Same Harassment, Different Country
This week, we hear from Zahra Wakilzada, a high school student who has lived all over the world, sharing her experiences on harassment across cultures.
Three days ago, I was walking to pick up my youngest sister from her school that is ten minutes away from our home. As I was walking two men were in the car and one of them shout some words that was not nice for a human to tell another, and his friend which was driving started to laugh. My feet were hurting, but I started to walk faster. It was the fear that if they make a U-turn and come after me, they cannot find me.
We usually consider the USA the most powerful and top ten richest country in the world, but are we rich in education and understanding? I have lived in three different countries and I was not safe in any of these countries from street harassment. For many people it does not matter how much it affects us as long as they enjoy it. Since I can remember, I have faced this issue. Most of the time I was walking to school in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I heard people shouting and saying whatever they wanted. In Afghanistan, they would horn their automobiles or they would come after girls. They just tried to get girls attention regardless of their age and pass their dirty and meaningless messages, which are: “You are beautiful, Wanna be my girlfriend? What beautiful lips! OHH your body!” or it is: “What the f*** you want here in the street? You will grow and learn how to be a b**** if you go to school.”
Street harassment in Pakistan is not different from Afghanistan. People will say the same thing, and in both countries they will touch or rape the girls if they can. Unfortunately, across the oceans, thousands of miles away in a very developed country, in the United States, it is not very different. I have not been living in this country for a long time. I came here at the end of 2015 and I have experienced harassment here.
This biggest problem that all countries have in common and harassment is that we have never taught our sons that how disrespecting a girl will feel like. Whenever we discuss about issues such as street harassment we tell our girls to be careful or stand up for themselves, but why we do not tell our boys to stop it and never be a starter? Instead of telling our girls to do not go out after 12:00 AM, why do not we tell our boys to not harass anyone of any age at any time? Instead of building borders for our girls, teach our boys not to be the reason for building it.
When we are talking about women, we mean all females regardless of their background and skin color. Women around the world are facing different problem, but they are stronger than before. They have learned to stand up for themselves and speak out. In 21st century, there are so many powerful women who are breaking barriers and crossing the borders. They are working towards equality and their human rights.
However, speaking up and standing up for themselves has not been easy. Women face different problem when they are trying to break the barriers. The problems start from harassment to honor killing. All women have experienced harassment in different ways, but we still stand up and defend our rights. Believing in our strength is what makes us unique.