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National

Web Desk & Maadiha Nizam
October 27, 2017
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Is my definition of harassment any different to yours?

Is my definition of harassment any different to yours?

Amidst serious allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein and thousands of women putting #MeToo as their Facebook status, another incident belonging to the same nature surfaced in Pakistan when a practicing doctor of a private hospital fetched personal details of his female patient, sister of ace film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy to be precise, and sent her a friend request on her personal Facebook account.

Since then, the topic has been in discourse and under hot debate on social media platforms and elsewhere. Shortly after her sister was approached by the doctor on social networking site, Sharmeen took to twitter and expressed her sentiments, primarily stating that the incident is going to be reported to the concerned authorities and that 'harassment has to stop.'

While people continue to hold varying stance on whether what seemed to be a 'mere friend request' actually falls in the parameter of harassment or not, it should also be noted that the matter concluded with the removal of the doctor from duty.

This sparked mixed reactions from the public that criticized Sharmeen for seeking attention. She faced severe backlash on the grounds that 'her tweet might have costed someone their dream job' as comedian and entertainer Shafaat Syed reportedly said.

Senior Journalist-Geo News Uzma Alkarim explained the issue in a simplified manner; according to her, people having social media accounts should know that their profiles and the information they upload/document on them is public and that they can be approached or contacted by anyone. However, she also made a mention of the feature that most of these social networking websites have, that enable the users to restrict their privacy and the information they want others to see.

On the centerfold of the entire episode remained Ali Moeen Nawazish's view that advocates sending a friend request to someone on social media not pertaining to any kind of harassment.

Others see it as a grave issue, when someone you trust your personal details with, in this case a doctor, accesses your data and contacts you in your personal space, outside of his professional capacity. This for some means cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying.

Moreover, the failure of imparting a strong, ethical code of conduct by the hospital authorities to the doctors that they employ is another issue that led to the escalation of the problem, Afia Salam stated.

While there is a huge divide amongst people who support or criticize Sharmeen on her stance, the positive outcome of women finally speaking up against harassment has helped in eradicating the stigma attached to this sensitive issue and has urged policy makers and relevant authorities to finally take action against the matter.

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