AT-KABUL: Street harassment has become a cancer in the society. Only the government cannot treat social diseases. Street harassment is everyone’s problem .There is need for collective efforts. Therefore, it is responsibility of all and sundry to discourage street harassment by changing their attitude toward girls and women.
Impassion Afghanistan has launched a website called ‘Azar Bas!’ to discourage street harassment. The website provides an opportunity to women to share their troubling story of street harassment. The Impassion Afghanistan in collaboration with Afghanistan Times is publishing these stories so the government and society would not turn a blind eye to street harassment. We are playing our role to educate people and discourage street harassment. You can do the same by send your story at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- I have often been harassed in the street, with men calling rude things at me. But I want to share something that just happened to my classmate, right before Eid al-Fitr. She told me she was going to the bazaar to buy some new clothes for Eid. She was standing in front of a shop when suddenly a boy ran up and snatched her shopping bag. She thought he was a thief, but he ran inside another shop and tried to get her to follow him. She realized he had evil intentions and just left the bazaar without her purchases.— Nadia, Ghazni
- There are always boys on the street who follow and harass women and girls who go to school or to university. One day I was on my way to university with my friend and a man in a car followed us. He asked us many time, “Come sit in my car and I will take you wherever you want to go.”
We were very scared. I picked up a rock on the street and threw it at his car, but he continued to follow us. Fortunately we saw a police checkpoint and went to ask for help. The police then arrested the man, and we left very quickly. — Shugufa Popal, Kandahar
- Women in Herat face many difficulties with sexual harassment. At the university men try to play with women, to blackmail them. If the women do not pay them, they will say bad things about them to others.
I went to the university to take the Kankor (university entrance) exam, and there was a man there who started insulting me as soon as he saw me. He said he would not let me take the Kankor exam. He tried to annoy me, to make me feel weak. I did finally take the exam, but I ran out crying, and vowing never to go to that university again. It was very painful. I still remember his scary face. He was insulting me in front of all the other students. I still do not understand why he behaved that way with me.
At Herat University boys fight with each other for the right to harass girls.
It is shameful that we have such situations in an academic environment. — Fatima, Herat
- Every woman in Kabul has probably had the same thing happen to her. One evening about two years ago I was on my way home from the English Center. It was pretty dark already. Three men on a motorcycle went past me, and tried to snatch my bag. I was very frightened. I don’t think they really wanted to steal my bag—they could easily have done it. They just wanted to scare me. Even at the university, I often hear the boys make inappropriate remarks to the girls.— Zahra Sultani, Kabul
- A few days ago, I was walking home around noon. A boy on the street came up to me and tried to give me a piece of paper with his phone number on it. I tore the paper into pieces and threw it in his face. He followed me a bit further and then he hit me. Then he ran away. I was very upset, but I ran towards him while calling for help. Some friends caught him and beat him up. I would have liked to beat him myself, but they wouldn’t let me.— Fatima Rezayee, Kabul
To be continued…