Sexual harassment is a common problem at work places. The story of Prophet Yusuf/Joseph (AS), is “the best of stories (12/3).
Yusuf has the potential to play bigger role in life and he shares his vision/dream with his father. Brothers are jealous of his potential. They throw him in well. By divine scheme, he is brought to city and gets a chance to serve at the king’s house. He is charismatic; the wife of king has lusty thoughts towards him. She persuades him to have relations with her and he seeks refuge of Allah and refuses and runs away. She is running after him and the king sees both of them in this situation.
The First Lady accuses him of rape attempt but Prophet of Allah says: “It was she who sought to seduce me.” (12/26). Both of them are given chance to explain the situation. Yusuf is successful to prove his innocence.
Sexual harassment always emanates from position of authority. It flows down from stronger to weaker. Verse 23 of sura 12 says: “And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him”. The lady had power over the servant. She misused her power and initiated the harassment. The stereotypical thinking is that men normally initiate the harassment. It’s not true. It is the stronger position that initiates sexual harassment; it can come from a man or a lady.
The Hollywood movie, Disclosure, of Michael Douglas and Demi Moore and Bollywood movie, Aitraaz, also deal with sexual harassment initiated by lady bosses.
There are three lessons that I will derive from sexual harassment saga of Prophet and the queen:
1. Always look what nuisance value the sexual harasser has over the victim to investigate. Power to terminate? Power to blackmail? Power to hurt?
2. The victim must seek refuge of Allah immediately.
3. Victim must run away from privacy. This is the Prophetic way.
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