How to Respond to Sexual Harassment

By: Maram Faragallah

According to the BBC, 95% of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed before and according to the UN, 99% have been harassed. This is an extremely big number. Makes us wonder how many harassers we encounter on a daily basis, and that number also shows that most women, if not all women, have been sexually harassed before or are prone to getting harassed in the future.

The most important thing is to understand the general idea of what’s going on. All psychological studies proved that harassers attack the victim to show superiority, as if they’re saying “i can touch you and you can do nothing about it.”

My mom always says “how can the sexual harasser touch me and not expect for me to attack back?”

He harrasses simply because he can. He can touch you and he knows he’s not going to prison, he knows everyone is going to blame the victim, and he knows he can do it and walk away with your soul broken behind. You shouldn’t surrender to this kind of attack. Stand tall and show him/her that you’re going to fight back to this attack, because while the majority of the harassment cases are by males against females, the reversed situations happens often enough.

1. Don’t be anxious

I know this is the most stupid request. How do you expect someone to be calm in such situation? But just try to calm down in order to be able to respond to the attack. Your anger and frustration aren’t going to solve the problem.

2. Try not to cry

I know this is hard but don’t lose control of your emotions. Try to keep everything in check, you can cry when you get home. Just please don’t show them your weakness because it might(most probably) be used against you. These predators feed on your vulnerability.

3. Don’t think about religion

When I was young I was afraid of getting sexually harassed because it’s a sin in religion. I realized that society put me in a position where I blame myself for being sexually harassed. So don’t think this is your fault socially or religiously.

4. Tell the person to stop

My mom advice to me was to give a stern eye and say no or tell them to stop. This is not the best option and personally I would want to do more but this is the safest thing for two reasons. One, he might stop because sexual harassers are cowards especially when they see a

“dominant” or strong woman in front of them. By being stern and refusing, you’re showing that you’re gonna respond to the attack. Second reason is you wouldn’t have to face the wrath of the people. I would never forget the story of this woman who wasn’t wearing a headscarf, and her clothes were jeans and a T-shirt. She was sexually harassed on a bus and when she called him for it in front of everybody, people started to apologize to him because her clothes or behavior clearly indicated she was asking for it. She literally said, “People were surprised I was rejecting it and a guy even apologized to him.” People wouldn’t support the victim so don’t encourage their interference.

5. Knee him in the balls

My favorite. Guys say that her clothes or beauty turned him on, so usually I feel obligated by working this boner he supposedly has. So when a guy starts touching you inappropriately, give him your face, smile, raise your knees, and straight out knee him in the balls. The boner wouldn’t be there anymore. Problem solved and he would live happily ever after!

6. Weapons

If you’re afraid of being sexually harassed, you can take something in your bag to help you. I would recommend a pepper spray, and just spray at him when he touches you, BUT make sure it’s not taken from you by any one in the area. Because you can easily be outnumbered and it can easily be snatched out of your hands. Use it when you’re walking in a dark alley at night when no one’s around.

In the movie 678, the girls used a knife to stab the sexual harasser. NOT RECOMMENDED. But it’s an option.

7. Try to leave the place immediately

Not more to say on that, but don’t enter an argument or fight. Leave immediately or be as far away as possible at least.

8.Sue

I know it’s not easy and there’s a lot of wrath from society and suing is a big process especially if there’s no evidence. (I don’t know how they expect us to find evidence) but don’t leave your right and don’t leave the guy to continue assaulting girls. Save yourself and his future victims.

This is just harassment in the street which surprisingly isn’t the most common way. Most harassments happen by people we know. Either friends or family members or people we encounter daily for whatever reason. The bigger problem here is how to speak out. And whether you would be believed or not. I hate that i lack advice to give you, just be careful and strong.

Show that person that they can’t empower you and that you have a strong character. Maybe you could hit them with something or slap them hard.

Just please don’t be quite, and if you’re in a position where you can report, then please do.

Something else is guys who get sexually harassed and are being called gay simply because they refuse. I don’t understand how society expects people to enjoy or accept harassment. At that moment you can choose to expose her and we would leave the toxic society to deal with her or you can just tell her to stop, don’t give her attention.

It’s really hard in such society to be able to properly respond to sexual harassment. It’s sick that we even have to make a guide/an article telling you how to protect yourself. I wish that never happens to anyone! (Says in a country where 99.3% of its women said they have been sexually harassed before)

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