What Reactions To Zaira Wasim’s Molestation Charges Tell Us About Our Society

Posted by Tina Sequeira in Society
December 15, 2017

Firstly, I am not  going to make any judgments about this particular case as I am waiting for more facts to surface. Secondly, in this particular case, the facts don’t matter to me as much as the backlash that the actress has been receiving ever since she was allegedly molested on a flight. 

Why is it that we (as a society), are so quick to point our fingers at women, first?

We should be pointing fingers towards the accused and not indulge in victim-blaming. 

Instead, we conclude things like:

“Oh, she is an actress who’s pulling a fast one for garnering publicity!”

“I’ve seen her interviews…She can’t be innocent.”

But we, as a society, bestow the crown of innocence and naivety upon the middle aged man. After all, the innocent man was so tired that he needed a foot rest to sleep and let it wander magically on its own all over his front passenger’s neck and back.

We are not ignorant of how our actresses are looked upon in our society. There are numerous instances of actresses being sexually abused by random men who would otherwise pass off as respectable in the eyes of society. Sub-consciously, we have painted the actress Zaira Wasim as a ‘not-so-innocent’ 17-year-old actress, and the accused as an innocent family man.

Again, I am not pronouncing any judgment in this particular case. All I am doing is highlighting the prejudice that women face and how difficult it is to come out in the open and admit in public, that they were molested or faced some kind of sexual abuse.

Why didn’t anyone ask the man if he had Zaira’s consent to put his feet up on her seat’s arm-rest? Why is everyone only questioning Zaira and not the man?

The accused is a senior executive at an entertainment company. Surely, he should have had some sense before putting up his feet like that. Why are people not questioning his education and credentials and only pronouncing character judgments on the actress alone?

When women speak up either at home, at a work space or anywhere else, we have to answer a barrage of questions:

What were you wearing?

What time was it and what were you doing there at that time?

Why did you go out alone?

Why did you wait for so long to admit that this molestation happened?

Are you sure that it´s not your hallucination?

Are these false charges to defame or garner publicity?

Before questioning Zaira Wasim on so many issues regarding the case, why is the man not subjected to the same interrogation by the public?

Does a mere sorry vindicate him for making a fellow passenger’s flight experience horrendous and miserable?

In Zaira’s case, its her prerogative when she chooses to report the incident. So many women report issues of molestation much later after it has happened. In some cases, many years later. Maybe she simply said an okay that she didn’t mean at that moment of apology. And the apology didn’t help her feel any better later. Maybe she wasn’t convinced of his innocence on an after thought. We don’t know for sure. But, why are we putting her under a microscope and examining her true intentions, and letting the man off the hook without such similar character screening?

The backlash that the actress is facing is a classic example of why women don’t report such seemingly trivial cases of harassment in day-to-day lives. Because sadly, it has become commonplace in our society and something that we as women, are expected to simply smile and bear.

There is no point of having online #MeToo campaigns, when we don’t show our support in action. Let the courts make the final decision. Meanwhile, please let women speak up fearlessly about how they truly feel. Let them claim their rightful place in society. Just show her some respect, will you? Not in mere lip or foot service, but in action.