Mahira Khan drops 3 truthbombs about harassment in the workplace

Mahira Khan drops 3 truthbombs about harassment in the workplace

The actor was speaking to BBC World while promoting upcoming film Verna in which she plays a rape survivor
Updated 15 Nov, 2017

There are a lot of things that contribute to rape and harassment, and the victim's conduct is not one of them, said Mahira Khan as she gears up for the release of her upcoming movie Verna.

The actor was speaking to BBC World News while promoting the film, in which she plays a rape survivor.

Sexual misconduct and workplace harassment are topics that are largely misunderstood in Pakistan, and Mahira used her interview as an opportunity to reveal some truths about these behaviours.

1) If a woman has avoided harassment, it's not because she's 'better' than her peers. Maybe it was just luck

Mahira said she hasn't come across any instances of harassment, sexual or otherwise, in her entire acting career.

Whereas some actors might attribute this to their own 'modest' behaviour or dressing (as per common perceptions of what causes harassment in Pakistan), Mahira made sure to clarify that her actions have nothing to do with this.

"I have been lucky with the people that I've worked with ─ and I have worked with very few people," she said.

2) Dressing a certain way doesn't cause harassment. Harassers cause harassment.

When asked how young actresses entering the industry can stay safe, Mahira said nobody is permitted to harass someone because of their conduct or how they dress.

"It doesn't matter how I conduct myself or what I wear or how I speak or where I sit or what I do. That does not allow anybody to harass me," Mahira said.

"So I am not gonna say I had a 'good conduct' or a 'certain conduct', and that's the reason I wasn't harassed. No, that would be the wrong answer," she added.

3) Abusers often tend to prey on people they perceive to be less powerful

Mahira pointed out that she started acting at a relatively older age than her peers, after she became a mother. So perhaps she wasn't as vulnerable as she may have been as a teenager.

Predators go after girls that are much younger and more vulnerable, Mahira said. "They may not be in a position to speak up or speak out."

"There a lot of things that are a part of this and conduct is not one of them," Mahira said.

Verna stars Mahira Khan as a rape survivor, while Haroon Shahid plays her husband. It is directed by Shoaib Mansoor.

Verna will release on November 17.


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Hassan Syed Nov 10, 2017 01:18pm
It's not bad to gossip as long as you don't hurt their feelings.
Kapil Konwar Nov 10, 2017 01:35pm
Well,verna is a pakistani movie?
Khaled Nov 10, 2017 02:45pm
Good interview.
M. Emad Nov 10, 2017 03:40pm
About 70% Pakistani working women experienced harassment at work places.
Alanore Nov 10, 2017 03:45pm
@Kapil Konwar It is.
billu Nov 10, 2017 03:49pm
watched her on BBC from France - she spoke well. more power to you mahira khan. good luck on verna!
S Hassan Ali Nov 10, 2017 04:14pm
Very intelligent answers.
Syed HADI Nov 10, 2017 04:21pm
We should not hurt some one during the gossip , Any Ways Interview was good.
Vinod Narang Nov 10, 2017 06:36pm
Mahira you go girl. !! you told the truth. No one has the right to harass a woman just because she likes to dress the way she does. Men need to understand they need to respect woman and their space. Female readers needs to support Mahira because tomorrow it could be them in work place
N abidi Nov 11, 2017 03:31am
Mahira khan showed the world on BBC World,a face of beautiful,talented and confidieant woman, Mahira was articulate,honest, and impressive . Mahira makes Pakistani ,artists and women proud! Excited about her movie. Verna!
Justtrynahelp Nov 11, 2017 11:36am
Finally someone has spoken up about this major issue regarding women in the film industry
Ammad Nov 11, 2017 01:45pm
Women card comes out to save same old tactic of getting sympathy nd fan following.....very poor strategy.
Abbas Khan Nov 11, 2017 05:41pm
@M. Emad ...100% Bangaladeshi women molested while at home and work place.
Jimmy Nov 12, 2017 01:58am
Mahira Khan matters on screen performance and whatelse is nobody business. The people becomes personal and forget about their own personalities.poking nose in everyone's business is habit nowadays.
riz Nov 12, 2017 09:33am
very well done Mahira,, good job,, i hope Shoman new movie will shake some and start a positive and constructive conversation .
zack Nov 13, 2017 05:35am
I completely disagree with Mahira Khan regarding how it has nothing to do with how the actresses dresses up, if the actresses dress up in a vulgar way then they are inviting for trouble. Dress up the way you are suppose to in a decent way and if not don't complain when things go wrong.
Onebookend Nov 13, 2017 11:06am
Its way past time, that both men and women of significant status, in various fields speak up what Mahira is saying. Its people like her that eventually will make the world an adorable place to be. Well said and well done Mahira.
fayza Nov 15, 2017 08:54pm
Very nicely put by Mahira...U go Girl!!!More power to u.
Mudassir Ali Khan Nov 16, 2017 10:01am
I wonder why no one bats an eye when a male gets harassed or trolled by women. That is a different yet a sensitive matter too. I know many females shaming males over their look, position and stature. Female harassment is a fact, Ok! but it has now become a buzzword to catch the maximum attention. We must practice gender equity.
Raj Nov 18, 2017 07:06am
Mahira is indeed lucky to have escaped sexual harassment or rape , because she is from a rich family , educated and living in s city. Just think about the bonded female labourers in Punjab who are poor, uneducated . They are harassed , raped and some murdered by the landlords or their own family
mahnoor Nov 18, 2017 12:02pm
@Kapil Konwar yes . It's a Pakistani movie about to release,i guess.
mahnoor Nov 18, 2017 12:07pm
@Mudassir Ali Khan ur absolutely right when it comes to gender equality but you see thee are a lot of women who has condemned harassment of a man in the flight caused by Hania Amir so i guess,people are learning to appreciate the fact that men also fall a prey to harassment.
ibrar ahmad Nov 20, 2017 02:28pm
very well done Mahira,, good job,, i hope Shoman new movie will shake some and start a positive and constructive conversation .
OTM Nov 20, 2017 06:03pm
We all have a right to opinion and so I respect the opinion she holds, but I do hope it is not taken as an academic reference. As an opinion, many can differ from her stated position.
OTM Nov 20, 2017 06:05pm
@Ammad: Thumbs up! You have hit it right!