Can We Stop Excusing a Man’s Abusive Behavior Just Because He’s a “Nice Guy”?

By: Salma Gharraf

In our short teenage years, we stumble upon some of these Hamadas in our lives (w yaretna ma shofna khela2hom, bas aho ba’a nassib)

Our first Hamada is everyone’s friend, he’s a really popular dude who owns clean clothes that include more than just sweatpants and hoodies. He claims to be a feminist, that he has no problem with anyone. You find him sharing posts about sexual harassers getting exposed and promising you that he’ll always protect you from harm and some other corny shit like that. Little do you know, he took advantage of some of your friends, makes way too many girls uncomfortable, and has done even worse. “Of course not yaani, I don’t think he’s done that”, his friends will say. Because those girls who built up the courage to tell their stories, knowing they’re going to face a lot of backlash and slutshaming just woke up one day and said “Imma just accuse a very popular and well-known guy who is loved by many people, of harassment/assault/abuse/rape, just for fun you know?” Because a nice guy is always worth believing, and never the victim herself.

Following up on that Hamada, we got his metabelaty: Hamada jr. He’s not necessarily a bad guy, just the biggest rape apologist you’d ever meet. Laughing at sexist jokes, excusing his friends who catcall and harass women in the streets, blaming the victims and remembering God only when women are mentioned in the conversation. And somehow, he’s still friends with some of the girls you know, and you can’t seem to convince them that he should be cut off for his behaviour. Why is that? Because, he “technically” didn’t do anything wrong, and he’s entitled to his “own opinion”, because apparently we can be friends with rape apologists as long as they’re nice to us and they’re not the ones committing crimes, just excusing them. Forget about rape culture, about internalized misogyny, about standards falling off the roof voluntarily, this just tops it all off.

Our third Hamada is a funny, shy, and adorable guy. In fact, those are probably his only personality traits, making others laugh their asses off at every event. But, he can be too funny sometimes, too. And by that, I mean that he is always using racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist jokes to feel valid and important, since he can’t seem to find humor without hurting others’ feelings and disregarding their pain, right? 🙂

And when you – a decent human being – try and explain to his very narrow minded brain why he shouldn’t, you’re made fun of, ignored, gaslit w nafs el ostowana teshtaghal ya feminist ya over enty, yali shoghl 7o’oo’ el ensan dah mayemshish ma3ah. And when you tell your friends (the ones who laughed at his “jokes”) why you think he’s actually just a piece of shit, they shut you up. He is, after all, just a funny, shy, nice guy…

And the last Hamada that I’ll mention is the “perfect” guy to you. The one who you just got with recently and you couldn’t be happier with. 

And I get it, ok? You’re finally in a relationship, you think you feel loved, cared for, I mean someone FOR THE LOVE OF GOD feels the same way, right? He is the answer to your prayers and questions and was divinely brought to you. Somehow, this is your chance to make memories and commit to someone who meets your bare standards, the same ones you often mistake as unimaginable or unreachable, standards others gaslit you for having. You’re waiting for that happiness everyone’s been feeling, the spark in their eyes when it meets their partner’s, maybe you even had them for a while, at first. 

But now, the honeymoon phase is over. You find yourself fighting, screaming, breaking down more than before. You can’t focus on anything anymore, your grades falling apart, your friends “just don’t get it”. You know the real him, don’t you? Constantly excusing his behavior, his treatment, his manipulation. You wonder what wrong you have so badly done for it to be this horrific, because it’s always your fault, isn’t it? It’s always the way you think, the way you speak, act, or exist, that started all the problems, that “provoked” him, forced him to act up. 

With every conflict, as time passes, the words get harsher, the air more suffocating, and the reactions more violent and aggressive by the day. In conclusion: You’re in a toxic, abusive relationship, so get the fuck out now!

Just because he didn’t leave a bruise, doesn’t mean there won’t be any next time. No matter the countless times he apologized and promised, the times he swore to whatever he believed in that it wouldn’t happen again, don’t believe him. Trust me, they’ll only get worse. Abuse is not just physical, it could be mental, emotional, psychological, and sexual. He doesn’t need to leave bruises on you for him to be abusive, not just toxic. 

Please stop convincing yourself that you don’t deserve better. That you should bend your morals and beliefs for anyone else. Stop sticking around people who don’t even take in consideration your words, your efforts, your mindset and drive. We need to stop thinking that “boys will be boys” because they damn well will be held accountable for what they say and do. “But he’s a nice guy” isn’t a standing argument, it’s excusing toxic and abusive behavior. We need to stop setting their toxic and misogynistic actions aside just because they met our bare standards, because they are as I said bare. Don’t settle for less, friend or partner, don’t accept abuse from anyone! You owe it to your body, to your mental health, you just owe it to yourself. 

If there are any other examples to add, tell me. I’d love to hear some feedback.

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