Ayesha Omar is a renowned name in the industry, having acted, hosted, modeled and been a part of the media world, she is no stranger to controversial topics, and isn't afraid to speak up either.
The topic of sexual abuse, especially in the media industry has induced a variety of different views in Pakistan, ranging from hateful comments, judgmental tones etc. The 'Me Too' stories which have come out expose some of the most powerful figures in the Media Universe. Ayesha, who bravely admitted that as a young girl starting out in the industry, she herself has undergone sexual harassment by someone twice her age and very powerful.
The actor chose to speak up about the issue on her Instagram Live with one of the pioneers of the famous 'Me Too' Movement, Rose McGowan, who was one of the first to speak up against her abuser, Harvey Weinstein, who was incarcerated after more women came out. The Bulbulay star clarifies how she was afraid to speak up before due to not only Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but the aftermath as well.
"I did not have the courage to talk about it to anybody. It was only two years ago when I finally, when another friend of mine decided to face her story and come out with it, that is the only time that I got the strength to talk about it."
When Entertainment Popcorn posted the video of Ayesha revealing her story and sharing the information, the 'aftermath' she mentioned fulfilled its prophecy and came through, with people bashing the star and blaming her for what happened. 'Victim blaming' as many feminists and celebrities have pointed out, is a common practice in certain places. It involves blaming the victim of a situation, for example in this case sexual assault, for what happened to her.
A user commented how the actor is 'Muslim' and how she 'woke up after 15 years from the dead' to recant the tale. Others backed up the online troll, picking apart Omar for her disclosure and delay in telling her story. She did not however take kindly to the remark, responding with a statement of her own.
'A “Muslim” or “non-Muslim” woman or man dressed in a burqa/abaya/bikini/dress/shalwarqameez/shorts/nothing at all/pants/lungi/lacha who is talking/raising her voice about her or any ones else’s experience after 15 years of getting sexually harassed by someone powerful, twice her age, at a workplace, woke up from the dead after 15 years because she did not have the courage until now, to speak up.'
Ayesha Omar also went on the address the matter of 'they asked for it' by clarifying that someone's dressing has nothing to do with being a victim of harassment, as proven in many cases. Insulting an individual for a traumatic experience does not invalidate the truth of the anguish the person had to deal with.
In a society where topics like this are taboo and not raised, Ayesha Omar spoke out and defended herself with just cause. Shedding light on a sensitive matter such as that of sexual harassment and how the victim is blamed is a global crisis, not restricted to the country that started it. We applaud brave women and celebrities in the industry who are not afraid to stand their ground and speak their peace.