Meesha Went Public With Allegations When She Saw No Other Option, Says Mother
Singer Meesha Shafi’s first witness, her mother Saba Hameed appeared before the court on Tuesday (today), and confirmed her daughter’s allegations of sexual harassment against singer Ali Zafar.
Saba told the court that sexual harassment is common in the entertainment industry just as it is in our society generally. She said that Meesha is a private person and always tried to avoid conflict with people.
“She tried her best to resolve the issue before going public with her statement against Ali Zafar”, Saba said, adding that her daughter was not prepared to work with Ali Zafar due to the past incidents of sexual harassment.
She told the court that her daughter informed her of the incident of harassment 10-15 days prior to going public. Saba recalled that her daughter said to her, “I am never going to put myself in this position ever again” in reference to the incident of harassment. She described the mixed feelings of guilt and shame which stopped Meesha from coming forward after the first incident a few years back. She told the court that it was only after experiencing a pattern of behaviour from Ali Zafar did her daughter feel compelled to come out or even mention the incidents of sexual harassment to anyone.
Saba Hameed told the court that Meesha was telling the truth and that she spoke in public interest. She further said that her generation of women had been fearful about speaking on sexual harassment, but young women today women are speaking up.
“They are realising that being sexually harassed is not their fault, and that their choice of clothes should never be the reason/justification for inappropriate touching/sexual harassment or rape.
Saba Hameed disclosed that she was also aware of other women who have been sexually harassed by Ali Zafar, but she is not choosing to disclose their names because of the privacy of the victims.
She also explained that it is difficult for a victim of sexual harassment to speak especially where the harasser and victim have a relationship of friendship and trust.
Saba told that since her tweet, it was Meesha who had suffered more financially, emotionally and socially. Saba also shed light on the systematic vilification campaign against Meesha and the allegations she faced about her statement. Saba Hameed said that victims who share their experiences and name their harassers are labeled as trouble makers in the industry and end up losing work. She told the court that her daughter tapped into all avenues to resolve this situation but was unsuccessful and only then did she take the step to go public. Saba also told the court that Meesha had nothing to gain from going public with her experience and only faced backlash, humiliation – emotionally, socially and financially.
She stated that Meesha is perceived to be an empowered woman, but even the bravest of the women experience fear of repercussions.
Meanwhile, Ali Zafar once again failed to file a reply in the defamation case for Rs.2 billion filed by Meesha. Ali Zafar’s counsels have filed an application in the court asking the judge to stay Meesha’s defamation on the ground that his suit for defamation should be decided first. Meesha counsels have termed the move by Ali Zafar a dilatory tactic to avoid adjudication of her case.