Herat women said they want their voice to be heard and that they will not stay silent anymore.
Herat Women Share Their #MeeToo Stories
Some Afghan women, including government officials, activists and residents, gathered at an event in the western Herat province on Tuesday to share their experience of “sexual assaults” and “harassments” they faced in the past.
They said that the move is aimed at breaking silence amongst the women and also to give them the motivation to raise their voice against “the evil act” of sexual harassment.
Organizers of the event said the move is part of global “The Me Too Movement”, also called #MeToo, which is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“Two years ago, I was harassed by one of my colleagues in public. I wanted him to apologize, but the harasser said he will not apologize and asked me to do whatever I want and then I consulted a judge and filed a complaint,” said Fatima Jaffari, member of Herat Provincial Council.
“As a female representative, I was harassed for many times, but it never affected my morale and I continued with my job. I used the violent acts as an opportunity to get to higher positions,” said Sakina Hussaini, member of Herat Provincial Council.
The traditional community and the lack of support by families and government are among main reasons these women say they have been silent so far, but they insist they will no longer remain silent.
Lack of support centers for families, traditional society and lack of government support were other reasons which hinder the women to raise their voice against the harassments, participants of the event said.
“Street harassment is basically carried out by those individuals who are illiterate or they are very ignorant individuals. Facing with such people could have negative consequences for the girl or woman who passes through that area or locality,” said Hadia Sharifi, women’s rights activist.
“I would prefer to keep silent whenever I faced such events when I was very young. But with the passage of time, I realized the fact that if I do not raise my voice, no one will hear me. But now I react if I face similar situation in the transport or on the way,” said Behnaz Rasuli, a Herat resident.
The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement), with many local and international alternative names, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
#MeToo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.