By Umer Muhammad
May 20, 2013
We reached the university hostel. My parents very were happy because I had been admitted in one of the top notch universities of Pakistan located in Punjab. It was the first time in my life that I was going to stay away from my home and I was petrified.
I was accommodated with my seniors as there were no rooms available for freshmen. The first night, I could not sleep at all because the place was filthy and I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I had to stay there for a long, long time.
The days that followed were terrible.
The first thing that comes to a freshman’s mind when they set foot in their university is the horrid thought of being ragged. The British tradition of ragging new students is unfortunately prevalent in Pakistani universities.
In certain universities, an official ‘Rag Day’ is observed where seniors ridicule newbies and ask them silly questions. This may be somewhat tolerable, however, the ragging which I experienced, was nothing short of a nightmare.
I was regularly sexually harassed by my seniors.
I have been depressed and traumatised. I had to take anti-psychotics as part of the recovery process. Even though, I have recovered now, the bitter memories still jolt me sometimes. Thus, I’ve decided that expressing my demons via writing is the best way to get closure, so let me narrate to you how I was routinely abused by my seniors.
One evening, I was in my room with my senior, who was also my roommate, when a couple of guys came and took me with them. I wasn’t dressed properly and I had no idea where they were taking me, but they were so forceful that I was dragged along.
They took me to a room, much more horrifying and dirty than the room I was living in. There was also a desktop computer there.
“Have you set foot in adulthood?” asked one of them.
I was taken aback when he asked me this question. I didn’t reply. They laughed at my silent face and continued to ridicule me.
“You see that computer? Go there and open the paint application,” ordered the second guy.
They then asked me to draw obscene things and asked me vulgar questions.
I was confused and terrified. I wanted to sob in my mother’s arms, but I was away from home, sitting between two men who then went on to sexually harass me physically. They passed lewd comments while the torture continued. When I was finally released, I was a wreck.
I packed my bags and went home.
After a few days, I came back to my hostel. As soon as I stepped into my room, I saw a scary looking guy sitting with my roommate. He was looking at me in a strange way. He asked me my name and inquired about my background. Before leaving, he told me his room number and asked me to be there in 10 minutes.
Nausea overcame me again – nervous and confused about what was going on around me, I began to shake uncontrollably. My roommate told me to go to his room. He said this student would not hurt me like the other one did. With no real option, I went to his room.
The door was half opened. The lights were dim and I could not see properly. I knocked and he told me to come in. I was shocked to see what was happening inside the room. I was abused and sexually violated a second time.
It was an extremely upsetting experience that I cannot put into words.
I was weeping as I packed my bags and left for home once again in the middle of the night. I felt used and drained of all confidence. A part of me died that day and I have never been able to recover.
I did not tell anyone at home about what was happening to me because I was terrified of my father. I made up a story, telling them I was feeling sick and felt the need to be home. But I had to return eventually, every time.
This shameful course went on for almost three months.
This was not ragging at all – it was torture of the cruelest kind.
The whole year was hell for me, as you can well imagine. I could not study properly. I was constantly petrified, scared of even my own shadow. Eventually, I was debarred from taking university examinations for three months.
The sad truth of it is that I am not the first victim, nor the last. This form of ragging is routine and happens to many new students who go to hostels. Most newcomers avoid staying at their hostels during the first three months. They have to resort to renting flats or small houses near the university and stay there until the dust of ‘ragging’ settles.
Mind you, it isn’t that the authorities are unaware. I, myself, opened up about the things that happened to me to the Physiology Department Head. Yes, she felt very sorry for me, but nothing was done. No action was taken and the same boys continued to sexually abuse many more after me and then the victims turned into the abusers, and the vicious cycle goes on.
Still, no action has been taken against horrible acts of ragging despite reporting it several times. It has ruined the lives of many students and will continue to do so, because there is no check and balance in hostels; the do’s and don’ts only exist on paper.
Today, I am still in the same university, continuing my education. I have gone through a lot, this even resulted in me being diagnosed with depression. I hope to recover fully one day and till then I am trying to look at the brighter side of things.
My Reason For Writing This Blog?
Take action against those animals who rape innocent students and call it ‘ragging’. Punish the authorities – punish them severely because they know full well the reason behind students’ trauma and choose to ignore it.
Kill this tradition of ragging before it destroys the lives of more students like me.
Abdul Basit May 20, 2013 - 4:23PM
This is very common in our hostels.Men raping other men,but then these same men are the ones who spew the most hate against gays and lesbians.They don’t regard themselves as gay as long as they’re doing the raping.
Sadly,in a culture like ours which vaules machismo,not many men will ever report to the police of their rapes because the rapists will never be punished but instead the raped guy will be humiliated by our society.
• ReplyBisharat May 20, 2013
“I had been admitted in one of the top notch universities of Pakistan located in Punjab”
Please name the university openly so that people can know about it. Why choose to not include the name if you want action taken against the university?Recommend108
• ReplyZafar khan May 20, 2013
The rapes of newcomers by the senior boys has been going on for many decades.It’s brushed under the carpet and we cut off conversations about it.we need to come out of denial and face upto reality.Boys also get raped and abused in Pakistan but no human rights group raises its voice for their rights.
Any man does not become any less of a man if he has been raped.The stigma against male rape victims must end in our society.Recommend33
• ReplyBisharat May 20, 2013
“I had been admitted in one of the top notch universities of Pakistan located in Punjab”
Please name the university openly. You should name it if you want action taken against it.Recommend27
• ReplyAZ May 20, 2013
Umer, I do not know you but I am SO proud of you for writing this article.
Mind you, please do not be surprised if the comments that follow below would accuse you of doing this to ‘get attention’, ‘creating fake stories’ (because ‘we have spent college years in punjab universities and none of this stuff happens’). Do not listen to them.
They do this because they are ignorant and want to appear to have superior in knowledge.
Anyone who reads this and DOES write what i wrote above- you cannot know everything that goes on, just because you did not see something does not mean it did not happen.
I will pray that something definitive comes out of your article.Recommend68
• ReplyAnon93888 May 20, 2013
Unfortunately these stories are pretty common at our colleges and universities… and administration doesn’t seem to bother much about it. Perhaps we should now start mentioning the names of these ‘prestigious’ universities to enlighten the prospective students and parents.Recommend17
• Replyzullu May 20, 2013
well you haven’t described what actually they did to you……i have been through the ragging as well when it used to be in its peak in late 90s……although in the start i also was totally traumatized and afraid as well but all the seniors who did this ragging became v good friend of mine and i really enjoyed the uni life….i think you need to grow up and face it like a man….Recommend12
• ReplyZahra Haroon May 20, 2013
This indeed is a brave step Umer, Super Proud of you. If these sick people cannot be controlled by the university administrations, then I believe the students themselves should form a task force.Recommend17
• ReplyTipu May 20, 2013
Let me start by naming Ayub Medical college and sexual nature of ragging. Is our principal listening ?Recommend55
• ReplyKhanzada May 20, 2013
Why dont you guys do some thing about it..
do a show and arrest them
• Replyragged May 20, 2013
what i dont understand is that those seniors were what 4 years older than you…..and you were an adult…i mean a part of me doesnt believe you.. they call u to their rooms and sexually harass you…this doesnt just happen..i mean where was the administration.
i was ragged very badly in my uni…it was horrific but after sometime i started missing the good old ragging days..n trust me in my uni the seniors didnt make us sing silly songs or whatever…we werent allowed any sleep and we had to stand in scorching sun for hours but it was fun…none of them sexualy harrassed us..n i studed in all boys uni…but never heard of any story like yours….i feel sorry that it happened to you…but if it were to hppen to a minor i would have understood but u were an adult…cmonRecommend23
• ReplyHardliner May 20, 2013
Really hard to believe this………… but yes, if it happened, it needs to be curbed down……. I know most hostelites do silly thing, but this is beyond imagination……………….Recommend17
• ReplyKhanzada May 20, 2013
Umer why dont you file a case against them …
Would be good for not only you but for others as well …
Bring them infront of Media ..
@ Express new channel
Please do some thing about it
• ReplyMuhammad Ziad May 20, 2013
Man up and face them. Don’t be an easy prey and fight them. In the end it is hunt or be hunted , and this is true for human beings since the dawn of time. Sad to hear about your case, wish i could be there to help you.
This is not ragging, it is sexual abuse which you should fight against. Mention Your uni and stay anonymous.Recommend18
• ReplyFurqan May 20, 2013
Very bold step Umer; I felt sorry for you, however this is the responsibility of the administration of the University to protect the rights of the students.Recommend9
• ReplyAli Rahman May 20, 2013
I can understand the pain and frustration in this piece. If the author is following the comments here, let me just say if you shared it all to create awareness, well, everyone knows… its very common. Your wish is to take action… against whom? Your fear is very well appreciated and identity is respected. But what you request herein is not possible without setting examples. Please free free to contact me in case you actually wish to take action without being involved yourself…. All the best with your future… stay strong. Prayers and wishes are with you. my contact:firstname.lastname@example.orgRecommend8
• ReplyJamshed M May 20, 2013
well .. this is an old practice started from cadet colleges and boarding schools .. seniors who sexually abuse their juniors are most probably the one who get sexually abused when they were juniors.. unfortunately hostel wardens are also involved in this corrupt practices. they give free hand to their blue eyed guys to sexually abuse anyone they want and in return they get money/drugs/alcohol and sexual satisfication ..Recommend12
• ReplyDanish May 20, 2013
Dear Mr.Author! Sue them for their heinous act.Recommend5
• Replyp May 20, 2013
this too happened in our school to hostilities juniors, and in university where i studied there were also some cases that the seniors used to physically abused to the introvert guysRecommend6
• ReplyGhostRider May 20, 2013
@Author Since you are a senior there take action….You see these bullies are cowards, once you challenge the authority of biggest bully the rest run away. I dont know the situation in your university(political wings etc.) but if you really want to bring change find some like minded people and protest in front of dean’s office. I know I sound cliched but unless you want to change something you ll have to speak up and get heard.Recommend4
• Replyrasha May 20, 2013
All i can say is its very brave of you to write this blog. Don’t feel its your fault and we are all with you.. such practices are against all moral and religious codes of conduct and such people should be taught a lesson. Don’t listen to anyone who says you were an adult etc.. the fact that you wrote this shows your strength of character. Do try to take it forward. if this is a regular practice we should have a special person dedicated in the universities who can address this. willing to support you in any such campaignRecommend6
• ReplyFAZ May 20, 2013
Feel sorry for you but I must say to all new commers is that in any such event be bold and aggressive. The reason it continued on for you was that you didnt resist. I know its difficult but do you have any other choice?Recommend1
• ReplyAamna May 20, 2013
This is not just cruel ,its monstrous,a major sin .I think u have shown absolute bravery by writing it .Your depression is going to fade away because you took a step forward .Brother i think u should bring this into major highlight.The seniors should get punished and if one of them is going to ,others will learn there lesson . I wish you all the good luck in this world :).Recommend4
• Replym&m May 20, 2013
Before even reading the whole article , I’d like to suggest as a clinical psychologist , please seek EMDR therapy for your sexual trauma , seen sexual abuse & assault cases benrfiyting a great deal. Contact me for refferals. It will help you overcome the pain memories of the trauma.Recommend7
• Replysilly ideas May 20, 2013
These allegations look to be baseless. Have never seen such things happening. Live in a top notch university hostel in Punjab, Lahore. Koi navi gal kro…Recommend1
• Replyratung May 20, 2013
and all this time when this was happening you didnt retaliate!!!seriously!!!???u cud hav gone to anybody!!to the principal atleast!
ps..was never ragged since always found away to get away:pRecommend2
• ReplyWater Bottle May 20, 2013
Sexual abuse is the worst form of abuse.
It is designed to make a person lose all self-respect.
It probably happens in Indian hostels as frequently as in Pakistan.
One difference, however, is, if one reports ragging to the police, it will be taken very seriously. Especially in the South Indian colleges.
I hear North Indian colleges (In other words students) are a lot worse. I remember a North Indian friend telling me that almost every college student in North India at least has one physical fight with the class-mates.
But then, as far as culture are concerned, North India is not any different than Pakistan.
The worst part of it is, everyone knows about it. The teachers, the students, the police and the media and yet, nobody does anything.
Sad. My suggestion to you, is to go to the police. Principals are usually mum about such things to protect his own reputation and that of the college. Go to the police. Hope the police will do something. Please don’t suffer in silence.
Most of all, remember, this is not your fault in any way. You are a strong human being who was victimized. Don’t let this crush you.Recommend25
• Replykaalchakra May 20, 2013
This is the silliest thing we have heard. Bad things need to be stopped but no Muslim would do such a thing. If anybody engages in this pre-islamic cultural practice, the crime should be exposed.Recommend6
• ReplyFaraz Talat May 20, 2013
You should’ve posted this blog anonymously, and named the university.
There will be no difference to the way universities deal with inappropriate and excessive ragging, until we start publicly shaming such institutions for their gross negligence.Recommend11
• ReplyHistorian 1 May 20, 2013
I don’t believe this.Recommend1
• ReplyAsian guy May 20, 2013
Ragging is not a British concept and rarely happens in the uk however all students especially freshers are asked to get drunk as much as possible and behave as obscenely as possibleRecommend3
• Replydanny boy May 20, 2013
Its unfortunate but a true depiction of many young pakistani guys …. how long are we going to fulifll our homosexual desires under the label of ‘fun’ or ‘ragging’? … the truth is these guys need to come out and accept their homosexuality … because the longer they keep it within the greater damage it will cause and people like the author will suffer.Recommend24
• ReplyDeep May 20, 2013
Ter is a very good movie on college hostel ragng named ‘Hostel’, if possible watch th movie. Wer shows how seniors rag nd later rape a junior student.Recommend
• ReplyMikaail May 20, 2013
You should’ve been man enough to draw a line. Everyone goes through ragging, and yes there are extremes as well but people always draw a line which seniors won’t cross cuz you’re not a puppet. You can always say NO, and if that doesn’t work leave, no one can force you, and if they do, report it to the principal. And don’t make ragging sound like a life-changing experience, it’s really not. Learn to stand up for yourself and stop blaming people.Recommend1
• ReplyRangelic May 20, 2013
Out of the 7 billion people in this world if you were lucky enough to not be raped or abused doesn’t mean RAPE DOESN’T HAPPEN . What does this have to do with being grown up ? I don’t think this guy thought he was about to get raped or had the time to think about another course of action.Recommend7
• ReplyRonnie May 20, 2013
The very reason I resented my father not to send me to the university hostel. I remember when a friend of mine was ragged.
They say that ragging makes a you a man and it helps you build confidence but this kind of sexual abuse is totally unacceptable. What kind of desperate loosers are we breeding in our schools and colleges? Atleast room mates should be of the same grade and no inter mingling of juniors and seniors in the same room.Recommend5
• ReplyHamid Khan May 20, 2013
Several years ago, i applied for admission in a junior cadet college. The interviewer asked me a question about the matter under discussion. Besides, all candidates went through a medical exam. So, it is utter rubbish if someone claims that such incidents do not happen in Pakistan, or that the authorities are unaware.
I am amazed that not even a SINGLE adviser told you to inform your parents. This is the only mistake that you did. If you are determined to fight, fight the embarrassment first and inform your parents. Otherwise, you shall keep looking for closure throughout your life.Recommend1
• ReplyMuhammad May 20, 2013
I really feel sorry for you and all those who have been suggesting to face it like a man are either naive or belong to the same class of ‘abusers’. Please do mention the name of your uni and expose the hypocrisy we Pakistanis are getting used to. Moreover try talking to your parents about it, if not your dad then your mom or somebody else who is saner. The scourge of sexual abuse and harassment needs to be dealt with iron hands! Write an application to the registrar Supreme Court maybe.Recommend5
• Replytooba May 20, 2013
I cannot believe this. This is absolutely pathetic. I am really sorry for what you had to go through.You took a brave step in disclosing this. My brother had to go through the same thing at a very prestigious school, at the hands of friends. except that the sexual harassment he suffered was subtle. Even though he was left damaged by it, he did eventually confide in my mum who then took action against those boys by complaining to the principal and the boy’s parents. I suggest if you haven’t already confided in your parents then you must do so. It’s one way of taking action against such monsters. I really hope that with time Insha Allah you are able to overcome your trauma and move on, and that severe action is taken against your university and those students.Recommend4
• Reply Salman May 20, 2013
Ragging a British concept. Really? Your wide off the mark here mate!
You endured 3 month’s of sexual abuse and chose to remain in the educational institution for a whole year?
• Reply Britpak May 20, 2013
Those who are saying “fight back”, not everyone’s like you, and not everyone is in a position to fight back.
Also some very intelligent comments here too. AZ is totally right.
No one should be subjected to such things, AT ALL.
Be open about where this is taking place. Total support from me.
There must be zero tolerance for this, The guy writing this story has done nothing wrong. Some of the comments are totally in denial. This practice needs to be wiped out. That is the only solution.Recommend8
• Reply Muhammad Waqar Razzaq May 20, 2013
If you are trying to ignore the issue, it will never been stopped by this,.. Just a try, Put a small knife within dress worn,.. each and every time, when every who ever try to do like this with any of the reader here in future or presently reading this, are truly able to defend herself, either harm the sensitive parts of the opponents, or either yourself seriously to save your honor !
• Reply Sanaa Khalid May 20, 2013
Deeply disturbed. Goosebumps all over. Hope you get over this trauma…eventually you might be able to get over it. It’s a long and painful journey but you have taken the first step. Had no idea that such a thing did occur in the universities.
So we are producing rapists in educational institutions. Moral degradation is what is happening in the society. To this degree, I had no idea. I commend you for being brave enough to write about it out in the open! These ragging monsters who treated you and others like rag dolls should be prosecuted and thrown into jail. sigh I wish I wish upon a falling star.Recommend6
• Reply Author May 20, 2013
You can email me your concerns; I will try to address them via email. I can not address them on this platform. I hope you all understand.Recommend2
• Reply assad
Its a rhetorical story. The author wrote: “The sad truth of it is that I am not the first victim, nor the last. This form of ragging is routine and happens to many new students who go to hostels.”Recommend1
• Reply another medical student
Are you talking about King Edward Medical University?
• Reply Christopher Anderson
Your powerful testimony here helps to shatter the sigma, shame, and silence that keeps male survivors of abuse silent. Your words have been heard around the world.
Please know that you are not alone, that what was done to you is not your fault, and that with hope and support, it is absolutely possible to heal. Speaking your truth is a powerful step along the healing path. Please continue to seek out the help you need.
malesurvivor (dot) org
New York, NYRecommend10
• Reply sehrish
Dear. This is the callous form of ragging, university and administration should take some action.
But i have a question for you condemn this reprobate ragging but do you take any strong action.
Like help other fresher.
• Reply Rakshinda
I want to apologise the author on behalf of bad luck that haunted him.
Few months ago i wrote an article “Men- victims of violence” in JPMS
Globally, the image of men is considered to be macho and somehow it is a taboo to see a man cry. This disturbingly awful trend should change.Recommend8
• Reply Usman
I have studied in University. Got friends in almost all universities and hostel.. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FAKE .. i dun find any other reason than to make fun of PAKISTAN and tell the world how Dirty we are.. IF ITS TRUE>> NAME THE UNIVERSITY… I PROMISE TO PROVIDE YOU JUSTICE… common…