Do you think there is ever a legitimate reason for a man to harass a woman? Here in Cairo where women often get sexually harassed, the first question they are asked afterwards is usually “what were you wearing?” I can’t tell you how much this annoys me. Why does it matter what she was wearing? Why isn’t the first question “what has happened to our men for them to harass women like that?” or “did you report him” or even “are you okay”?
In my opinion, even a woman wearing a bikini or walking naked should not be blamed for getting harassed. We all have to wear long, shapeless clothing now apparently, and if we don’t then we are “asking for it”. I remember a cab driver in Cairo once saying that any girl who is not veiled deserves to get raped. When we have opinions like that, we’re in trouble.
Why is it always the woman who gets blamed? It’s always about what she was wearing or how she was walking. It’s never about how so many Muslim men now think it’s okay to harass women. I should think THAT would be a bigger issue. I completely agree with Asma Barlas when she writes,
“By defining women’s morality and safety in terms of their own dress codes, conservatives are legitimizing the kind of pathologies that are leading men to murder unveiled women in the name of Islam. How can Muslim men, if they are living by the Qur’an’s injunctions, feel free to kill or assault women; and how can we reconcile religious vigilantism with the irreducibly voluntary nature of faith and of moral responsibility in Islam?”
This is such an important question: how do Muslim men legitimize sexual harassment? By blaming the woman. But still, does that really convince them? It seems like an absurd argument to me. Also, does that give women the right to harass men who don’t cover? I mean, the Qur’an enjoins modesty on BOTH genders. But I’m pretty sure if woman started killing men who didn’t dress modestly we would hear a huge outcry.
A few years ago this poster came out:
It translates as “you can’t stop them, but you can protect yourself.” I don’t even know where to start with this ridiculous message. It reminds me of that Australian sheikh who said that unveiled women are like raw meat that will inevitably attract flies.
As Muslims we should focus less on what the woman is wearing and more on the lack of morals and decency found among a growing number of Muslim men.