing sense with a very mild tone as compared to previous comment. And, the result, that employee got fired because the girl launched complaint against that colleague.
I am not saying that there shouldn’t be any dismissals in harassment cases but there has to be some consistency about that. How you define harassment; is it solely depends upon woman to decide who is harassing and who is being cute to her? Why a comment ‘you are looking hot today’ isn’t harassment if the lady at the receiving end is happy about that? ‘You look beautiful’ is an act of harassment, just because this time, the person passing the comment isn’t in good terms with the receiving party? Where is the scale? Where is clarity? Does the topic of harassment depend totally on the woman? Fine, then, Sharmeen Obaid’s sister is perfectly right when she gets offended with the Facebook friend request. After all, every lady has the right to define what harasses her and what doesn’t.
That’s exactly where the importance of divine laws kicks in. A standard, timeless and unchangeable set of rules that are crafted for whole humanity, from North Pole to South Pole. Yes, the laws of Islam which kill the controversy and remove subjectivity from the otherwise subjective feminist model of harassment laws. As long as this standard is maintained, no woman can falsely victimize man and vice versa. As soon as you try otherwise, you’ll sure end up in chaos.