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Let me start by saying one thing straight:
SENDING A FACEBOOK FRIEND REQUEST IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR RAPE!
In last few weeks, specifically after Harvey Weinstein case from Hollywood, women all across the globe have been using the platform of social media to share their horrific stories of harassment whether it be sexual, official or gender based.
The latest name to jump on the #MeToo campaign is Sharmeen Obaid in her own unique way. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is a Pakistani journalist, filmmaker and activist. She is particularly known for her work in films that highlights the inequality with women.
A few days ago, Sharmeen Obaid posted the following tweet that caused a stir on social media:
In a series of tweets, she said: “There are zero boundaries in #pakistan! Last night my sister went to AKU emergency & the doctor who tended to her tried 2 add her on FB 1/2″
“I don’t quite understand how doctor tending 2 emergency patients thinks it’s ok to take a female patient info & add her on FB! 2/2 unethical”
Focusing solely on these tweets and no other piece of information, anyone can easily assume what is said here is absolutely correct and the guy was rightfully confronted. However the series of events that came after this social media rant of Sharmeen Obaid are, in my opinion, no just childish but a clear source of misogyny of feminism, harassment and victims of rape.
I have been a social activist for as long as I can remember and I stand for equal rights. Not just for women but also for men. I believe that men and women should be treated equally. Though we live in a male-dominated society however that does not give us the right to bash every man, walking down the street, with our feministic-sticks.
This entire case of Sharmeen Obaid’s sister being approached by a doctor from AKU has two extreme detestable aspects.
- The doctor is being confronted for a mere act of sending a friend’s request on Facebook
- Equalising facebook friend request with RAPE
Looking at Sharmeen’s history and her achievement one must think of her as a sensible and well-read individual however her recent tweet have proven to oppose this:
No, sending a friend request is not equal to Rape. Ask the 13-year old girl who was raped in Mumbai and lost her child at such young age, or Jyoti who lost her life after a group of men raped and physically tortured her body and left her to die at the back of a bus. Ask Amina Bibi who set herself on fire after she was raped ruthlessly by 5 men. Or the women who shared their sexual harassment stories. It is not about fat or thin, black or white, tall or short. It is about being a woman.
These women would have accepted to receive a harm-less friend request in a heartbeat over being raped or actually harassed by men.
Now, in NO WAY I am supporting any unethical act done by that doctor. From whatever information, Sharmeen posted online, the only thing clear so far is that he only sent a friend request to her sister which could have been easily avoided or handled in a mature way. On one hand, we want to be equal to men, and on other hand we want to put every single action into the harassment box and slap it with feminist rants. If receiving friend requests is equal to sexual harassment than I have been sexually harassed at least a hundred times.
Until Sharmeen is able to provide prove of that man sending inappropriate or harassing messages to her sister, I do not think that this act was big enough to cost a man his job and a lifetime of social exile.
Using the voice that she has and the platform that she has built, Sharmeen Obaid should know that you cannot just throw accusations of sexual harassment and rape like that. Controversies like these make it so hard for real victims to find support. Creating my profile on social media networks, I have given the public a chance to connect with me. Now it is my personal decision to decide with whom I want to connect or whose friend requests I want to decline.