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Public Masturbation Strikes Conversation On #WhenIWas

Public Masturbation Strikes Conversation On #WhenIWas
October 11
10:25 2018

Public masturbation has triggered a new conversation with the use of the latest hashtag on social media.

#WhenIWas was initiated globally by Eve­ryday Sexism Project, a website founded in 2012 by Laura Bates, a British feminist writer.

The new hashtag has given a platform for Fijians especially women to publicly speak about their experiences of witnessing pub­lic masturbation when they were in their teens or even younger.

Shamima Ali, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Co-ordinator, said people should come forth and report or call the centre.

“It can be as dangerous as this is rape be­haviour. When you come across this, you can scream, run and attract public attention and report.”

Roshika Deo, 2014 General Election inde­pendent candidate, a feminist and activist has once again brought the issue of sexual­ly-related abuse and harassment to light.

Last week, the self-proclaimed feminist revolutionist bravely shared on the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport that she was sexually assaulted and raped at a young age and when she was 21.

This week, she has joined the chorus of women and men the world over in #WhenI­Was conversation.

“There is hardly any girl or woman that I know that hasn’t experienced some form of sexual harassment in public spaces such as schools, public transport, workplaces, streets and so forth,” Ms Deo said.

“It’s either the male student in high school poking the pencil in your buttocks or mak­ing comments about your breasts, or the em­ployer making sexual advances, or the lewd comments and honking by vehicle drivers as they drive by.

“Harassment in the form of public mastur­bation is common too.

Unaisi Narawa, 34, also publicly revealed her ordeal when she was about 15 years old.

She recalled how she was returning from school on the bus and she sat beside a man who could have been in his 30s or 40s.

“I remember him having his hands under a jacket or whatever he was covering himself with and I just recalled he kept moving in an awkward jerky way,” said Ms Narawa.

She said the man was looking at her and she felt uncomfortable.

“I remember some guys on the bus kind of giggling but I didn’t want to draw attention so I just kept looking ahead.”

Mrs Narawa said she was shocked and em­barrassed. Not only this, she had encoun­tered a random man touching her breasts on the bus when she was 12 or 13 years old.

“I remember asking him not to touch me.”

Ms Deo said these sort of incidents made her feel uncomfortable, scared, angry, hu­miliated, embarrassed, disempowered and sexualised.

“It also makes you feel powerless. It dis­rupts your day. It affects your productivity. It affects your contribution to public and po­litical spaces.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa




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