There was a time when women were forced to stay quiet when they face any molestation. But at this time when we have strong social media platform where people can speak about anything and everything, we women are no more afraid to speak for our right. Similarly an incident took place at a local clothing brand ‘Zeen’ where a woman was molested by one of the employees of the clothing brand.
She took to social media and shared the incident. She anonymously posted her story on ‘Girls at Dhabas’
9th June 2017, around 4:00 pm
I was inside Zeen at Dolmen Mall, Tariq Road in Karachi. For those who don’t know, Zeen is a venture by the clothing brand Cambridge, and it specialises in ‘women’s clothes’.
The store was mostly empty, apart from three or four staff members and a few women and kids. Hardly the kind you would describe as crowded. I was standing with my mother, busy checking out a dress when I felt a hand touch my butt/thigh very firmly, the kind of touch you can’t mistake for an accident.
I immediately turned around and shouted at the man standing there– who turned out to be one of the staffers!
“Dekh ke chalo, kya kar rahay ho?” [Watch where you’re going, what do you think you are doing?], to which he said: “Galti se lag gaya” [It happened by accident].
My mother began screaming at him at this point too. And he had the audacity to say, “Jagah nahi thi” [There was no space] when really, there was room for more than two people to pass easily behind me, without bumping into each other.
I managed to get out the employee’s name — Najeeb (assuming that is his real name) and learned that he was fasting (!), but aside from that, even though the rest of the staff gathered around us and learned what had happened, no one was willing to give out any information about him, or help us report him to the manager.
Where my mother and I were expecting the store’s staff to be horrified by what had happened, and to assure us that some sort of accountability would be held, they reacted in quite the opposite manner: they kept apologising on his behalf, asking us to let go of the matter, and when we asked for a comments/complaint card or the manager’s number or some way to report the harassment, they did not provide anything, and kept assuring us they would forward the complaint themselves.
When my mother wondered out loud how many girls Najeeb might have harassed before, one of the female staff members answered back with a smile: “Nahi jee, yeh pehli dafa hua hai.” [No, this has happened for the first time]
This woman, along with the rest of the staff, continued protecting Najeeb and his personal information, despite our persistent demands. We were not even able to learn his full name. Towards they end they had the gall to say: “Ab woh admit kar raha hai ke uss ne kiya tha, toh bass rehne dayn! Hum khud hi kar leyn ge.” [Now he’s admitting he fucked up, so why don’t you leave it at that. We will deal with him ourselves]
As if admitting you violated someone’s body makes his action okay!
I am certain I am not the first girl this has happened to, but that does not mean it is okay.
Eventually, my mother and I had no other option but to leave. Even while we were dealing with the store staff, I was– and still am — quite traumatised, but the reason I didn’t let this matter go, and the reason I am writing this post now is because I don’t want this to happen to any other girl, ever, and because I want to call Zeen out for their messed up way of dealing with their customers’ complaints — especially one of such a horrific nature.
Zeen should take immediate action and fire that employee — no space should tolerate *any* kind of harassment to the people who occupy it, especially one which claims to be for women.
Soon after posting this on page. The management of Zeen replied to her post stating that they have fired that employee and have taken strict action against him. They even saw the incident on CCTV cameras. This is what ‘Zeen’ replied:
People should know this by now that women are no more afraid of such kind of incidents. Although we appreciate that Zeen management took action, but if the management have taken the action then and there, the situation would have been different. The girl would have not taken this incident out on social media. But then again, hats off to this lady for coming forward and speaking out on behalf of all other women. Hopefully this won’t happen with any other woman.