By: Ingy El Naggar
Sexual harassment is Egypt’s fetus of sin that has been growing in the womb of chaos, but it have seemed to escalate drastically in the last 7 years. Our long-lived misconception that seems to always wrong the female or, when the scenario is too cruel, urge people to turn their heads the other way, sweeping the whole problem under the rug, feed the harasser’s confidence turning them into limitless monsters who think that it’s not only okay, but also their right to cat call, touch and shame girls on daily basis.
But the question is, from where did we build such misconceptions in the first place? Who made up the rule book of Egypt’s right and wrong? How in the world did the pharaohs evolve into being barbarians? We became living jokes who fast, pray and cover up for our social image. Sadly, women living in low-class areas mostly cover up for protection rather than for religious beliefs, while upper-class women cover up or down according to the place they’re going. We claim that we shame women because they’re not following their religion and for “sinning”, but what about the rest of our religious obligations? The ones that say we have to stand up for what’s right and help the ones in need? And most importantly, at the end of the day, what outweighs the other? The social facade or what’s right?
Our tragic reality is one in which a great country that was the first to be ruled by a woman, like Cleopatra back in the Hellenistic period, is now a country in which women are degraded daily on the streets so badly that anything less than rape or murder is deemed acceptable. Even women themselves do this, because “it could’ve been worse, right?”
Perhaps the only silver lining in this topic is the statement that was issued by Al Azhar stating, “Any kind of harassment is unacceptable regardless of the victim’s choice of clothes or actions.“
Even though I firmly believe that strict rules must be issued against harassers, I also believe, just as firmly, that we’re all guilty in this. Every male or female, myself included, that witnessed a person being harassed on the streets and chose not to interfere is guilty. Every person that blamed the victim, advising women to cover up because “men are men” is guilty. We all contributed some way or another to this heart breaking picture. We’re all guilty, and if we truly want a better and safer Egypt, then we better start repenting by doing what’s right for once instead of doing what society perceives as the norm.