January 16, 2011Print : Islamabad
A new calendar featuring 12 cartoon characters that frequently harass the opposite sex and restrict women’s active contribution in socio-economic activities has been launched by the Alliance against Sexual Harassment (Aasha) under the title of ‘Taxonomy of Sexual Harassers.’
The 12 characters, which harass women using different means were selected to appear on the calendar from a total of 36 through a voting process. In past, Aasha has launched three such calendars in which the organisation introduced 36 famous and commonly found harassers.
This year, Aasha ran an internet campaign for almost a month in which it asked people to vote for the characters they feel more strongly about and think that it should be should part of the fourth calendar. “We received thousands of hits on that campaign mostly from young people,” said member Aasha Javeria Malik.
The calendar, fourth of its series, aims at shifting focus from victim to harasser besides serving as a wakeup call for people, who consider uncivilised behaviour of harassing as normal and a source of fun.
The first cartoon character ‘tharki baba’ portrays an old aged man who like hugging and touching young girls under the garb of being their older uncle. The sketch of a bald man wearing a suit depicts who extend explicit invitations for intimate relationship to subordinate female staff members and threatens to punish those who turn these offers down.
Another cartoon shows a man with binocular fixed to his eyes to highlight the characters in habit of harassing women by staring at them. Such people are frequently found at bus stops, markets and public places.
‘Ustad lucha’ is the title of a cartoon that illustrates how wagon drivers and conductors of public transport touch women in a sleazy manner under the guise of changing gears, taking money or making room for other passengers.
Another cartoon is about the teachers, who blackmail female students for sexual favours, intimidate female teachers, abuse their authority and thus bring bad name to a respectable profession.
An animal faced man riding a bike depicts the typical character that offer lift to women on the streets and intimidate women drivers. Another cartoon is about the men who use mobile phones as their tool to harass women by sending anonymous text messages and vulgar poetry in the hope of making a connection.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, founding member of Aasha Dr. Fouzia Saeed said that the current government has shown commitment and support by passing legislation against sexual harassment making it a crime for the first time in the history of Pakistan. “This is a milestone in the social history of Pakistan that will not only legitimise access to the public and work spaces for women but will be a turning point in changing people’s mindset about the relationship of men and women.”