I was first introduced to you by my friend. I was initially nervous but you eventually made sure I could rely on you. My mother loved you more than I did and hence, she overlooked a lot of things. It was Eid, and I was very enthusiastic to meet you, so was my mother. We were in a hurry hence, my mother was a bit unmindful, and that is when it happened. You rested your arms on my breast and I suddenly felt violated. I looked at my mother, she seemed oblivious. Your arms were trailing towards my thighs, when it hit me -- my tailor is molesting me.
My first visit to the tailor, as far as I can remember, was when I was about four years old making my first frock. My father loved designing my clothes and hence, he mostly got them made. The tailor had gained my family’s trust and had been our go-to guy for over a decade. Despite being so close to our family, he had made me feel uncomfortable whenever I went to him before Eid.
By the time I had grown old enough to take decisions, I switched to the tailor my friend had suggested, only to face the same thing again.
This is nothing new in our society. As a matter of fact, this is the story of almost all women who have visited the tailor at least once in their lives.
However, the preposterous reply that I always got when I opened up about the matter was, “Relax, it’s normal, he is supposed to measure that way.” At least that is what my mother had to say about whatever happened.
Now, this is what is wrong. When we, as little girls, are not aware of what “bad touch” is, especially because our elders were reluctant to give us proper sex education or any kind of education related to reproductive health, we are bound to feel uncomfortable about speaking up. Even though people are starting to talk about harassment, the issue of tailors molesting women with the excuse of “working” is hardly ever brought up.
Instead, most women seem to think there is no option but to deal with it, since after all, they make the perfect dresses so a little touch here and there is ignorable.
No we cannot ignore it. Although there are many sincere tailors who would never even attempt to violate a customer, there are many who will take advantage of our ignorance. Be vigilant the next time you visit your tailor and if you think there is something wrong in the way he is conducting himself, do speak up.
Alternatively, if you do not have any other tailor to go to, you can have a friend, a relative or someone close take your measurements when visiting a tailor or you can take a sample dress that fits you well.
Lastly, speak up whenever you feel your tailor is touching you in a bad way while taking measurements.You will probably be stopping him from considering to do the same with another customer.