One of the biggest criticisms of the entertainment industry and fraternity is that they have short memories. Someone can bounce back from accusations of any sort after a few short years, and in some cases, even months, entirely unscathed. Unless, of course, someone takes actual action.
The entertainment fraternity may have recently rallied behind domestic abuse survivors and Aliza Sultan, Feroze Khan’s ex-wife who accused him of abuse and infidelity, but social media posts are different from confronting someone in real life and it takes real courage of conviction to stick to your guns. We saw it when Iqra Aziz backed out of a project with Feroze and more recently when TV show host Rabia Anum Obaid walked off the set of Nida Yasir’s show where Mohsin Abbas Haider, an actor who was also accused of abusing his former wife, had also been invited. Her decision to walk out of the show not only raises the bar but also sets a standard for people wanting to support domestic abuse survivors.
On Tuesday, Haider appeared with Fiza Ali on Yasir’s Good Morning Pakistan where Obaid was also invited. However, at the start of the show, she informed the host that she was only told about Ali’s presence, not Haider. “There are some mistakes that never leave us, and today I’m not going to make that mistake. There’s an issue I’ve taken a stand for which is domestic abuse and I feel like if this minute effort of mine tomorrow saves my daughter or even my friends, then I have to do it.”
She said that due to the reason she mentioned, she doesn’t want to be a part of the show. “I know how responsible you [Nida] are and I love you for that, but I think If today I sit through the entire show, I will not be able to face my friends, my colleagues and all of those girls for whom I might have to take a stand for in the future, for whom I’ve already raised my voice. So, to take care of that I will not be a part of this show, I’m sorry,” Obaid said.
Her impromptu exit may have shocked many during the live segment — it was later cut from the segment uploaded online — but it was a necessary reaction to someone who was accused of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter whether it is an ongoing case or whether the allegations were proven. Regardless of the status of the case, Obaid taught us that it’s okay to respectfully walk out and not be in the same frame or room as the person who has been accused of abusing a woman.
She did it respectfully and calmly, but she did it and by doing so, Obaid taught everyone to take female friends and relatives into consideration by taking a stand and removing yourself from a situation that involves someone with such serious allegations against them. We hope her move has paved the way for others to take a similar stand when necessary.
What Obaid did is something that often people, especially in the entertainment industry, don’t in fear of damaging ties with someone who is influential. This is where society is to be blamed, for normalising silence in cases that require your voice and action to ensure justice.
Some people online seem to have an issue with the way Obaid walked out of the show but here are some things her action taught us — learn how to assert your boundaries respectfully, there’s no harm in walking out of a room when there’s someone who makes you uncomfortable there, there’s nothing wrong in standing your ground about a serious matter like domestic abuse, be mindful of the women around you and take a stand for the future, and be brave.
In a world full of people who choose to remain silent in the face of actually putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to distancing themselves from men in power who have been accused of abuse, be like Rabia Anum Obaid.
Be like Rabia Anum Obaid, someone who stands her ground and has the courage of conviction to stick to her beliefs. Be like Rabia Anum Obaid, someone proves with her actions as well as her words that she stands by victims of abuse.