Feast, Be Merry… But Keep Your Hands Off

Is the general message after an Eid Al-Adha that has thrown to light some alarming figures:

The Egyptian media reported that about 300 cases of sexual harassment against women occurred over the recent Adha holiday. The cases, which the Interior Ministry would not confirm or deny, varied from verbal taunts to assaults. Al Destour newspaper said the number of incidents was higher than what was reported during the Fitr feast in September.

The biggest incident came during last year’s Fitr, when 150 men and boys were arrested for going on a harassing spree in the streets of Mohandeseen in Cairo. A few of the defendants, who assaulted girls and cut their clothes, were taken to court and one was sentenced to a year in jail.

The number of harassment cases during the feasts echoes a study carried out by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) last July, showing that 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign females residing in the country reported being harassed.

Egypt’s penal code sets imprisonment punishments for anyone who sexually assaults minors, but many assaulted women have seen their cases blocked as judges and prosecutors blamed similar incidents on the “provocative” way some girls are dressed. But the ECWR’s study refutes such allegations, saying that 71.5% of women who reported sexual harassment were wearing veils (head scarves) and non-revealing clothes, and 19.6% of them were even wearing niqabs (face veils). [Source]

This is distasteful on so many levels.

First: it is a religious holiday, a time for family and piety; that harassment ‘sprees’ are now as much a part of Eid as mooning on a stag night in Riga is bitterly ironic.

Second: “judges and prosecutors blamed similar incidents on the “provocative” way some girls are dressed” – define ‘provocative’. Define ‘rights’. And now define ‘justified harassment’. Put it altogether and you have a collection of judges that have misspelled their original titles of ‘chauvinists’.

Third: consider the figures 83%, 98%, 71.5% and 19.6%. No woman is safe it seems, even if they do follow the draconian advice of the above.

Fourth: and tangentially, it is interesting to note that as religiosity increases in Middle Eastern societies (think the demise of the blessing of “Sa7a!” in favor of its more religious counterpart), so too, seemingly, does the debauchery. 

Not only are cases of harassment increasing, but they are increasing on Eid, a religious occasion.

It’s almost as though men have an adverse reaction to being pious: either they break out in hives or they simply must pinch the nearest bottom. 

Control yourselves, menfolk. Because God sees and notes everything.

Yup – everything.

2 comments on “Feast, Be Merry… But Keep Your Hands Off

  1. kinziblogs
    December 2, 2009

    Muhaha, indeed He does.

    I quite like Jesus Christs’ comment that any man who looks after a woman with lust has committed adultery. Sort of cuts to the chase, He knew what it feels like for us to be visually raped.

    Had a guy ask me how much I cost while I walked with my daughter to the dukaan last week, while I was holding my daughter’s hand. At least he didn’t touch me.

    • Layla
      December 2, 2009

      Jeez, do such men know no shame?

      If I had a pound for every time I exclaimed ‘Haram aleik!” I would have a collection of shoes beyond my wildest dreams. 🙂

      Ha! Love the quip – it is utterly correct. Now, if only both genders could grasp its veracity…

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2009 by in Africa, Egypt, Middle East, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , .
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