Few months ago I was walking with my friend not too far from my home trying to find a taxi in the crowded streets of Cairo. Suddenly a group of men surrounded us making unexpected gestures and verbally harassing as usual, as soon as someone said ”foreigners” my friend lost her temper and yelled ”we are Egyptians.” I looked around me and I starred at people, they were just watching, completely apathetic! All I could do is grabbing my friend and escape before they could touch our bodies-which they certainly consider cheap. As soon as we ran few steps away, they threw water bottles-stones and metal canisters, and as it could not get any better a couple of cars stopped and the drivers offered a ride. However, decency was not the intention, just rude unjustified flirtation. Cab drivers refused to stop apparently, they enjoyed the scene, as if we were witches burnt alive in the Mid. Era and angry citizens enjoyed the rituals.
Finally we found a cab, and I remembered the revolution, the endless hope; Utopia that I witnessed in Tahrir square. The million marches when people fought side-by-side united and earthly lust just vanished. I wondered is it about sexual frustration, LACK OF HOPE or PATRIARCHY?!
The answer was simple it is patriarchy, a monster that survives on women’s humiliation. I do not know what happened to Egypt, I watched my family’s albums when women were respected-free and elegant, and masculinity could not infect our culture. How did it all start ?! nations develop but Egypt went backwards…100 years backwards.
First sexual assault incident is always present, the unforgettable details, the beige pants and the white shirt I wore, the ring that became too small for my fingers ”I am growing up, I will wear high heels and I will put on lipstick very soon.” candies and chocolates that symbolized paradise. The man who distorted my childhood, that conflict when everything falls apart and growing up became a nightmare. I did not understand why did he touch my behind, but my instincts kicked in, I was overwhelmed, and scared. I looked behind, our eyes met and with an evil grin, he starred; and the disgusting pleasure darkened his ugly face. The moment he touched me he left a scar that still bleeds, sharp blades went through my body and veins, I suffocated. Ironically, my father was right next to me, I did not speak; I just could not.
”EGYPT, BEAUTIFUL EGYPT”
I grew up studying and learning about the culture, The lost history vs. Modified history. I do not know how I kept my love and devotion for this country. However, running away was a mere solution once and it comes back from time to time. My parents were open-minded enough to warn me: ”If any stranger touches you, you have got to inform us immediately.”
The advice was a bit too late, because they did not imagine that it will happen extremely early, but it would not make any difference for an appalled child. It took me quiet long time to understand that I am not to blame, and being a female isn’t a sin.
I have learned from the novels and plays I read during growing up that the beautiful princess is always cursed but eventually, prince charming comes out of nowhere to rescue her, the truth is prince charming is such a myth. The Middle Eastern prince charming would be seeking to rescue the princess by getting into her pants and the princess is not always beautiful, she can be just vulnerable or too eccentric according to society’s beliefs, and eventually the female is always to blame.
During middle school, the head scarf trend started to spread, and I used to ask my girlfriends why did you cover your head? I have never heard a convincing answer. Actually, we were too young.. However, only one thing makes sense ‘’Protecting ourselves from harassment.’’ Ironically, the majorities in Mideast always justify and analyze sexual harassment according to the following:
- Women are to blame, their clothes are too exposed and males cannot control their sexuality.
- Egypt is poor country, they majority cannot afford buying a house and getting married, that is why they cannot help touching women.
- Satellite and internet are to blame, Pornography and music videos are such a turn on, and how can they help not harassing women when they watch that every day.
- Women must be blamed, recently they are advocating for gender equality. Why do they complain?!
When I was younger I tried to convince myself with these absurd allegations, but during my journey in exploring the world, I came up with many answers for instance:
- When the pedophile harassed me, I was TOO YOUNG and TOO FLAT to seduce him.
- Veiled women get harassed just like any other women, as long as you do not have penis you are a victim of pervert’s exploration.
- Sexual harassment is universal pandemic disorder, it has nothing to do with economic conditions or sexual frustration, we are born with a free will; and my sexual harassment diary does not only include uneducated men or random guys, I believe a decent looking man with a Mercedes car can afford marriage! TRUE STORY.
- Technology is not exclusive for men, guess what we have internet and satellite as well, we watch sexy men every day, and those who are not fans of pornography, watch sensual romance scenes. However, we do not go around harassing men. If I have a wish, it would be SMASHING THEIR BALLS.
- Yes, I personally believe we are equal, and females are capable of everything. I can shave my head and join the battlefield. However, women are not seeking SEXUAL ASSAULT EQUALITY.
Growing up in a country that prevents women from freedom of expression, freedom of choice and yet blames women for getting humiliated is extremely disgusting. When religion is mistranslated, and head scarf became only a protection from sexual frustration then we do have a damned problem.
I cannot argue or even talk about religion; it is not my job. Nevertheless, on mere human basis I am completely sick of being blamed of men failures and sin addiction, I am sick of being harassed daily, and as soon as I scream and fight back, I hear humiliating comments from men and women:
‘’Look at the slut, with piercings and strange look, why are you screaming at him, your looks calls aloud for harassment.’’
When I hear this I have a strong feeling, an angry urge of burning everything down, I wish I can walk around with my diary, I wish I can tell every shallow human being that I actually covered my head once, yes I did!! Because some ugly stupid woman told me that, my father will be burning in hell if I did not, and I was 14 years old only!
I wonder how the hell do they decide who is going to hell and who is visiting their HEAVEN why the hell the majority now are playing god’s hand on earth!
I am a big believer and supporter of freedom personal choices, but I am not flawless and I cannot help being angry when I realize that the fake exterior figure can help sometimes, help getting away from humiliating comments, help avoiding family arguments, and a cruel society. It is shameful realizing that being honest is actually much worse than being hypocrite covering her body. It is annoying when I see a girl holding her boyfriend in the street and they start bullying and yes I care enough to look if they are wearing rings, but they are not.. She is just wearing a headscarf.
PS. Covering up my body, does not make me safe. Nevertheless, being quiet different and unveiled gives a stronger justification for perverts.
Yesterday I went to the ‘’women’s cabin’’ in the subway and women were fighting with a man who joined it. I argued with him as well, as for the other women he kept saying lame excuses ” it is empty here, I am tired from work, and didn’t they ask for equality after the revolution’’ but his repeatable humiliating answer for me was:
‘’Someone like you should not argue, cover your head first then talk to me.’’
I answered ‘’Are you justifying your wrong action with humiliating me?.’’
He yelled ‘’ If I had a daughter like you, I would kill her, my wife and daughters are wearing Burqa.’’ AKA Niqab. .
The reasons for bringing up his so-called religious family history are still anonymous. However, I was one-step close from slapping him.
PS. I was wearing long t-shirt and sneakers, nothing to seduce that pervert!
From the few situations I mentioned earlier, I came-up with one conclusion humans fear difference as we all know, but in my society, It is quiet different, because difference does not scare them off. However, speaking out loud and pointing to their shameful habits terrifies them. I am too eccentric because I am bold yet honest.
They reject resisting their addictive lusts, they ignore the major moral dilemma, and unfortunately religions are distorted as it became a tool to justify their misfortunes. In Mideast, we need revolution against hypocrisy & ignorance.