I was casually walking back to campus, with two girlfriends of mine, when suddenly a random – creepy, might i add – man finds himself between us and grabs my American friend, Samantha’s, butt. Outraged, she yelled after him “F*** you!, as that was the only word she could muster up following the incident. She kept on yelling and the man who was brave enough to approach her to begin with, was running around the corner, scared that her voice would bring him trouble.
A couple of hours earlier, as we were walking up to Hamra, Samantha, Jane and I were talking about harassment in general and incidents that they both face in Lebanon. I felt obliged to apologize to them and tell that that what she has gone through in Hamra does not reflect Lebanese society or other Arabs society. However, i did admit that harassment, including sexual harassment, is a growing issue in the region. I told them, whenever they find themselves in a situation like this, they should stand their ground and fight them off. After, creepy guy ran off, i would never forget the sigh of Samantha feeling so empowered as a woman.
There isn’t one really. I am a woman and men find it alright to harass me.
That’s my fault of course.
I am a vulnerable creature by nature, yet, i have all these qualities of seduction from the way I walk, talk but more importantly they way I dress. I take the streets at night [nine pm] and expose myself in order to hear the obscene and degrading words spat at me like a definition.
I bring this opun myself.
I have no boundaries; no matter what i am wearing, no matter what color skin i have, no matter where i am going, not matter what time. I am at the end nothing but a woman.
The remedy is to reclaim our dignity, too long has man degraded us, too long has man defined us and too long has man felt it to be their right to harass us. I am proud of what I am and therefore, I am reclaiming the power and pride that long ago was pacified by man. I urge you as a woman to reclaim what is dutiful yours. More importantly, I urge man to condemn such acts and unite with their counterparts to fight this.
Harassment is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. It is not alright for anyone to approach another without his consent, more importantly butt grabbing and sexual advances are certainly not welcomed! This issue is a growing globally, in Egypt harassment escalated during the days of the revolution but campaigns were set up and it is being spoken about openly. Even in the West, women are getting harassed on the streets too, last year, the city of Toronto had it’s very first Slut-walk in protest of women facing -like us – harassment.
I have zero tolerance for harassment of any sort, no one can empower me but myself. So, empower your self by standing up for yourself. Like I said earlier, I’ll never forget the sensation Samantha felt after creepy guy ran off.
Anyways, I am starting with Hamra.