“البنت اللي تمشي عريانة في الشارع التحرش بها واجب وطني”
You know how India is famous for its food, Japan for its modernization, and Turkey for its heritage? Well, Egypt is officially famous for something other than the pyramids; oppressing, sexualizing, and objectifying women. Lawyer Nabih Al Wahsh, said that statement on air, and despite the female guest’s argument, and all the opposition the man faced, he still came out on top, and released another statement in Al Watan saying that his daughter would also deserve to be harassed and raped if she wore ripped jeans. All of that aside, this is a lawyer, this is the mindset of those on top of the food chain, this is the real Egypt. We mean, if it were her clothes that were the problem, then please explain to us why do veiled and niqab wearing women get harassed, objectified, and raped too?
We’re always hearing about “rape culture” and its effects on society, but what exactly is it? Rape culture is – simply – normalizing rape; it’s the belief that sexual assault and abuse are no biggie. The presence of rape culture is easily detected through the stereotypes and attitudes society (including us) have towards the idea of violation and rape. The word “culture” from a sociological or anthropological viewpoint is understood to be things that people commonly engage in as a group – a society – things like certain ideas, actions, traditions, etc. For the most part, we’re quite the experts on excusing and tolerating sexual violence, as well as blaming the girl of course. For example, the first question we ask a girl when she says she’s been assaulted or raped: “hmm what were you wearing?” As if this is the main factor, as if this is her fault, and as if that person who was sick enough to assault/rape a girl is actually normal and he’s definitely not perceiving her as an object or property he’s entitled to.
Our society didn’t really come out and promote rape, not much anyway, but now? It’s getting worse, this man just came out and TV and said that women deserve to be raped, that it is a man’s national duty to rape a girl in ripped jeans. The problem is, we can’t do something about it now, we can’t go against these people, but – while this might sound harsh to some – they’re all dead in a couple of years anyway, and soon enough, we’ll be the ones in power, so until then, we can change the foundation “men ta7t li ta7t”. Mostly, when faced with situations of sexual assault, rape, and violence; “society” either ignores them, normalizes them, or – of course – turns them into jokes.
Here are a few simple examples of people who contribute to the presence of rape culture, things around us everyday:
1- Mothers who blame girls for posting sexy photos and thus “leading their sons” to wanting them and committing sin,
2- Judges who sentence men to only a couple of days in jail after raping an underage girl because “she is older than her chronological age”
3- People in the streets who leave girls helpless against assault, seeing someone violating a girl and just walking past quickly.
4- People who tell an assaulted girl “sebeeh howwa makansh usdo”
5- Those who tell someone who has been sexually harassed and willing to report it that they’re “overreacting”
6- Rape jokes
7- Schools and Universities disregarding reports of rape, assault, and harassment.
The list could go on forever, examples are all around us, they are imbedded into our society, on all levels, it’s oppression at its finest.
Is changing all that easy? No. Is being conscious in an unconscious society easy? No. But does that mean we do nothing and suck it up? Hell No! Here’s what you could do to change something even if it won’t completely change everything – it’s a good start. And yes it’s only one thing, and yes that’s all what we’re powerful enough to do now, that’s how bad the place we’re in is, a place where a person was arrested because the police thought he was stealing but then they discovered that he was actually harassing a girl so they we’re like “oh normal everyday occurrence” and LET HIM GO! That’s Egypt for you, so now, speak the hell up, don’t stay silenced, don’t wallow in your oppression, you have a voice, use it.
We are supposed to be generation el met3alemeen wel “farafeer”. Yet we’re not educated about something like that. We are this country’s future and despite the fact that the majority of people harassing and raping aren’t reading this right now, but the culture itself is ingrained in us too. We are aware we’ll be in positions of high power in no time, where we can make a much bigger impact, but for now, we have to speak up about it and educate ourselves so we can learn to spot it when we see it, so we can answer our parents when they tell us “it’s the girl’s” fault, and so we can be prepared to build a better future for us and for the coming generations.