Justice Betrayed: Female Teacher Who Got Sexual Harasser Convicted Opens Up About Her Ordeal

Justice Betrayed: Female Teacher Who Got Sexual Harasser Convicted Opens Up About Her Ordeal
A female teacher who successfully pursued her sexual harassment complaint against her colleague at Karachi University and got him convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail for posting her doctored photos on social media has shared a harrowing account of the hurdles she faced while fighting for justice. It took five years of court appearances and hearings amid the institutions' misogynistic attitude before she was served justice.

In an interview with BBC, the woman shared how she was treated in a hostile manner during hearings. At one point during the initial state of the hearing, the convict's lawyer asked the complainant if she can explain 'in detail' how exactly her pictures were naked. She turned to the judge and asked if it was an appropriate question. The judge responded that the lawyer has every right to ask questions.

The woman then replied that the face in edited photos was hers but the body wasn't and that the doctored photos showed her wearing undergarments (bra and panty). To this, the lawyer said to the judge, "Bra and panty are pieces of clothes. How can the pictures be termed naked then? This woman is lying." Laughters echoed in the chamber over the lawyer's crass comment.

How it started

The complainant further said that she had been teaching since 2009 in Karachi as visiting faculty and has been pursuing Phd alongside her job. "It was important for me to have an official page on Facebook because students these days check teachers' online presence before opting for their course." She further told the judge that in 2015 a student approached her and asked if she checked her Facebook page. She responded that she does and then checked it. She found nothing unusual on the page. However, later that year, the university did not offer her course and told her that it was because students did not choose her subject, and then advised her to check her Facebook page. She once again checked her page and found everything on the space to be normal.

However, she found a link on a page created for an event at the institution where she saw her name with an inappropriate title. This link had several edited obscene photos of hers with abusive comments. The university then fired her.

In 2016, she met officials of another university's iT department and senior officials. She said that the the link present on her profile on university's official page has semi naked photos hers. They asked her what it was all about. It was a fake Facebook page whose obscene content was being shared on the university's official page. The IT in charge told her that he can no longer tolerate such vulgarity. The varsity officials asked her to figure out who it was. She said that she did not have a dispute with anyone at the university and was on friendly terms with everyone.

Further, she said that every time the page was blocked, a new one would appear with her pictures. This had happened four times.

She also shared how some students taunted her after seeing her edited photos. She then stopped going to the university due to the toll it took on her mental health.

Eventually, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) called her and asked if she knew a man named Faisal Kamrani. She said that she did not. But it was his brother Farhan Kamrani who was behind those fake pages. He was arrested and confessed to the act.

She then stated that her colleagues at the university began calling her and said that she should not take the case forward and let it go. "You are acting as if he raped you," they told her. She then received a call from FIA's landline number. It was the convict's brother who asked her to withdraw the complaint and save his brother.

She said that it appeared as if she was the culprit and the man was innocent. The university professors kept pressuring her to withdraw her complaint. She faced the same treatment in court and by the FIA.

As a matter of fact, the man was the state's criminal because her complaint was lodged against unknown individuals. He pleaded not guilty before the Sindh High Court despite having previously confessed to the crime during FIA interrogation.

During the course of the hearings, the professor also falsely told the court that the complainant wanted to marry him and filed the complaint upon his refusal. She said that the FIA was least interested in pursuing the case and often used delaying tactics. At one point she was also informed that the police case file has been misplaced by the FIA. She admitted that she thought of giving up and withdrawing the case many times due to the authorities' attitude.

Eventually, the Sindh High Court was to announce the decision. She said that she was not expecting justice, but the verdict was in her favour. "I could not hear anything when the judge was announcing the decision. I had closed my eyes and kept praying to God," she said. When the verdict was announced, the court officials came to her and congratulated her, saying that this was the first time since they began working at the court that they came to believe that God was a witness to everything.