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Friday Jun 18 2021
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'Ran from pillar to post for 7 years to prove I wasn't in love with my harasser': victim

After a long and difficult battle of seven years, a female teacher's harasser, former Karachi University assistant professor Dr Farhan Kamrani, was finally convicted to eight years in prison by a Karachi district and sessions court earlier this week. But the teacher says the punishment is not enough for what she had to suffer.

"I kept on running from pillar to post in courts and in offices of law enforcers continuously for seven years just to prove that I had never been in love or a close relationship with Dr Kamrani. I may never be able to explain the trauma, the anguish I have been through because my fake nudes were circulated on social media for nothing,” she told The News.

On Wednesday, a District East sessions court sentenced Dr Kamrani to eight years in prison for making and sharing fake nudes of the victim. He also has to pay a fine of Rs1.1 million.

But when the teacher read the judgement, she was not happy. She said it was stated that Dr Kamrani belonged to a noble profession.

Know your rights: What to do if you have been sexually harassed?

She said that being a lecturer, she had to endure severe difficulties for seven years but a lesser punishment was handed down to the convict on the grounds that he belonged to a "noble profession".

Dr Kamrani has been sentenced to a total of eight years in jail with a total fine of Rs1.1million. However, he will benefit from Section 382-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, under which the period of detention before conviction is counted as part of the jail sentence.

“I suffered difficulties, mental stress and financial problems for almost seven years to get justice,” the victim said, adding she would have completed two PhDs in the time she spent struggling for justice. “I couldn’t complete my doctorate degree because of the court case,” she said.

The female lecturer shared her story, how she was harassed by Dr Kamrani, what she did about it, the response she got from the courts, FIA and law enforcers, the financial difficulties she faced and her advise for other women who are victims of harassment.

What happened?

When the lecturer was informed by her students and colleagues about fake nudes of hers being shared on social media, she had no idea who was circulating it.

With help from her employers, the lecturer approached the FIA's cyber crime wing and filed a complaint.

“I had no knowledge of who was making my fake nudes and sharing those photos with my students and other colleagues. When I was informed by my students and employers, I filed a complaint against an unidentified person,” she said.

“I merely wanted to stop the campaign against me on social media. But even after registration of several complaints, the harasser took the matter to the next level.”

Speaking about her misery, she said, “After seeing my fake photos and videos on social media I was facing traumatic stress that almost shattered my sense of security. I was feeling helpless and vulnerable. I was thinking that if my family and especially my husband came to know, what would they think of my character. I was unable to talk to my family and husband. My mind was completely blank.”

Read more: FIA report says number of complaints related to harassment, blasphemy increasing

Later, the FIA traced the IP address and location of the suspect. Only when the cybercrime wing of the agency arrested the suspect, did she come to know that her harasser was her former colleague Dr Kamrani.

Dr Kamrani and the female lecturer had worked together at the Special Security Unit (SSU) of the Sindh police. The victim at that time was a media coordinator at the SSU where the convict had been hired as a psychiatric trainer for newly-recruited cops.

“There was no direct interaction between me and Dr Kamrani,” the victim said, adding that however, when he was arrested, he concocted a story to tell to the investigators. “He claimed that I was in love with him and I had promised to marry him, but then I cheated him. This entire story was a blatant lie,” the victim said.

“I kept on running from pillar to post in courts and in offices of law enforcers continuously for seven years just to prove that I had never been in love or a close relationship with Dr Kamrani," she said

The investigation and threats

Dr Kamrani admitted to making edited nudes of the victim, according to court documents. He tried to apologise later and prayed for "mercy" but got no response from the complainant.

The lecturer said that Dr Kamrani peers had come to her house and one of them raised his shirt, showing a pistol to her children to intimidate them.

But she refused to budge.

Later, a page titled ‘Stand with Farhan Kamrani’, was made on social media where Dr Kamrani's students and supporters launched a campaign against her, calling her a 'chalbaz aurat' (swindler).

She had to register another FIR against the page, after which a message was posted there which read that she had come to know about the page and lodged a complaint against it, due to which the activities on the page would be suspended for a certain period.

A month later, an online group was made with the same posts.

She said the campaign initiated by Dr Kamrani’s friends, relatives and family members against her continued even when the case was being heard in court.

Read more: Cabinet approves important amendments to anti harassment laws

“Just for the last two days, I’m feeling free. In the last many years, they created groups and pages, and I would file complaints over complaints. At the same time I was dealing with court cases,” she said.

The message for other women

The victim, however, stated that

Women must come forward against such harassers, the teacher said. “I know it’s not an easy job. Seeking justice with patience is really a serious task. But preferring silence over justice means to be a part of the crime,” she said.

She does not want her case to be interpreted as a victory of a woman over a man.

“I’m not against all men. If this had been done by a woman, I would have also gone to courts against her,” she said.

Read more: What are the problems with Pakistan’s sexual harassment laws?