Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ayesha Omar says she has been a victim of harassment in the industry

Ayesha Omar. Photo: File

Actress Ayesha Omar came forward in support of women slandered on social media for speaking against sexual harassment in light of the recent accusations levelled by Meesha Shafi against Ali Zafar.  

Speaking on Geo News programme Lekin, Ayesha said the collective reaction of the nation to an individual who speaks up about an injustice is disturbing. 

"If a person has collected the strength to speak up about an injustice or something that has been bothering her or has been in her heart for a while, the way we, as a nation react, the way we slander, negate and we are so in utter denial of it is disturbing," said the actress.

Ayesha stressed that she would support any human being or any woman belonging to any profession who has had the strength to talk about sexual harassment. 

"Being a woman, especially in Pakistan, It takes a lot to speak about it. I know many women and individuals who have been through the same things. I, myself, have been a victim of serious harassment in the industry over the years," she said.

The actress expressed her inability to share her own experiences due to a lack of strength to discuss it at this time.

"I hope, someday I have the strength and I am brave enough to talk about it but when people like Meesha or others who have the courage to speak up against harassment are accused of trying to pull publicity stunts."

"The initial reactions to Meesha's statement were that she was doing it for money or publicity but what publicly is she to gain out of accusing somebody of harassing her," she said. 

"All publicity is not good publicity and she is only gaining negative publicity out of this," said Ayesha. 

"All she is getting is vulgar comments, angry comments, and accusations. I know she is a strong, bold and outspoken woman and she will not stand any injustice...she will speak up about it." 

The actress expressed the need to have strong examples like Meesha's for women to be inspired and gain a voice. 

"It has taken Meesha so long to speak about something that has been happening since years and she didn’t have the strength to talk about it, so think about all those women who go through sexual harassment on a daily basis and they don’t have the strength and courage to talk about it publicly or in their families." 

In response to a question about Ali Zafar's response to the matter, Ayesha said the singer has the right to deny anything said against him if there is no proof of it. 

"If someone says something about me tomorrow, I will also deny it," she said, "but it doesn’t mean that the honesty or intentions of a person talking about an experience they have undergone should be doubted."