A moment of shame: Sexual harassment in Pakistan’s educational institutions

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Shafaqna Pakistan: Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari has taken notice of the cases of harassment that have been reported over social media in the past week. Several educational institutions including Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore Grammar School (LGS), NUST and FAST have been called out for allegedly sheltering harassers.

Shireen Mazari said, “Have taken note of serious harassment allegations of young girls and women at educational institutions – most recently at two premier private institutions in Lahore. MOHR helpline 1099 is available for complaints & for help. Our regional offices have been alerted on this issue.”

Earlier, Lahore Grammar School (LGS) 1A1 had suspended four of its teachers following allegations of sexual harassment leveled against them by multiple female students who said that the accused had been harassing them for years with impunity.

The stories shared by the students had generated outrage on social media with people demanding the administration to hold an inquiry into the matter after which the accused were terminated. However, students and activists have demanded that the administrations of schools and colleges should devise better mechanisms to deal with the cases of harassment rather than acting only when the institution’s ‘reputation’ is at stake.

Some students also accused Maira Omair Rana, who works at the admin office of LGS, of covering up and ‘victim-blaming’.

A student revealed that whenever girls complained to her, she used to blame the girls for harassment and chide them over their ‘revealing clothes’. “She even said to the victims that they should not come to her for their complaints.”

Social media activists have condemned the irresponsible behaviour of the schools’ administration and have accused them of protecting the harassers.

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