Today marks 5 years to the time Meesha Shafi came forward with her alleged experience of sexual harassment at the hands of Ali Zafar, as shared by the singer on her social media. In a series of Instagram stories shared today, Meesha vented all that she suffered because of her public call-out and how it majorly affected her life, and continues to do so.
“Today marks 5 years to the time I tweeted and spoke up sharing that I have been sexually harassed and by doing so, hoped that it would encourage the voiceless to use their voice or at least feel like they are not alone. Since then I have gotten to know many wonderful, strong people who are surviving and helping others survive trauma. I have received countless messages of harrowing personal accounts. Thank you for trusting me and thinking of me as a safe space. It is a privilege,” she started off.
She went on to share what all she has lost and gained, and mainly the whole ordeal is still going on. “In these 5 years, I lost many friends, many opportunities, many safe spaces, many freedoms and much health. I gained lots of stress, financial trauma, emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, reputations damage and uncertainty. Most people have moved on from this matter and I absolutely do not blame them. If I could, I would too,” she said.
She shared how her case is still going on and how her matter still hasn’t been heard in the relevant court. “I am still drowning in litigation. I am still bullied and harassed online. My sexual harassment complaint still hasn’t been heard in front of the relevant court (even though this and a few other cases led to an amendment to the sexual harassment at workplace law, which previously didn’t cover self employed individuals and now does). The media still routinely runs false news to malign and discredit me and spread misinformation,” she said.
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Meesha shared how people think it’s all now over given the lengthy time duration, but it’s far from that. “Even well intentioned people often say, ‘hasn’t all that finished..? We thought it was over. Everyone is sick of talking about it. I’m great at putting up a brave face and successfully fooling most people into thinking I’m doing great. No. It’s not over. I still have hearings. Court appearances. Legal fees. A losing PR battle. The pressure to prove my trauma, which compounds the trauma,” she wrote.
She concluded with a message on healing and how she supports all those who resonate with her story. “Healing from something like this when something as long drawn as litigation and witch hunting is involved, is like healing a wound which has its scab peeled off again and again. I haven’t even reached the stage where it’s only the scars. I’m still bleeding. Everyone who feels forgotten, defeated and invisible because the system, both social and judicial has been unjust, I see you.”