Tag Archives: Sexual Harassment

Made in Egypt

I wanted to call my piece “born in Egypt” but I found “made in Egypt” more appropriate, eventually in this country we are more of “made” NOT “born”; born suggests living with free will and free will is the mother of sins where I come from.

Usually I end every year with positive thoughts and bright new year resolution, but who am I fooling, we all survive here with a manual of terms and conditions…. and once you decide to oppose the herd, you become a misfit like me.

Let me introduce the external shell, on a professional level I am doing pretty well and thankfully, my lifetime war with family and society ended up with victory. But the price of where I am and who I am was/remains unbearable, for I decided to be my true self and speak out loud in a country that despises freedom, let alone a woman who speaks of freedom.

I am angry.

I am full of rage, I can no longer handle the way this society perceives me. I am tired of explaining and expressing that I might be human after all. I am severely sick from hearing “Rana, regardless of your eccentricity and odd thoughts, you are good – genuine -trustworthy and supportive.” these statements don’t make me feel proud, it suffocates me, it’s like a razor blade piercing each and every ounce of hope that I create from shattered pieces to hold on, survive…. Breathe.

I am dissapointed

Once upon a time there was a revolution, we all had hope, we live in an utopic delusion – we sensed euphoria and we failed to understand that it’s just momentarily.

Our hopes and dreams faded because of everything we failed to understand. Not only an oppressive rooted regime – but our corrupt morals, fragile ethics and HYPOCRISY.

How did we manage to fool ourselves? Change? Freedom? Are you kidding me? How could we expect change when we barley face ourselves with our misfortunes. When we breath hypocrisy, when we betray everyone even ourselves on daily bases?

How could you speak of freedom when you still believe that atheists, agnostics etc. should be sentenced to death? What part of the word “freedom” allows you to harass me just because I am different, how could you speak of human rights when you insult, hurt, mislead dozens of people for nothing other than personal reason rooted in your distort mind.

How am I writing all of this while I hurt many people along the way due to the circus in my mind and the traumas I can’t defeat yet. I might have not hurt anyone “intentionally” but I did by every mean during the war with myself. I am as corrupt…

I am numb

I have lost touch with my feelings, 2015 is such an enlightenment. I got to see the raw ugly image of my society, my people… I wonder why am I surprised? Am I that naive?

However, being numb is pretty useful my friends. I don’t get shocked from daily sexual and verbal harassment anymore, I just live with it – After all, I am an Egyptian pierced and tattooed, I am definitely asking for it, if I was a foreigner then I wouldn’t be asking for this but being Egyptian and different equates and invitation for everyone to occupy my body or at least pierce my brain… What’s the big deal anyway?

Someone told me few days ago that I “escape” from my emotions and I runaway from feelings… Seriously! Why is it hard to absorb my numbness… Live with it, I am not there….

If you live in a country where people resist Police and military abuse and torture but they don’t have the guts to speak of domestic violence and child abuse. What change are you expecting?

If you live in a country where many people would fight sexual harassment but wouldn’t dare to open topics like incest and parental abuse. How can we forge change?

If we live in a country where people still consider parenthood as a sacred institution and domestic violence is god given right, how the fuck will we change anything?

If we are living in a country where men are granted to fool around and cheat while women would be tortured to death in the name of honor. Will we ever witness critical change?

Bottom line

“There can’t be large scale revolution until there’s a revolution on an individual level”

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The hypocritical prostitution.

Mood: Angry

Listening to: Joan Jett-Bad Reputation

If there could be a word to describe my current state, it would be complete disgust. I am completely sick from society. Yes, I am Egyptian, I took a part in the revolution; and I admit the majority are complete hypocrites. No wonder why Egypt is going backwards before/after the revolution. I cannot help but being very angry, because every day the degraded situation reminds me of the way people gave-up everything for a so-called stability. However, stability does not only include money and life style; actually, stability in Egypt is everything accompanies negativity.

Recently religion is  far from its true purpose, and please away from” my personal beliefs.” I guess Religion is meant for purification, a guide in life and thanking god through worshiping rituals. However, in Egypt/Mideast its quiet different Religion is used to judge, control, not only political control (that is new trend.) But also, in social level; from school to family. How many times did your parents use religious verses in order to scare you? How many times we were told to obey our parents’ orders with no argument because ‘’God said so!’’?  How much were you deprived from ‘’freedom of choice’’ and ‘’freedom of speech’’ under the name of ‘’obeying your parents equals obeying God’’?

I remember that the previous questions has countless answers, and I remember that the ‘’don’t argue quote’’ did nothing but making me much stubborn, it took me long time to figure out who I really am; and it’s not an easy choice when you choose to be yourself regardless of the out-come. Nevertheless, the rules and speeches I heard while growing up did not make any damn sense. Actually, hypocrisy caught my attention and I figured out later that ‘’hypocrisy leads to virtue in the modern society.’’ In Egypt and Mideast, there are various static rules, which do not make any sense:

  • A: You should come back home at 10 pm.

B: What about my brother, he stays out all night?

A: Darling he can party all night long, he is simply male.

I never understood terms of gender segregation; elders say they these rules protect girls from what so ever, but that does not make any sense. Come-on ‘’If a girl decided to do anything, she will do it!  Stupid curfews or constant control will not make any difference.

  • ”Man are free, eventually he will settle down with the pure grounded girl, who does not have any past relation-ships, a girl who is religious and strict.’’ In our society, men can fool around, have sex, get drunk and do whatever comes to their minds. However, he still has the absolute right to seek the grounded virgin; and if the girl was quiet different, his family can simply reject although, they are aware of every detail of his life, but the lame excuse is ‘’He is a man.” Nevertheless, as for us girls, we are chained with the damned girl’s reputation and all of this non-sense talk aimed to lead to Mr. Perfect.

PS. Mr. Perfect has nothing to do with female’s image of prince charming; he has to be the parent’s prince charming. In other words he has to charm the family with bank account, fancy car etc. However, the girl will have to be charmed forcibly.

The number of families in the 21st century who still believe that the only job that fits women is being a housewife, is unbelievable. I am personally annoyed from the comments I hear daily from ‘’elders’’ concerning marriage. LOL

These are just few examples concerning gender segregation. However, hypocrisy comes as a full package, when you learn how to pretend perfectly and fake who you really are, then everything becomes easier and when double-standards identifies your society, when honesty is considered as unacceptable boldness ‘’ Just because you are female.’’  I confess that wearing a headscarf, conforming and avoiding speaking out loud would make life muchhhhhhhhh easier. I should just join the hypocrisy club for free!

Eventually, it disgusts me how they use religion to justify everything including gender segregation. When some man gives you speeches about virtue although, he goes back home and watch pornography all night long, when they insult homosexuals/feminine looking man because its Forbidden ”7aram” However, they are on their way to the bar . When they criticize western life-style while they are deeply longing for it, And if they got an opportunity to travel there, of course they do and they conform perfectly;  When some ignorant men believes that being open-minded/different means you I am available!

”Apparently in Mideast Religion went commercial and became a profession.”

To be continued.


Too eccentric for our society.

        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.


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