“Start young. It’s an awful world.”
Anoushey Ashraf, known for rallying for mental health awareness, destigmatised mental health by providing a space for the male community to share their experiences with abuse and neglect.
May is mental health awareness month and Ashraf’s effort at collecting narratives is eye-opening.
They serve as a startling revelation of how many stories go unheard under the cloak of society-mandated masculinity.
Taking to Instagram, the host assembled as many “horrific stories” as she could of men who faced abuse as children.
Ashraf added a trigger warning and highlighted how the matter is often brushed under the carpet.
She emphasised parents’ responsibility to not only educate their children about their bodies but also be open to listening to their children when such unfortunate incidents happen to them.
Anoushey captioned the post: “I usually talk about women’s issues but this May I finally decided to also highlight men’s mental health which is key to a stable society.
“Young boys are often bullied and abused in schools, at home or by madrasahs, which is why I insist there is no need for clergy in religion.”
Encouraging and validating the “brave” men who were strong enough to share their stories, anonymously and otherwise, she further added:
“These posts have been shared by some very brave men.
“Ones I’d like to appreciate by letting them know how much respect they have in my eyes.
“Despite their abuse and trauma, they’re choosing to be better people. They’re actively working on themselves to be okay.”
Ashraf firmly believes that reaching out for help should be a common phenomenon.
The purpose of sharing these stories on her platform was “to shed light on what goes on with the vulnerable throughout the world.”
Along with that, she wanted her audience to understand that their experiences can be different from others, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to dismiss and invalidate others by alienating them based on their truths.
Anoushey Ashraf urged: “Teach your sons and daughters the rights they have over their bodies and the lack of rights they have over others’ bodies. Start young. It’s an awful world.”
Anoushey recently voiced her opinion on the hypocrisy of Pakistani men.
Referring to the outrage around Esra Bilgiç’s ‘revealing’ pictures on social media, Anoushey Ashraf shared the screenshot of a news article headlining the Turkey incident and wrote:
“Considering everyone’s concern over Halime Sultan’s choice of clothing, Pakistani men should first hand over a certificate or diploma on ‘experience with women as humans, not on their choices in life or clothes’ before giving them a visa to any place in this world.”