KARACHI: Filmmaker Jami has said that he has been a very strong supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment because he had himself been subjected to rape 13 years ago by a well-known ‘media tycoon’.
Explaining from an insider’s perspective of how harassment takes place and how harassers get away with rape and sexual violence, the filmmaker recalled the painful memories and the difficult times he went through after the alleged incident on Twitter.
“Why I am so strongly supporting #MeToo?” Jami shared. “Because, I know exactly how it happens now – inside a room, then outside courts and inside courts.”
“I froze not sure why yesss it really happens and happened to me. Till this day 13 years ve passed I curse myself why I didn’t take his eyes out but I was so close to this guy a friend, I couldn’t believe what is going on,” Jami wrote.
He said that he could not retaliate despite having strong posture as his system just shut down due to shock.
Jami refrained from naming the alleged perpetrator but claimed that he was a media tycoon who was well known for book and museum launches.
He also added that he confided in a few close friends but was confronted with the toxic culture of being dehumanised as he was a man and ended up brushing things under the bed. “I told them so many times with the name of this tycoon but (they took me) as if I’m a joker or something. Yes, high-end friends, top-end friends in media didn’t do anything,” added Jami.
He shared that although he spent six months or so in therapy with medication, nothing seemed to work and he had to leave the country to ‘reboot’ but was traumatised again by his abuser who brazenly showed up to an intimate family affair. “He came to my father’s funeral also and instead of crying for Papa (who got to know before dying that I’m destroyed), I was hiding inside my own home – telling mother who was also busy with her pain – to run out and stop him from coming in,” the Moor director wrote.
“Till this day, I don’t have the courage to come out and name him. It is super tough. I know my own buddies will laugh and joke(at me),” he wrote.
Saying that the attack on the #MeToo movement had acted like a trigger for him to come out, Jami maintained that he was “writing this now because #MeToo is under attack and I’m ready to partially vomit out my own experience. It’s all true what the victims say and how they say, or hide. It’s all an exact same pattern.”
Talking about a recent case of a college professor committing suicide on alleged claims of harassment, Jami added, “So one wrongful death doesn’t mean all victims are fake and liars. I’m pissed that they are attacking the movement and victims. So, I’m coming here today after 13 or so years to say 99.99 per cent survivors are telling the truth always. No doubt ever!”
On the other hand, the filmmaker also revealed on his Twitter how media houses were hounding him whereas he needed his space.
I cant take any calls plz im not coming on any show. Im sorry. This is not about me at all.
— jami (@jamiazaad) October 21, 2019
Interestingly, the story was pulled down from prominent news outlets soon after it was published.
So story taken down by almost all channels at same time! Thats no error. Thats the power i was talking about. Where r the truth hunters? #metoo
— jami (@jamiazaad) October 21, 2019
Articles on Jami’s assault have been removed from Dawn, Geo, and The News in < a day of him opening up about it. Another instance showing how vile the media and entertainment industry is. If you see someone staying silent on #MeToo, know for a fact that they are complicit.
— Faizan. (@merabichrayaar) October 21, 2019
The move raised many eyebrows while members of the public pointed out how the movement continues to be subdued by the powerful.
The “media giant” who assaulted @jamiazaad seems to be working overtime. Articles about Jami’s tweets already removed from @dawn_com @thenews_intl @GeoTVofficial website. Quite sure if he ever reveals who it is, no one will stand by him. That’s how elites in this country operate.
— Nuzhat S. Siddiqi (@guldaar) October 21, 2019
— Sabah Malik (@sabahbanomalik) October 21, 2019
Many on Twitter highlighted that men need to be taken more seriously than they are in such circumstances since they are at a greater disadvantage of being ostracised.
— Leena (@Leena_Ghani) October 21, 2019
The identity of the perpetrator was also discussed.
SO who is Jami referring to her? Should not be too difficult to identify. media giant who indulges in book launches and museums. This happened 13 years ago. Am certain the guy is well known. Was this media tycoon also a politician once????? Only guy i can think of right now.
— Az_e__ (@Az_e_11_) October 21, 2019
Dear @jamiazaad , I appreciate ur courage and stance. Plz reveal the name of the powerful person of Pakistani media industry. We will report and attempt to make him accountable. https://t.co/iIzUbCeaWj
— Azaz Syed (@AzazSyed) October 21, 2019
Speaking about the reaction he would get after coming out, Jami said that he was fully aware of how he would be trolled but felt like it was time to unburden himself and vowed to continue to stand behind victims of harassment of all forms.
“I know, now they all will attack me as well. ‘Oh, why you stayed quiet till now? Rape kur deita na usska pulut kur (You should’ve raped him as well). But, its time,” the director said.