Why are we still telling people to protect themselves from harassment rather than putting the blame squarely where it belongs.
Why are we still telling people to protect themselves from harassment rather than putting the blame squarely where it belongs.

Atif Aslam was set to perform at a food festival in Lahore Sunday night, and before heading to the venue he left a message for his followers on Instagram.

The singer's post read: "Performing in lahore tonight at the 7up food fest. Take care of your dear ones and the families during the performance. See you at 9'30 / 10."

Atif's message comes nearly two years after the harassment of a woman at one of his concerts in Karachi. Though several women were molested due to the mismanagement of the event that night, one woman was 'rescued' by the singer after he witnessed some female attendees in the front row being harassed during his performance.

Also read: Atif Aslam calls out harassers mid-concert, tells them to respect women

He stopped the concert midway and told the harasser to behave and respect women, otherwise he'll walk out. However, in his Instagram post yesterday, Atif forgot to address the harassers.

Why are we still telling people to protect themselves from harassment — as if anyone holds that power — rather than putting the blame squarely where it belongs: with the harassers.

What happens to women going to concerts alone or with their girlfriends? People continue to get away with unacceptable behaviour because the culture of victim-blaming is still alive and well and this will continue to be the case until we start reinforcing the idea that people need to respect others in all spaces and that they will be called out for violating others.

Also read: Atif Aslam, Karachi Eat, the woman in the back row and the lies we tell ourselves

We shouldn't be reinforcing narratives that imply that men hold the key to a woman's right to be in public spaces and that women who don't have access to these networks, women who are disenfranchised and without the cover of male protection are fair game.

In our opinion, Atif Aslam could've asked the attendees to behave and treat each other with respect, sending out a message to all that everyone is equally responsible for providing a safe space for one another and that those who engage in misconduct or crime(s) should and will be held accountable.

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