Friday, February 8, 2013

Not another 5 ways to fight harassment pamphlet

So, it happens that we women and men, or whatsoever one identifies as, have to coexist in the same world, same public or private space, and coexisting within my own interpretation, means when we are both comfortable in being at same time in the same space, “sharing” the space. Sadly, this is not the case, while sexual harassment exists; that’s when the concept of sharing spaces and coexisting together is turned into one sex trying to push the other out of that space by making them cautious about being in it. But I will not bore you with my own conspiracy theory about sexual harassment (and I am the perfect conspiracy theory victim) but I would like here, to discuss the discourse in which some awareness campaigns deal with sexual harassment.

Before moving on while I channel away from my system the anger towards the discourse of women NGOs, Any NGO, civil society, the police, your mother, my mother, your father, brother, sister, the neighbor’s cat and everybody’s else advice in dealing with sexual harassment, I have to note that yes, we all know that the moment we hear the word “sexual harassment” we relate it to Egypt. But it’s advisable to remember that sexual harassment exist outside of Egypt, in almost everywhere in the world but Egypt is always on the display for the obvious intensity of the issue, and other political reasons I would love to discuss later. Simply note that, New York for example has a harass map too, where sexual harassment happen, but I don’t see all Newyorkers being turned to savages because of it, you know what I mean?

Anyway, so what I wanted to say is:

Let’s face it, we woman mostly come from a background of guilt, that sometimes breastfeeds us self blame for everything that happens to us, including, sexual harassment and rape, and maybe, this is where the concept of telling us women how to dress or where to walk and what time to walk or how to walk in order to avoid getting sexually harassed, like that is ever an option. There are even steps sometimes and brochures addressed towards woman in specific in order to help them protect themselves from harassment; but within my cynical deep belief that you need to address in every problem both side, I decided to create a counter pamphlet of steps for men to avoid sexually harassing women. I don’t mean in this article, to undermine the efforts of people and awareness groups that are putting all their efforts into helping woman by spreading awareness about sexual harassment, but I only come with a humble trial of being critical even within our own feminist circle, self critical.

So my friends, male friends in specific, after I am so tired of all those brochures telling me how to get dressed, and what time to walk in the streets, here’s one for you, maybe you are like us a “victim” of this sexual harassment plague and you need help learning how to avoid it.

Therefore please follow these 5 simple steps:

1- If you cannot stop yourself from harassing women, verbally, physically or mentally, especially at night, where there is nobody to stop you, stay home. Avoid walking in the streets at night, because it might unfold to you some options and you might get tempted to practice harassment, well, since we women are mostly prohibited from going out of our houses at night in order to stay safe. Therefore why don’t you do us a favor, and stay home for our safety? So we can for once, enjoy our walk in the street without the paranoia of looking behind us, and the expectations of what hand will touch what part of our bodies, and the traumas we have to go through everyday?

2- Don’t look. If your claim is true, and what we wear might be the reason you sexually harass us, even though some women are sometimes literally covered from head to toe and still get harassed - which totally refutes this argument…but still I will take it into consideration your point of view and advise you to stop looking so you don’t get “bombarded” with” temptation”. Don’t look at us, exactly the same way we avoid looking at you, and some of us walk head in the ground, in order to avoid seeing your winks and drools and body language that makes us feel as preys that you are about to devour.

3- Go out in groups. If you feel unsafe towards you sexual harassment abilities, then try to get stronger willed friends with you (maybe a un-sexual harass support group), so you can go out and feel safe towards yourself, and be sure if you are about to sexually harass a woman, and you can’t stop yourself, someone from the group can stop you. Exactly as we women need to always walk in groups in order to feel safer in public spaces so even if we get harassed it might be less dangerous, less invasive, more importantly less life threatening.

4- Wear a neck holder made out of steal. It sounds very painful, I know, but hey, if you can’t help it controlling your neck not to rotate with every girl passing by, this steal neck holder might be of a great use to you, it will prohibit your neck from moving and therefore you can be a good person and keep your preying looks, and sexual harassment phrases to yourself. On this one, I have to admit, I really feel your pain, since as a woman I know how it feels to wear something against your will everyday, this is what some woman do, they, in hot steaming weather sometimes are obliged to dress in ways that cover their whole body - again in the hot steaming weather - in order to avoid being harassed by you, where still, you do not appreciate it, and still, harass them.

5- Last but not least, think before you act, be always careful and on your nerves to stop yourself from voicing out what you want to say, evolve this habit of impulsive silence to stop yourself, use your brains to do it, it’s really easy, think, but don’t say, don’t look, not because I want you to oppress yourself, but because by sexually harassing woman, by just voicing out a comment you are invading their space, making them feel uncomfortable and making them really angry or sad. Believe it or not, we woman learn impulsive means to protect ourselves in order to get out of danger zone during sexual harassment.

Finally now, let’s compare how easier it is for you to stop yourself from sexually harassing us…… or do you think it is easier for us to spend hours and years of our lives taking carate/selfdefense/streetfight classes just in order to feel safe while sharing a public space with you?

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