-Security present at the venue was involved in groping women
LAHORE: The recently held Solis Music Art Festival in Lahore saw famous music personalities Burak Yeter, Mike Williams, Zonderling and FDVM entertain what we now know as a “crowd packed with molesters and harassers”.
“People kept on touching me and I had friends who were dealing with it,” one woman Lila Khan revealed about her traumatic experience, shedding light on how Pakistani men treat women who simply come out for recreation.
In an Instagram live session, Khan shared how she was subjected to the abuse of frustrated men from the security checkpoint to all the way into the crowd.
“I was pretty excited for this. When we entered (I was with a lot of male friends), I noticed there were a lot of guys and that wasn’t unusual or a problem. They were staring, but that was a common occurrence, so it didn’t bother me,” she said.
“I was with my sister. And towards the end, I was in the crowd (near the stage); an incident happened that was really scary. It felt like a matter of life and death. A security guard grabbed me aggressively (physically and sexually). I told my friend about it. When he came to inquire, the same guard pretended to be asking if everything was okay.”
she called the guard out and told her friend it was the same guy who ‘molested her’. The guard then asked her and the friend to move to one side. That’s when Khan felt multiple hands grabbing her from the crowd.
“I felt like it was all planned. My sister at the back of the crowd was dealing with a similar situation. When she noticed it was me who was in the crowd, fighting, she came running in,” added Khan. “It was a mob attack. There were a lot of people and it was clear their intention was more than just touching and feeling the girls. I put my head down, and I put my arm out and hit everyone I possibly could. I ran at full speed just to get out of the crowd. It seemed like it was never-ending. It seemed like I was stuck in one place. It seemed like I was so vulnerable and there was nothing I could do,” she shared.
She went on to explain how the experience traumatised her to the point that she felt physically unwell.
“I instantly threw up. I felt so disgusted with the people who did it and with myself. I’m so embarrassed. My friends tried to tell other security guards, they said there was nothing they could do. They told us that you have to talk to the heads about it,” she said about the helplessness women face in such situations.
“I don’t want to feel embarrassed about it even though I do and it sucks. I don’t want [harassment, sexual assault] to be such a normal thing. It’s been three days since it happened; it already feels like it’s my fault, I already feel like it’s a normal thing, which is so sad. I don’t want it to feel like that. I want other girls to be careful and know that it does happen and that they’re not alone,” she concluded.
After Khan’s revelation went viral, the organisers of the event took to Instagram and apologised, admitting that there were for the complaints they have received.
“We’ve received a number of messages concerning the security of Solis Lahore. Our goal is to bring an international experience to Pakistan’s finest cities. The general safety of our guests is an important part of this experience. We have been in contact with the company hired to manage the security of the event and are awaiting a statement addressing the matter,” they said.
SSB bouncers Pakistan, the company responsible for providing security at the festival has also issued an apology and promised to take strict actions against the staffers who are involved in this incident.