Seeds of Peace GATHER Fellow, 2020
Creating safe spaces for Pakistani sexual assault survivors.
How have you impacted your community?
I am creating CHADAR (Challenging Harassment and Abuse, Demanding Action and Respect), an initiative that aims to create a safe space for survivors of assault, harassment, and abuse.
Through art, public awareness campaigns, legislative and policy changes, and use of technology apps, the goal of CHADAR is to allow survivors to create a network where they can find healing and channel their trauma into positivity, as well as work towards legislative and policy change to make society safer.
My passion lies in education and social development. I am a Pakistani intersectional feminist with a degree in Philosophy and Literature as well as a Fulbright scholarship and Dr. Myron Miller award-winner.
Why do you do what you do?
Because there are no virtual or physical safe spaces in which survivors can talk about their trauma and the violence and abuse they have faced. As a survivor, it was something I could have used but it didn’t exist—so I decided to create it.
What’s the earliest you can recall being aware of the issue or need you are working toward?
Since I was 17, when I started university.
What keeps you up at night? What/who motivates you and why?
The fact that every week five to six womxn join these listening circles not only to share, but also to support others and validate their truth. Even the small impact I am having is a driving force for me.
What is one thing about yourself that you want everyone to know?
That I am an intersectional feminist who believes in intersectional feminist principles and approaches towards human rights, society, economy, and politics. This translates to my personal and professional conduct, and helps me draw boundaries.
How does your personal context impact or inspire the work that you do?
There are different communities I come from because there are so many aspects of my personality. I am a Shia, which is a minority Muslim group that is constantly targeted in my country. I am a womxn, which means I am at risk. So this intersection of oppression has shaped the way I view power dynamics and the extremely domineering and strong personality that I have.
What is one thing that you have learned from doing this work that you want everyone to know?
Transformative justice and harm reduction is the goal that our feminist praxis should keep in mind. Even beyond feminist praxis, transformative justice and harm reduction are two principles that can help society become better and safer.
“The philosophy of feminism encourages acceptance and equality; two words which have the power of reshaping society and eradicating injustices. The journey towards these two words is what keeps me up at night, and what drives me during the day.”