“Voices for Egyptian Women” is among my favorite Facebook groups. Its members champion rights for women, and call attention to the destruction Islamism brings.
On August 24th, its supporters will (dare!) wear dresses and skirts (and–gasp!–show a little skin) in an attempt to make safe what is an increasingly hostile environment for them: Egyptian streets. The campaign is called “Hanilbis fesateen” which means “We shall wear dresses” in Arabic.
Having spent my summers in Egypt growing up and having interned there as a grad student, I know just how pervasive this problem is. Men scream obscenities at you from across the street, and assault you constantly. Their words alone are enough to make you feel soiled.
Lately, rape has been on the rise. Like the targeting of Christians, this story hasn’t gotten nearly enough press.
Rape often starts with a culture of sexual harassment. The objectification of women must cease, especially if Egypt is to embrace a free market economy. You can’t thrive if half of your population lives in fear of leaving home.
Enough is enough.
As is the case in the West, women in the Arab world should be able to dress however they please. It is up to men, not women, to control themselves. Each man is responsible for his own behavior. You can’t simultaneously claim that, as the men, you are physically and intellectually superior, and yet blame women when you refuse to control yourselves. Either you’re animals and we treat you that way or you’re fully developed adults and we treat you that way. It’s one or the other.
What’s more, if Islamist critics were right, then women who walk the streets of Cairo completely covered up in black wouldn’t be getting harassed.
Of course, they ARE. Always have been.
Don’t blame the victim. It’s so old.
Support this good cause by “liking” the Facebook page entitled “Voice of Egyptian Women” and reading the article about its goals below.