#Opinion

Ira Khan Sexual Harassment : Why Is Social Media Mocking Aamir Khan’s Daughter?

Ira Khan Instagram Post after Aamir Khan Divorce

Aamir Khan’s daughter Ira Khan was in news with a video in which she revealed being sexually harassed at the age of 14. However, her confession is being mocked and trolled by many people on social media. Commenting on the news posted by other news handles, the social media users not only labelled Khan’s confession as a publicity stunt for sympathy but also blamed her father Aamir Khan for not taking actions against the perpetrator or using his daughter to promote his film. Ira has also received flak on the basis of her religion.

It is disheartening that the reactions to Ira Khan’s video refuse to deal with the rising crime against women and children in India. And worse. her experience is being labelled as fake and publicity stunt. Some are even taunting that 14 is the marriageable age of a Muslim woman and that it is no big deal for them to have sexual relations at that age. Such was the commentary on social media on Ira Khan’s post.

Why yet again are we forgetting that crime against women and children cannot be justified on the basis of privilege, caste or religion?

Why aren’t we able to accept that a girl is unsafe in India, no matter if she is a celebrity or an underprivileged woman? Why each complaint about sexual harassment becomes a ground of judging a woman rather than focussing on why she was harassed? Here are tweets that showcase the trolling Khan received.

https://twitter.com/Arbie33153709/status/1323241041206546432?s=20

Is it fair then to exclude the experiences of a celebrity from the conversations of sexual harassment just because of their privilege? And do privileged people not deserve to speak up, oppose the wrong and seek justice like any other citizen of India?

Also Read: Child Sexual Abuse: The Danger is Closer than We Want to Admit

India is a country where small instances act as a trigger for crimes against woman. The only way to stop it is to change the patriarchal mindset and create a safe space for women to grow. But how will we be able to achieve this if we ignore and even justify the experiences of sexual harassment of women? According to the latest NCRB report, 87 women are being raped every day in India and there has been an increase of 7.3 per cent in the rate of crime against women. According to a report, there were total 24,212 cases of child sexual abuse reported between January 2019 to June 2019.

Now if a girl is outspoken about being sexually harassed, the society criticises her for playing a victim card to gain sympathy.

Such reactions refuse to accept that women are even being wronged anymore. For this mindset, girls who face sexual harassment are either faking it or there might be something wrong with the girl herself. This is exactly what happens when society lives in denial of the fact that women are being oppressed even today.

It’s okay for a celebrity to open up about her experience, or about sexual harassment as it encourages other women to raise their voice. But if a celebrity’s experience is being dismissed, how will other women be encouraged to normalise speaking up against sexual harassment?

Also Read: Why It Is Important For Celebrities Like Ira Khan To Speak Up Against Harassment?

It is high time for the society to start taking sexual harassment seriously, irrespective of where it happens and who faces it.

Just because women’s oppression and child sexual abuse does not exist in the reality of some people, doesn’t mean it has ended or doesn’t require efforts to fight it out anymore. Just because a woman is privileged, belongs to a family caught up in controversies, doesn’t mean that her confession about sexual harassment is fake or propagandist. What society lacks today is the sensitivity towards the incidents of sexual harassment. It has been happening on a regular basis and has become a part of her life so much that it no more seems abnormal. Even Ira khan confessed in the video that she tried to convince herself that her experience was not serious enough to worry about and talk to people. She thought that she might be over-reacting. But if we stop or neglect the conversation on sexual harassment, the burden of “overreacting” will end up normalising gender-based oppression in society, yet again.