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Documentary filmmaker abused in Pakistan

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Josef K

Mar 18, 2015
Saudi Arabia
Apprentice's Saira Khan tells how she was sexually assaulted in Pakistan | Daily Mail Online

A former star of The Apprentice has revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a gang of men in Pakistan as she filmed a BBC documentary.
Saira Khan, who was runner up in the first series of the show, was assaulted while filming in a square during a religious holiday in 2007.
The TV presenter, whose parents were raised in Pakistan, claims she was surrounded by men who groped and pressed up against her 'grabbing her boobs, bum and legs' as she tried to shoot scenes for a piece during Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.
She wrote: 'In 2007, I was asked by the BBC to travel to Pakistan and make a documentary.
'One particular shoot was to take place on the day when the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday was celebrated. My all-male British team were nervous because thousands of Pakistani men were to gather in a square and I was to report from the crowd.
'I was determined to do the piece and naively I thought: "Nothing will happen to me, it’s a spiritual day."
'I was dressed in the native shalwaar kameez – long baggy trousers and a tunic to cover my body. I wore a scarf around my head to show respect.
'All that was visible were my hands and face. With much persuasion, my director David allowed me to walk by myself near a crowd of men.
'I realised within five minutes what an idiot I had been – I was the only woman in this crowd. I was spotted and within minutes a group of men had circled me and hands were all over me while bodies pressed up against mine. I was rescued by our burly ‘fixer’ who carried me out.
'I was shaking and shocked – and I was angry at myself for being so naive after everything I had grown up with.'
It comes after a spate of sexual attacks in Cologne, Germany where there have been 516 reports of women being attacked by a group of men described as North African.
She said: 'Understanding how African and Asian men view and treat women in their own countries is crucial when dealing with the migrant crisis – because only when we understand their cultural practices can we help them to integrate. They need to understand that women are deemed equal to men in Western societies.
'Here in the West, we need to stop burying our heads in the sand and accept that Asian, Arab and African men grow up in societies where misogyny is the cultural norm. We need to talk about it so we can change it.
'Ignoring it, like the BBC did, is just condoning it. If we are allowing people to come in, we must also make sure that we are not blinded by some truths which are hard to swallow.
'It is a betrayal of the truth, of the majority of decent migrants and – most of all – of women who must not see progress turned back for the sake of accommodating a medieval world view.'
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