Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stop Harassing us!

Middle Eastern men need to understand that women are not sexual objects and will not remain silent. Sexual harassment whether it is physical or verbal has to stop.

Sexual Harassment in the Arab World and especially in Egypt is a redundant topic because until today it is still not resolved.

Until men governed by their filthy sexual instincts understand that women do not deserve to suffer their frustrations, we will keep fighting.

I have reached a level where I cannot possibly tolerate this anymore and any women should not stay silent because it is not normal to be called names or looked at like a piece of flesh.

Unfortunately, any Arab woman who lives in a Middle Eastern patriarchal society uncounsciously becomes acostumed to this treatment by men.

The walk down the streets
After living in Cairo for more than 15 years, when I walk in the street it is becoming a routine for me to be called names and be followed by men and cars. When it gets physical, this is when it is too much.

Still, now that I am not in Egypt anymore it keeps hunting me. I often get messages by men on Facebook flirting and call requests on Skype.

Most of the times they are really stupid and entertaining, but when I reject a call from a man and he sends me a message insulting me with unspeakable offensive words I refuse to stay silent and passive.

 Who gives men the right to treat us this way? What can we possibly have done to make them think that they have the right to refer to us as dirty sexual objects for their pleasure?

Egyptian activist Nehad Abul Kosman is right, " We are facing a phenomena that is limiting women's right to move...and is threatening women's participation in all walks of life."

 A disease in the society

 An article by the Associated Press says that because women do not take a stand and report any abuse, this on-going disease remains in the society.

Also, laws in the countries do not criminalize those abuses and the constant idea that it is the woman's fault because of her appearance is a common belief.

The Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR) gives the figures of Egypt:
  • 83% of Egyptian women experience sexual harassment
  • 62% of men admitted harrassing women
  • 53% of men blame women for it 
 On the bright side, many women in Egypt have been reacting to this with groups and campaigns like Community Times Magazine's campaign "Stand up to Sexual Harasment".

Let's all hope that the proposed laws in Egypt to criminalize it will succeed so that we finally teach those men a lesson : Respect

(Photos by Randa El Tahawy)


Anonymous said...

Love your article baby!
Go Barbie! ;)

Unknown said...

j'adore cet article.
apres 15ans passé au caire, je ne peux que confirmer tes dires!
bisou pupuce

Emily Richardson said...

You're right Randa. And it's not just Egyptian women, but all women, who are harrassed. People must start teaching their little boys to respect women, and this starts in the home, with the mother and father.