A new report has been released by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights which discusses issues of sexual harassment that women face in Egypt. The report concluded that most respondents who were victims of sexual harassment wore the hijab and regarded themselves as modestly dressed. Yet some even blamed themselves for being sexually harassed by men.
More findings include:
- Sexual harassment by men was experienced by 83% of Egyptian women.
- Sexual harassment by men experienced by 98% of foreign women visitors in Egypt.
- 62% of Egyptian men admitted to sexually harassing women.
- More than 60% of both male and female respondents suggested that a ‘scantily clad woman’ was most at risk.
- 53% of Egyptian men blame women for ‘bringing it on’ [typical disgusting male attitude].
- The attitudes of Western respondents differed to Egyptian respondents: Western women strongly believed in their entitlement to personal safety and freedom of movement whereas Egyptian respondent did not mention freedom of choice, movement or the right to legal protection, nor were they aware that harassment is a criminal behaviour, regardless of what clothes the victim is wearing.
From my experience, it does not matter what a women wears. In the Gulf, when I used to wear the the abaya, hijab and sometimes niqab I was still harassed by men. When I made the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, obviously covered, I was again harassed. When I wore a top and jeans, I was harassed. Even when I wore no make-up and went out, I was harassed. Over here, I am still harassed by perverts. The point: if men want to be perverts, they will be perverts regardless of what you wear. The problem does not actually lie with what women wear but with men who think they have the right to treat women with disrespect.
So why should women define modesty based on what men think? Why am I any less modest than a woman who does wear the hijab and abaya? This report suggests that it makes no difference whatsoever! Modesty lies with a woman’s respect for herself regardless of what she wears. And for the men out there reading this, respect women instead of treating them as sexual objects ready to be screwed around with, groped or harassed whenever it pleases you, and then think you have done nothing wrong.