Devon loved Pakistan especially the luscious food and versatile culture. Despite this, one thing that persistently tormented her during all three of her trips up here to Pakistan was the shameless and drooling stares of Pakistani men.
My Singaporean friend Devon has travelled almost the entire world but never has her heart taken her to a country twice. She calls Pakistan her second home with which she finds herself stitched-fixedly to. It was wonderful how quickly she became a part of us, enjoying the Desi food and the uncountable hangouts all over the country with us. Yet she remained a teeny-bit uneasy all along. You wouldn’t think of foreigners to be shy but when I consistently found Devon attempting hard to not stand out among the rest of us, I asked the reason. I should’ve expected the reason when she answered rather courteously.
All the men stare at me. I do not really enjoy being gazed at.
To appease her I told her that the tourist count has tremendously dropped in the wake of 9/11 and foreigners have become almost a rarity in Pakistan hence the ogling. But deep down, I was aware that Pakistani men have a lecherous gaze that spares no woman and unluckily Devon too had become a victim of it.
Without an iota of doubt, nearly all of us women have been the victim of shameless stares. The matter just doesn’t end at staring, the fact that there reflects strong filth & desire from their eyes wandering all over your bodies is incontrovertible. Some men go one step ahead and start hurling meaningful & snide remarks at ladies passing-by.
How do we know this is true?
ζ. Because we all have and routinely go through this visual rape.
ζ. Because we all get leered at from head to toe when we are out on the road.
ζ. Because we get hooted at. The situation is worse when we are alone. Sex-starved men offer us rides stopping their bikes and cars near us.
ζ. Because we get to hear sweet-nothings all the time.
You would think it happens because we wear jeans and do not cover our heads with a dopatta?
Whether we are burqa-clad or don simple shalwar qameez, men treat us all equally – at least as far as their uninterrupted stares are concerned. In fact if anything, burqa-clad women are more harshly X-rayed.
While the stories of harassment at the hands of talking eyes of men are many, little has been discussed about the flesh-grabbing, sexual harassment, fiddling with their fingers & chancing their luck on nearby girls. This is extremely distressing and most of the women, if not all, have at least once been a victim of it in their life.
Lately though, I devised a solution for it. Enough of these stares, I have told myself. I am listing my tried and tested techniques with you:
♦ Step #1: Going to a market or anywhere outside, always be on your guard. Do not stand too near strangers especially the dukaan–waalas.
♦ Step #2: Find yourself being stared at? Do not be confused. Do no let it fly-by. Do not look away. It makes men feel that their command is total! STARE BACK! This will suddenly confuse the man. Remember, as a lady, you always have an edge on the road and in markets. Understand your power. Stare back and do not look away until he does. This will turn his knees turn into jelly. Men do not know how to react to stares.
♦ Step #3: Frown a little to add a strong effect. Show how disgusted you are. Do not let him get off easy.
♦ Step #4: Suddenly raise your voice and make your tone stern. This will give him a message to not mess with you.
♦ Step #5: If he passes a comment upon seeing you & it really gets to you, stand there, look at that nasty being and ask him to repeat (although he deserves a good verbal abuse). This will wet his pants in a mo!
Ladies, step up and stare down men. It’s because you shy away and get confused, men feel superior and powerful and of course lusty. Show them where they belong. Let us not escape issues that we can resolve on our own. Best of luck!