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Eman Suleman wants you to stop saying alleged harassers are 'innocent until proven guilty'

Eman Suleman wants you to stop saying alleged harassers are 'innocent until proven guilty'

In an Instagram post, the model spoke about women being sexually harassed and then being asked for proof
18 Apr, 2019

Eman Suleman is known for mincing no words.

Whether it's calling out the prevalent sexual harassment in the entertainment industry or refusing to share a platform with an alleged harasser (Lux Style Awards), the model has become known for tackling social issues and advocating for the #MeToo movement.

In her latest Instagram post, Suleman spoke about how people are so quick to tout the 'innocent until proven guilty' narrative when talking about alleged sexual harassers and abusers.

"‘Innocent until proven guilty,’ most of them say, and I summon my childhood, my adolescence, my adulthood, and I ask them, I ask them how is it that we can prove? How can we prove to the people that these incidents actually happened? What evidence do we have of our abuser, abusing us, our harasser, harassing us? Nothing. We have nothing. We only have memories, and in this lawful (read: lawless) lawlessful world, our memories, our experiences, count for nothing," she wrote.

"We have no proof, thus, we are not innocent, as a matter of fact, we are guilty, guilty of seeking attention, of falsely accusing. ‘Innocent until proven guilty,’ they say, and we call to mind these memories, over and over again, reliving these experiences, these feelings, thinking, no one will believe us, because, we have no proof. There was no camera, there were no people, even if there were, the man who grabbed our butt, and squeezed it with all his might for just a second, did it stealthily, leaving us powerless, frozen, and hurriedly walked away, vanishing in the crowd."

We're glad Eman is talking about this; the reality is that women have a lot more to lose from coming forward with stories of abuse and harassment so the logic that a lot of allegations are false because survivors are seeking attention is incredibly flawed.

Why do we incessantly ask for "proof" of harassment, without acknowledging that most harassment takes place in person and out of sight, not while you're surrounding by cameras?

Unless women are expected to have a GoPro taped to their foreheads at all times, perhaps we can put the onus of proving innocence on the harasser, not the survivor.

Comments

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Moby Moby Apr 18, 2019 05:43pm
Then exactly what should be the criteria for conviction? Any claim should result in instant punishment or conviction of the accused?
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Omar Apr 18, 2019 05:48pm
Largely agreed with Eman but having said this, there are women who would take the undue advantage or start blackmailing men if they do not agree to what they are asking for (be it related to job, money etc.). Having said this, I totally understand that it is not possible to have a proof of harassment & probably a good time to come up with some law on it. Other option would be that whoever found guilty be given harsh punishment so others would be careful & will be aware of their consequences. Regards Omar
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NewBorn Apr 18, 2019 05:53pm
She should focus on modeling and stop making enemies out of everyone. Move on with life.
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ahmed Apr 18, 2019 06:09pm
Will alie detector test help both, the harressed and the harraser? Other than that, Eman is absolutely right in saying these acts are not done in public view or with cameras around. Also, waiting for decades to open up is a bit too long unless there are witnesses to support. No easy answer.
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Ahmad Apr 18, 2019 06:23pm
Very true. How can a person harassed come up with the evidence? When you are getting harassed, can you collect the evidence at the same time?
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Justice Apr 18, 2019 06:31pm
True and unfortunate.
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SadFaces Apr 18, 2019 06:38pm
What about men and boys who are sexually harassed? Can't really fault her though, but what else can we do when there are people who can easily fabricate the stories of harassment for personal gains. What mechanism does she offer for those who are innocent?
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Ibrahim Apr 18, 2019 06:45pm
You are the best!
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MSA Apr 18, 2019 06:58pm
Sympathy for all victims. However, as far as what is being practised world over, each state or stage has different rules to deal with monsters who commit crimes against different ages of a males or females... ie child stages through teens and adults. As far as the conventional understanding is concerned, while sympathy must be there, exemplary punishments are usually to be given on availability of indications..... read as you like, and not at all protective of anyone.
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bhaRAT© Apr 18, 2019 07:16pm
‘Innocent until proven guilty' is a very misused term, regurgitated even when someone is 'caught with his hand in the cookie jar'!
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Reck Apr 18, 2019 07:55pm
whilst I agree with the point that its very difficult for a proof to be made available, tht holds true for some other claims as well. With the society we live in, we need to be very careful when accusations are made. The argument Eman is suggesting here can be used by those people as well who beat the individuals who are falsely accused of blasphemy. While we despise those who without any concrete evidence take law in thr own hands in the case of blasphemy, we are adamant not to ask for a proof in case of harrasment. Yea, I understand the context is very different for both but in our society where spreading lies is pretty easy, we need to find a middle ground and ask concerned authorities to take these matters seriously instead of allowing emotions to take over.
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Owais Apr 18, 2019 07:57pm
We cannot prove harrassment. So now men must wear camera technology to disprove the allegation thrust upon them, which is even more absurd.
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waztaz Apr 18, 2019 08:33pm
I'm sorry she or other people have went through this traumatic experience. However, it's not obvious what the solution is or should be. Ardently believing every other accusation is the wrong way as that would open the door to false accusations and settling other differences as we experience the same in our blasphemy laws. There has to be some criteria for every accusation. But blaming the accuser as attention seeking must stop too. My solution is that we should establish a culture where it's easy for people to accuse someone but no action is taken unless there is evidence or proof of the harassment.
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Ibrahim Apr 18, 2019 08:36pm
I do not care what these self centered celebrity women have to say. They only talk about themselves.
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Ahsan Gul Apr 18, 2019 09:46pm
Bandwagon issues and copy cat statements. Yes there is women harassment and it shouldn't be at least in Pakistan but then again can we blame women too for it. Yes we can. Think very carefully and one can find situations and reasons for this behavior in each incident. Bottom line no one is innocent.
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Anonymous Apr 18, 2019 11:35pm
@Ibrahim These celebrity women also do not care what YOU have to say since you only care about yourself. Sexual harassment is a very real very grave issue. It shoul not be taken lightly because people's lives have been shattered because of these sick incidences. Even in adulthood, victims are unable to function properly. Most of the sexual harassment victims suffer from PTSD and yet here you are showing your insensitivity. We should give voices and support to the victims. It is the least society can do.
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Anthony Apr 19, 2019 02:24am
Harrassment is different than rape. It's difficult to prove it and anyone can claim to be harassed based on anything. I've seen videos online where some women even claimed to be harassed simply because a guy passing by smiled and said hi. Heck this lady once flipped out on me just because I held the door open for her to let her go first. Most women take such stuff positively but a trouble maker usually finds themselves in trouble more often than not. My point is I've never heard of this person before and it sounds like someone looking for more publicity.
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Rebirth Apr 19, 2019 07:21am
This is true because it relates to incidents that took place, randomly and out of nowhere. A woman can't be expected to be carrying a body-cam, 24/7. However, if, for example, a woman says that someone is messaging her or texting her, she can't provide proof of that, either? If it's a call, it's different because there's no means for her to record what was said in the call but she must have it saved in her call log? I think it's a bit simplistic and an easy tool to use for propaganda purposes and psych-ops. Unfortunately, a lot of our people aren't well prepared for this new dynamic in global affairs.
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SIAK Apr 19, 2019 08:59am
Yes we need to deal with it very sensitively. One needs to realize the severe trauma the victim has gone through and the "evidence" is extremely hard to come by. However, what can be and should be done is to narrate in detail the events and actions of the sexual harassment that were inflicted on the victim. for sake of fairness and impartiality, after only the narrated acts of alleged sexual harassment come out one can approach the issue with justice. In work environment where there is so much conscious effort to remain gender neutral (which is even demanded by female employees) so that the female workforce are treated at par with their male counterparts, there is a strong chance that an act of a male employee are misconstrued as an act of sexual harassment. for example, is it ok for a female worker to pat the back of a male worker in appreciation of his work, but not ok if the opposite is done etc? there are so many other such examples...
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Saad Apr 19, 2019 01:47pm
Victim blaming and shaming is 100% wrong. At the same time it is also 100% wrong to shift the onus of burden of proof of innocence to the accused. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a central tenet of any legitimate modern justice system and to suggest we abandon this foundational premise is no solution at all. Whether we speak of an alleged murderer, rapist, thief, harasser, embezzler, or jaywalker, the concept of 'innocent until proven guilty' is the only thing holding back convictions in the court of public opinion and the potential of mob justice. We need only to look at the mobs which gather to lynch alleged blasphemers to see the most extreme consequences of abandoning this premise. The voices of those who have been harassed, abused, and assaulted should be heard and it is likely that we will need better methods of gathering evidence in such cases. However, we must not begin to think that the presumption of innocence for the accused is a bad thing. That would be folly.
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SIAK Apr 20, 2019 11:07am
yes, but one needs to detail every action, gesture and move inflicted on the alleged victim by the alleged perpetrator so that a fair judgment could be made. In today's world where equality is rightfully demanded, many actions could be blamed as sexual harassment. So to understand this issue, the details need to be presented rather then just claims....
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illawarrior Apr 21, 2019 10:43am
No-one should be convicted and imprisoned without proof, or at least, strong evidence of a crime, whether it be for harassment or anything else. I hate to see molesters get away with their crimes, but I also hate to see innocent people convicted. There is no easy answer here.
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illawarrior Apr 21, 2019 10:46am
@Ahsan Gul Blaming the victim is totally UNacceptable!
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