It’s 2018 and public spaces are still not safe for women in the world. Public masturbation, however disgusting, has somehow become more common than any of us would like it to. It happens while a young college girl is in the bus or while women are in the local train. Sometimes, even the authorities laugh it off.
Well, it seems like Pakistan is not any different from us.
This photo of a Lahore man is going viral where he is seen flashing his penis and masturbating in broad daylight. It was shared by a page called Pakistan Speaks where the incident was detailed.
The post was written on behalf of the friend who had taken the photo. She was inside her university van waiting when this man on the bike rode up and started flashing his penis at the bus.
Talking about the incident, the post said,
“His penis was out and he was masturbating. He went back and forth for about 4-5 minutes looking into the van of girls who had not just not consented to this but were also in their teens.”
The friend was able to capture the man’s face before he put on his mask. The incident highlighted a bigger problem and showcased how common masturbation in public is becoming now a days.
She wrote, “Sexual harassment through public masturbation is a very real issue. I’ve seen men do it outside my university. Usually rikshaw walas or bikers. I’ve heard my friends narrate similar incidents. I’ve seen drivers parked outside malls do it.”
Because that’s what it is- sexual harassment and it can be very traumatic for the victim.
This isn’t all.
The photo started an online debate on women in public spaces. And while you would think that most people would be disgusted by this incident, many of the comments will shock you.
On International Women’s Day this year, Pakistani women in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad took to the roads and did the ‘Aurat March 2018.’ They protested the innate misogyny and sexism that lines desi culture.
A particular poster saying “Mera jism, meri marzi“ (my body, my choice) garnered a lot of attention because you know people have to be told this. Because people usually assume that if I wear short clothes, reveal my cleavage, sway my hips or heck even wear red lipstick, my body doesn’t become mine anymore. It is calling for attention.
The phrase, however, was taken in a completely different way by netizens who used “mera jism, meri marzi” to defend this masturbating man. Obviously there were jibes at feminists and digs at women who are actually trying to reclaim their public space.
1. I can’t.
2. What even?
3. This is the disgusting mentality we’re against.
4. Physically sickening.
The right over one’s own body is basic. Consent is basic. It deeply saddens me that a poster talking about women owning their bodies, representing serious issues like rape, being pro-choice or being forced to bear children or sexual harassment and abuse that women face has been turned around and is being used to justify a crime.
It’s my body and so it’s my choice, but you cannot publicly masturbate at a van full of girls and use the same reasoning.