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SAHR Fellowship Spotlight-Nabeeha researching systematic sexual harassment in Pakistani universities

🌷Nabeeha Siddiqui is a SAHR 2021-2022 Gender Justice Fellow.

🌿 Nabeeha is a lawyer from Karachi, Pakistan. Her personal experiences have been a strong motivator to work towards ending impunity for sexual violence. In her experience, the procedures on sexual harassment complaints do unfortunately silence survivors instead of offering them a sanctuary.

🧩Fellowship outcomes & impact:

Nabeeha took on this SAHR Justice Fellowship to analyze the degree of survivor-centeredness in the legal and policy framework on sexual harassment in Pakistan. Through the Fellowship, she conducted research on the complaints mechanism for sexual harassment at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). These cases came to light during a Covid-19 lockdown on a private Facebook group for LUMS students riding the #MeToo waves on social media and she decided to legally assist them.

They needed urgent attention because they were being threatened by defamation notices from the alleged perpetrators, some of whom are members of Pakistan’s high society and intelligentsia. Survivors were afraid of taking any action due to societal pressures and fear of retribution. Many of them were also highly traumatized.

📙Key learnings:

Nabeeha interviewed victims and witnesses about the procedures of the grievance process. She also spoke to members of the complaints’ committee to discuss survivor-centered approaches towards reviewing a complaint of sexual harassment and how to encourage and protect victims and witnesses who come forward. Retaliation was the most significant barrier to reporting. She identified areas where the grievance process was lacking in survivor-centeredness and recommended rigorous sensitivity training for members of the university and complaints mechanism.


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