It was a sizzling morning. The grass was standing still and the fountains looked like a molten mirror. I honestly felt like peeling off my skin. I couldn’t find a taxi outside, so I decided to walk till I found one instead.
As I walked, I noticed two guys following me. They kept lurching behind me and saying phrases like “hey hottie!” and “nice body!”
Got nervous as one of them started to walk in front of me, while the other walked behind me. They both kept feeding their eyes with my body which instantly pushed my panic button.
I headed towards the closest police officer to report my issue.
“These strangers are following me since I started walking in the street,” I said as I pointed at the two guys who started acting like they’re chattering.
“WHAT?! The gentlemen are standing there smoking peacefully! And why are you walking alone in the street young lady?” the cop angrily replied to my complaint.
I know that most of the Egyptian ladies reading this, if not all, have been at least verbally harassed before. And I have to say it’s the worst feeling ever.
The scarcity of respect for a woman’s right to walk few steps in the street peacefully is ugly. What’s uglier is the fact that all one can do in such a situation (and in our country) is to just howl out some words that you’ll be blamed for later.
Here’s a shocking number: 90 percent of women in Egypt were sexually harassed at least once. Such a high number identifies how prevailing our culture of harassment has become.
Sexual harassment is considered to be an encroachment of one’s most basic rights.
How did this culture, which is full of discrimination and disrespect to its women, evolved to the point where sexual harassment became an accepted social practice? How did the society become blind towards men’s behavior and blame their women for this?
Some blame it on the way women dress or act in public. Due to the male-dominated society, women in Egypt are expected to dress and act in certain ways. Studies indicate that more than two-thirds of the females who reported that they were sexually harassed were veiled.
The westernization of media in Egypt had a significant effect too. Men are now exposed to sex in all aspects of Western media like songs, movies, and TV shows. This is then juxtaposed in our conservative society, causing this behavior which is against Islam and Eastern Christianity.
Others blame it on the high unemployment rates which makes marriage less likely to happen.
What about the psychological draining that a female has to pass through after such horrible experience? MEH, it’s not even taken into consideration by our society!
The problem is that when we ignore these situations it usually motivates men to shift to the next level. The objectification of women in our Egyptian society is also perpetuated by the following generation of male youngsters. Actually one of the guys that harassed me was as young as 10.
After all, I blame society. The people themselves are the ones responsible for such evolution where men can easily grope a woman from her breast.
People on the street watched the strangers harass me, yet, no one approached. Even the cop blamed me for walking in the street alone in the first place.
Personally, I think that Egyptian men relish asserting any form of power over a woman, and sexual harassment is one of them. It’s simply a way to assure that females know their proper status and that males are the superior individuals in society.
Although there are laws set against sexual harassment, yet, they aren’t enforced. However, if a woman reports a harassment case, she has to endure slathers of legal procedures hoping that something might actually be done.