November 8, 2012

Street Harassment

What can a mom say to a boy or man who is ogling her daughter? If he's said something lewd or whistled? What do you do?! What should a girl say or do if she is a victim of sexual harassment on the street? It makes me red with rage and until now I've only either ignored it or given them a look.  It's so pathetic that this is the national past time. I have to say, it's not as bad here as it is in say, Cairo. It may have something to do with there being plenty of scantily clad tourists who probably and unfortunately  get the brunt of it. I recently, after having this post in draft for a while ended up yelling at some guys that made a comment directed at my daughters and their friend on the street. I'm not sure it was the right thing to do but I couldn't help it at the moment.

It's so frustrating and makes me sick. They'll do it right in front me, the mom!  I have yet to decide on the best way to deal with this. I tell my daughters to ignore it but I'm not sure if that's the best approach anymore. I mean, I guess they want some kind of reaction so maybe ignoring is better, I don't know. What do these guys get out of it anyway? It's disgusting. Any suggestions?

22 comments:

  1. I think you were right in yelling at them! I have heard about the street harassment in Egypt and it sounds so frustrating and humiliating. Aren't these supposed to be Muslim men?? Yet they are harassing a young girl... it's just terrible! I wish I could give you some good advice. I know if I was dealing with it I would lose my cool quite often :-/

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    1. It is extremely frustrating. There needs to be a consequence.

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  2. Its so bad here in Saudi as well I just never look around or talk to much or else I would be harassed sad I know. I would go off on someone for sure if they said something to my daughter, you were right.

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    1. Yea, I'd love to see how they'd react to a guy doing that to their daughter!

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    2. I think I remember seeing a video of a lady(not Saudi) in a Saudi mall. The she got up in their face and was saying things like "is this how your mother raised you to treat women?? astaghfirullah!! you have someone do this to your sister or to your mom!!!??"

      It was pretty awesome. if I see it again I will let you know inshaAllah

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  3. I think you did the right thing to get up in the guy's face about it. I'm not sure they really do it to get direct attention. I feel like they do it because of the reaction they get but as much when they are talked back to as when the reaction is a subtle discomfort or nervous laugh, etc from the victim. And because they can easily get away with it. I'm not sure the negative attention of getting in their face is the type of attention they are looking for... And I think it's good for girls and women to learn to express themselves in a direct way. I haven't been in Egypt for a long time though and never talked back to these men when I was there, I was too shy - so no first hand experience about what I'm saying here, these are just thoughts...

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head right there regarding reactions.

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  4. I don't get why Muslim men are like this! I actually feel comfortable around non-Muslim men than Muslim men because I know that non-Muslims will never disrespect me. Before I was Muslim I worked at a hookah bar. The guys would sit there and talk about any women who went by. If you got in thier face about it they would be like "who do you think you are?"

    Even at my unversity there is a huge group of Arabic guys who stand outside smoking. When you walk by you can just feel the stares. It's terrible.

    I don't think there's anything that you can do. If they stop doing it to your daughter they'll just find another girl. It's something about the culture and the state of Islam in that region that has to change. Sorry, but it's true.

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    1. Yes, the looks are palpable. I'll give guys looking towards my girls the death stare.

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  5. It's disgusting, while I was in Italy a lot of the Moroccan and Algerian men/boys did/do the same thing. Honestly only low class individuals behave in such a manner. Telling them Ihtaram Nafsak doesn't help in the slightest, it just makes them grin stupidly. If your son see's this he might get in to an unnecessary fight with these awlad which is never worth it. (Unless you sign him up for kick boxing... Actually, train your daughters as well haha!) The sad part about these people is that they never act like that near their mothers or family members.

    I agree with Muslimathome's last statement. When we think about it, even if their mothers tell them to behave, they'll still do it because they dont want to look "uncool" near their friends.

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    1. Yes, exactly, they'd kick a guy's ass if he even looked at their sister or daughter but it's ok for others?!

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  6. Astaghfir'Allah. Such perverts!!
    It's good you said something, they obviously have gotten used to acting like animals with no one saying anything which is why they carry on. Wouldn't blame a parent for swearing at such monsters either!! They wouldn't like it if some random man did it to THEIR daughter, sister or mother! Shame on them.

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    1. Right, it's just become a thing that they do. Pathetic.

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  7. There's a whole online campaign to stop harassment in Egypt but it needs to be taken from social media to mainstream media and even better, to the streets!!

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    1. Right, I'd like to see this campaign.

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  8. I got an anon comment on this post with this link but for some reason, it's not showing up on here. If you understand Arabic/Egyptian, check this out... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exy3yUNdPco&feature=plcp

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  9. Anonymous3:05 AM

    Grrrrrrrrrr

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  10. Anonymous12:01 AM

    I read ages ago from an article about a study on the rises of harrassment in egypt and on there they asked boys/men why they harrass in the street, and one answer was because they think that the girls like it! Its a compliment to them that guys are looking at them and therefore makes the girl feel good. Pathetic excuse! I live in the UK and i too find it so weird as a muslim myself finding it much more comfortable walking by a group of non muslims then it is walking by Muslim men, although i do always try and avoid walking past builders here they are generally known for that

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  11. I think it's awful that there were men harassing your daughters and their friend!
    I have also heard that men think women/girls like it. I'm sure there's some women who do like it when men whistle or say something to them, but I think the majority of us don't. I think you did the right thing by yelling at them.
    I've heard a lot about men harassing women in the streets in Muslim countries and I found it very strange at first, but just because the majority of a population is Muslim, doesn't mean they practice the religion...
    I hope that something changes and men will stop doing that, but I think a lot of it has to do with how they're raised...

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  12. Anonymous10:46 AM

    It's pathetic. Recite - and teach your daughters to recite - their azkaar before leaving the house, so may Allah protect them. It's also fine, if they can have a self-defence gadget or spray. But for the guys to stop harrassing? I think things will forever get worse for us in Egypt - politically and morally!

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  13. Asalamualaykom!

    I love your blog, stumbled upon it today and I haven't stopped reading yet lol

    I'm Moroccan American, and when I was younger I spent almost every summer in Morocco. We have the same problem in Morocco, couldn't go out ONCE without hearing something. Once while out with my Aunts in a marketplace, some sleazy looking greaseball said something perverted to me and I panicked because I couldn't see my Aunt anywhere. I walked away and he kept following me saying gross stuff. OUT OF NOWHERE, my Aunt shows up, gets in his face (she was bigger than him lol so he might have been intimidated) and tells him "IF I EVER SEE YOU SO MUCH AS BREATHE IN HER DIRECTION AGAIN I'LL CUT OFF THINGS YOU NEVER EVEN KNEW YOU HAD"

    needless to say he scurried away ^_^

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  14. This is pretty amazing... One of the reasons why Muslim women wear the hijab is to be recognized as Muslims and not to be harassed yet it is the Muslim men that harass Muslim women!
    Like I said to my friends, if we had a woman always walking always alongside her man (a daughter, a mother, a sister, a wife) Muslim men would probably behave respectfully 24 hrs a day!
    I think we need to start our own campaign - all the sisters reading this: talk to your fellow men (your fathers, brothers, brothers-in-law, husbands, sons, cousins etc), tell them how it makes you feel when some strange man is doing that to you. Tell them how many times Muslim men's behaviour towards you made you scared. Tell them that you feel safer surrounded by non-Muslim men than your brothers in faith! We need to speak up to the actual oppressors but we also need to start changing this situation from the inside!

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Thanks for commenting!