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A veiled woman supporter of Islamic groups uses her iPad to film a demonstration against the Syrian regime and to show their solidarity with the Syrian people, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, on Friday Feb. 10, 2012.
More and more female students of University of Peshawar are veiling themselves from head to toe to evade eve-teasers.—AP Photo

PESHAWAR: More and more female students of University of Peshawar are veiling themselves from head to toe to evade eve-teasers, who stalk and harass them on campus without let or hindrance.

A visit to this government-run university, one of the biggest in the province and background interviews with female students has revealed to Dawn that majority of girls face harassment inside the varsity quite often but lack courage to file a complaint with police on campus for fear of stigma.

Representing a few, a student said: “We don’t know how and where to file a complaint.”

The law to protect women from harassment at workplace was enacted in March 2010. Thereafter, Higher Education Commission issued guidelines to all universities in the country to set up committees to address such complaints but many female students, who face eve-teasing on campus, call it a huge discouragement. They also lack courage to file a complaint with the campus police station.

“Eve-teasing is one of the burning issues on campus but girls do not come forward to file a complaint. They prefer to ignore such incidents,” said Inspector Abdus Salam Khalid when asked if they ever got a complaint against eve-teasers.

With the eve-teasing incidents on campus growing, use of veil by female students has grown.

“Whether a girl is pretty or not or whether she is wearing a veil or just covered her head, boys would tease her just for fun,” said a female student.

Most of female students are unaware of the existence of ethics committee, any other body or law to protect them against harassment. They say they stay quiet when someone teases them and don’t even tell their parents about it.

“We don’t tell our parents because they would get worried and stop us from coming to university,” said a veiled girl.

According to female students, in the end, it is a girl, who suffers as taunts and jeer mentally tortures her.

No girl has the courage to file a complaint with campus police station for fear of stigma.

“I don’t know if such guys have any respect for their sisters and mothers,” said another female student.

According to her, the university should make security arrangements so that at least girls feel safe on campus.

Last year, an MPA raised the issue of the female students’ alleged harassment at University of Peshawar by their teachers, including some seniors, on the floor of the House.

Ironically, only one teacher was suspended for harassment before the matter was hushed up on the pretext that the relevant female student did not file a complaint.

A source in UoP said when the inquiry into the said case of harassment began, it was held in the open so no one came forward.

Comments (50) Closed

raika45 Apr 10, 2012 04:39pm
For your information. The Taliban are NOT in favor of girls getting an education.They proved that in Afghanistan.
Aamir Apr 10, 2012 11:12pm
I imagine, what protects girls from such onlookers and teasers in countries where there is no concept of burqa?
m.ayaz Apr 10, 2012 04:23pm
we should need protect ourseleves.its depends on every person.
south indian Apr 11, 2012 05:37pm
only true if police and society in general is incapable of being civilised
raika45 Apr 10, 2012 05:17pm
Tarjuman sahib.The world has changed.This is no longer the middle ages".Screen completely and close one eye" indeed.When are people like going to wake up and give the women their rights?They are not your slaves.They give birth to people like you.When is your Islam going to wake up and face the new world?Screen completely and close one eye indeed.
Ahtasham Apr 10, 2012 04:13pm
Only specific people will change but not society so we need to bring change in society through Law so When Law will be strict then nothing will happened...
ZR Apr 10, 2012 11:28pm
There is no requirement for women in Islam to cover their faces. This is indeed a misinterpretation of the Quran. There was a decree that only the women of the Prophet's household should wear the veil to distinguish them from women of other households. A women covered from head to toe in itself creates a kind of morbid interest in those who would choose to insult women whatever their garb. The solution is that there should be within society itself a culture of respect for women. Unless women are given the opportunity to take a full and active part within society and culture, we will not change the outlook of those who are shameless and have no understanding of the rights and position of women within society
Syed Apr 10, 2012 03:46pm
It is a shame, but girls need to step up and use technology and media to expose these culprits. Forget the law, it is useless. Make video footage of these incidents and upload it to youtube. Or send it to News channel. Once these boys/ men are exposed in the media they will stop or hesitate doing it.
sonia Apr 10, 2012 09:06pm
It doesn't matter what you wear or don't wear, a harasser will still harass you just as rapist will still rape you- whether you are wearing a burka or bikini or whether you are in your 20s or 80s or an unfortunate 2 year old!!!! therefore the focus should be on catching these criminals and punishing them and to STOP putting the blame on the victims!
BuSaif Apr 10, 2012 01:22pm
That will be a blessing that all the women are in Burqa
malik100 Apr 10, 2012 09:30am
Yea same thing at University of Punjab. It is like women were waiting for this burqa revolution. I think the young generation would soon forget how a woman look like without burqa.
Igloo Apr 11, 2012 11:19pm
Great comment - really good to hear the system is working in Lahore. Your comments are worthy of a follow up article on how justice can work in Pakistan.
Zain Apr 10, 2012 12:59pm
true say
H. Being Apr 10, 2012 11:46am
Minimising the seriousness of the issue by calling it "eve-teasing" rather than molestation, which is what it is, doesn't help. "Eve-teasing" sounds like an innocuous game that little boys play. What we in fact see is yet another display of misogyny in an environment steeped in all forms of bigotry and bias, religious, ethnic, gender...
tariq Apr 10, 2012 12:14pm
When kids, we were taught by parents to honour & protect every woman equivalent to our own sister or mother. Probably that spirit is dying. Basically it is culture which matters. law is a limited remedy.
Raj Apr 10, 2012 09:11pm
This is the price women are paying for living in Pakistan. They have to give up their freedom of speech as well as freedom of what to wear in public. This is like a social prison for women in Pakistan.
Isadora Apr 11, 2012 10:38pm
It takes courage to change a society. Here in the U.S. we could suffer by having our reputations damaged, which is bad enough. But over there, standing up to the bullies could well mean death. Tolerate the bullies and they just reach a point where it is almost impossible to bring them down.
Mulla Bhai Apr 10, 2012 04:17pm
These girls should walk in groups with sticks and give a good beating to these low-life men.
aslam Apr 10, 2012 02:14pm
then these immoral people will start teasing ones with burqa(like that has not happened). harassers have psycological problem.
sara Apr 10, 2012 09:03pm
I agree with you, we need laws and more importantly we need ppl to follow these laws STRICTLY. I feel very thankful that my educational institute (LUMS) took these things very seriously and had strict guidelines and processes against such unfortunate incidents. More institutes need to follow the same process
Shafiea Apr 10, 2012 02:22pm
Several questions brewing in my mind: This is happening in Peshawar of all the places? Where are Taliban when and where you really need them? Why aren't they going after these hooligans? Are women and innocent public their favorite targets?
sara Apr 10, 2012 09:00pm
You are clearly a guy and don't know how difficult it can be for women. Instituions need to safe guard their students-both female and male. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has a zero tolerance policy against harassment which applies to students and faculty alike. When I was a student there, a faculty member who was also the head of a department showed inappropriate behavior towards female students. On getting the complaint, the Vice Chancellor immediately formed a committee to investigate the issue and interviewed hundreds of students in the process. At the conclusion of the investigation, they fired the faculty member and then communicated to the whole LUMS community about the process they had followed and reiterated their zero tolerance towards female harassment. The same process was followed if any students harassed either a male or a female. There would always be a thorough investigation by the disciplinary committee and a final verdict which was mostly expulsion from the university. When such individuals were expelled from the university, their pictures would be posted on the security guards rooms so they wouldn't let them back onto campus. Because of these strict policies, no one dared to harass anyone including things like "ragging" first year students (which was also banned). As a female, I always felt very safe on campus. I urge other institutions to have similar policies
tarjuman Apr 10, 2012 03:20pm
But doesn't the Qur'aan tell us, "“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft?Forgiving, Most Merciful”" [al-Ahzaab 33:59]
yeah Apr 10, 2012 06:34pm
it says to draw their cloaks over their bosoms (ref: translation by Abdullah Yousef Ali) not the entire body, don't deliberately misinterpret the words to put forward your own obscurest opinions.
Cyrus Howell Apr 11, 2012 01:29am
The problem with letting this behavior continue is that these men and boys become more aggressive as time passes. They can go from Eve teasing to looking in windows at night or even, later on, rapes. They don't get better. They become worse. It is the same in India. Some women are afraid to leave the house and walk in the streets, even with a female companion. They sometimes get surrounded by these men even during daylight hours.
Cyrus Howell Apr 11, 2012 01:36am
Yes. Each person is responsible for his or her own safety. We can only protect ourselves. Others are not going to do it for us. You are responsible for yourself and your money. These college girls cannot just complaint about this situation and hope something will be done by someone else. Apparently the don't want to go to the police and be "Eve teased by them too."
Cyrus Howell Apr 11, 2012 01:38am
Hasnain Raza Apr 11, 2012 08:40pm
simply the "civilization"
Hasnain Raza Apr 11, 2012 08:36pm
nice explanation sara, this tells us how can we implement these kinda rules in other universities as well.
Mohammad Apr 11, 2012 07:30am
This is because of decline in standard of education and segregation of males and females in a society, which leads directly to frustration-gives birth to stalking. Common sense, folks!!
Sunil Apr 11, 2012 05:56pm
Funny that 'people' are asking their girls to cover-up (or worse not to go to college at all) BUT what stops them to teach their 'sons' NOT to tease girls!? Why can't these parents inculcate the habits of respecting girls? What kind of parenting is this? And those religious bigots here who are justifying the 'veil' as a solution since it, apparently, protects the girls, another way of 'protecting' is to punish the real guilty (i.e., obnoxious boys in this case). Is it not logical and more appropriate? But then: Rational arguments don't usually work with religious people otherwise there would be no religious people. ~ Dr. House.
Khan Apr 11, 2012 06:04pm
For how long they have to wear the veil. In the western countries, they do no have even proper clothes but nobody dare even to look those girls including our asian students. Because there is a system at the University and State level that will come under sexual harassment if someone tease a gild. It is for everyone including the president son. In our society, we do not have system and we are biased. It is unfortunate, that being a Muslim, we do such an act of low moral. The University should implement the system strictly and no body shall be above the law even the son of MPA or MNA or a minister. Then you will see how it works.
Shoaib Iqbal Apr 11, 2012 04:14pm
Assalamualikum Everyone, This shows that veil protects women more than police and anything else...
Naren Apr 11, 2012 08:28am
More the veil, more the trouble. A simple human nature, what is hidden behind the veil. Whatever you may say, Veil only lowers the confidence and make you afraid of facing the real world. Best possible solution is get rid of veil and face the world. You would find world following and respecting you.
anil kumar Apr 11, 2012 09:06am
same problem in india but burqa is not solution it is because girls are poor fellows ther are not treared on par with boys by society
Tahir Apr 11, 2012 01:21pm
This is not just a problem of educational institute but a problem of the whole society. As far as universities are concerned strict measures have to be taken by the university administrators. At my university, the vice chancellor started fines for misconduct. Those who denied to pay the fines had their photos along with a description of their behavior were published in a local newspaper and were denied entry in the university for some time. After one such incident everything was on track.
Zoro Apr 11, 2012 10:15am
so instead of educating males to respect women... women are compelled to cover there body from head to toe... wow ... what an education to men in schools and home !!!!
Zoro Apr 11, 2012 10:16am
Absolutely right my bro ...
AHMET ABDULAZIZ Apr 11, 2012 10:19am
There are more than one aspect of the issue right now. 1. It shows that we are becoming a MIGHT IS RIGHT sort of society 2. We have become such a society where we fail to provide security to our female population . (I am not referring here the protection to be provided by the state through police force...No) 3. The overall cultural atmosphere has forcibly been tilted in favour of some influential extremist groups , who do not want to see women out of their houses, and do not want girls to study in universities etc 4. The same groups with vested interests are going to use the situation that the female population has voluntarily accepted covering themselves from head to toe
Aziz Apr 11, 2012 10:43am
Tarjuman sahib as quoted by you "Allah is Ever Oft?Forgiving, Most Merciful", then why do men like you not leave the matter for Allah to decide?
Jaideep Gupta Apr 11, 2012 08:00pm
In Pakistan the acid attack on girls mostly happens.Pakistan and Afganistan are at the same category as far as terrorism, minority bashing and human records are concerned. Jaideep Gupta
Hamza Zuberi Apr 11, 2012 11:32am
For YOUR Information, Islam is against the spread of vulgarity as well as girls being exposed to harassment, so be it Taliban or any other religious group, strict laws and punishments need to be enforced before parents can feel safe enough to let their daughters leave home. The girls who hide such incidents from their parents are being childish and impractical. They need to start reporting all such cases. And i agree 100% with "Mulla Bhai's" suggestion: They should walk in groups with sticks and beat these hooligans.
Hamza Zuberi Apr 11, 2012 11:33am
AHMET ABDULAZIZ Apr 12, 2012 10:07am
very correctly said.
AHMET ABDULAZIZ Apr 12, 2012 10:12am
what protects girls in other countries where there is no burqa? The answer is simple. The law of the country, the basic social values of the land. Unfortunately in the piece of land called Pakistan, we have been made to realise that every woman in a western country (who does not wear a burqa) is a whore or is out on the road to find a partner for sex. Unfortunately its not true. You can always find women and bad men of bad and loose character everywhere.
gaurav Apr 12, 2012 11:58am
dude! looks like you have never travelled in a bus in Delhi or any other city in India. If you have a lady friend , ask her about eve teasing! Leaching at women is a very common trait in this part of the world.
usman Apr 12, 2012 02:14pm
Sir i think this is social behavioral attitude problem prevalent across the world ---there is no social prison in Pakistan for Women ---and they are supported on these issue more than any place ----but the first step to taken by the victim --- i have to college, university ----girls are respected there ---but if few bad element do these kind of activities you should not project that to whole society -----and this evidence by the increase in women education rate in Pakistan that we have a conducive society ---- Rest bad elements should be taken care of with iron hands ----
usman Apr 12, 2012 02:26pm
agreed what ever you explain about LUMS----but question is that whether---the point made by the writer is true 100% or some exaggeration is there-----i know ,,eve teasing is a bad habit which exit in our society---which is totally against the moral values of our religion and culture ----but is the amount of that element is so huge ? ---that is described by the writer -----i have been to college and universities ------this element is present ---but not more than 5% boys are doing these kind of activities -----so problem is there and it should be catered ---with strong administrative actions ---- but dont show our society as irresponsible ---- becoz We are not----
usman Apr 12, 2012 02:32pm
Raika For information please read the Book " in the hands of taliban" written by a European female journalist ----u will get the exact picture of taliban government------what is showed to us by media is not true cent by cent ------so make a good research ----please do read this book --it is available on internet ---but banned in whole Europe----i am not supporting Taliban or any other opinion just providing you a correct information-----they have some problems with their system but not so ----media depicted
ali Apr 14, 2012 12:50am
well said