Wednesday, November 16, 2022




Raseef22, a liberal Arab site with an English section, has a series of articles that describe how badly women are treated in Arab countries, today.

Some excerpts.

Do we have to be superheroes to be safe and protected? The answer is absolutely no. I'm not Superwoman, and I don't want to be her.

I am an ordinary woman with simple dreams, like living in a safe world, and not being subjected to harassment, rape, or physical violence — dreams of not being told by a man at a demonstration, “Ladies, to the back!”, and dreams that a soldier would not be told, “Consider her your sister”, as a means to stop him from beating a female protester — dreams of a man not thinking of my physical safety as his personal mission, turning my body into the scene of a conflict between two men, without a role for me in it.

My wishes as a Lebanese woman are not confined to the geographical spot that I live in. As a Lebanese woman, I search for my wishes in Syria as well, where physical safety would mean thousands of Syrian women not being subjected to all known forms of gender-based violence and torture in the Assad regime’s prisons or during direct military operations, and that Jaysh al-Islam will not kidnap the two human rights defenders, Razan Zaitouneh and Samira al-Khalil, whose fates remain unknown to this day.

My wishes as a Lebanese woman are also in Egypt, where physical safety means individual and collective harassment will not take place, that female demonstrators won't go through virginity testing after being arrested, that Nayera Ashraf and other women will not be killed for refusing marriage proposals from their murderers, that the trans woman Malak al-Kashef will not be put in a men’s prison, and that Sarah Hegazi will not be electrocuted during her imprisonment — that she wouldn't be imprisoned in the first place under the offense that she was brave enough to declare that no system, society, or family had authority over her body.
My wishes are in Tunisia, where physical safety means that women farmers can go to work every day without being run over, killing at least one woman daily due to the poor road conditions. As for the most fortunate ones — the ones that do not get run over — they only receive one-third of what a man earns without being recognized by the state as part of the working-class and worthy of social security and decent wages.

Gaza:

 "While my father was threatening to kill, torture, and imprison me, the head of the women's protection organization told me: 'Your father loves you and wants the best for you. Do not embarrass your grandfather and uncle. Go back to your family!" This story is only one of hundreds of stories that Gaza's women and daughters live on an almost daily basis, when they are subjected to violence, threats, and torture, and that may sometimes lead to murder. Then, clans, families, and local chiefs intervene and the whole thing is resolved in a session called "an Arab sit-down and a cup of coffee”!

As her voice trembled over the phone, F. S. told me that she wouldn't talk for too long, for fear of being caught by a family member making a suspicious phone call. She says, "I've always dreamed of being a guitarist, and sometimes I imagined myself at a rock and roll concert holding an electric guitar and shaking up the place with my music and singing."

The story began when F. S. went out and actually bought a guitar. As soon as she entered the house, her older brother smashed it to pieces before she could even take it out of its box, and addressed his father, saying, "Goodness, this is just what we needed! A whore in our house." In response, the father gave her several violent punches that ended up putting her in a coma.

Jordan:

 Witnesses in this report speak to Raseef22 about the judges’ lack of sympathy for women and lack of understanding for their daily life requirements . They clearly point out that some of the judges make judgements on women based on their presence and appearance. Unveiled women may be met with a grim face and many have been asked by the judge to leave and not return to the courtroom without a headscarf on. Moreover, many sharia judges are not even convinced of a woman’s right to guardianship over herself, let alone over her children.

Unveiled women may be met with a grim face and many have been asked by the judge to leave and not return to the courtroom without a headscarf on.

Extortion, stalling , trickery, allegations of defamation, threats to withdraw custody, hacking phones, and a great deal of lies... These are some of the methods that men use based on the advice of lawyers who recognize the power that men have, and recognize the weakness of the sharia mindset towards women.

Egypt, several stories like this:

“I was verbally harassed by a driver, and I called the police after I filmed the harasser. He tried to escape, but I stopped him. On the way to the police station, they forced me to ride inside a ‘box’ car next to the harasser. One of them began talking to me and I don't know his rank because he was wearing civilian clothes, and he said to me: 'If you file a report, you will stay in the station overnight'.”

This is what happened with Maryam Samir, a student at the Faculty of Engineering, in 2022. As for the rest of her story, she tells Raseef22, “Following a long series of brotherly advice to not file a (police) report, he accused me of being stubborn, and as soon as we arrived, I found all the police officers advising me to leave and just be satisfied with the fear and horror the harasser has experienced so far!”

She continues, “After exchanging cigarettes between the offender and the officers, the policemen suddenly turned against me and they kicked my sister out of the station, handed her my bag and phone, and addressed me by saying: 'We have been talking to you for hours, we do not work for you, if you are 'queer', we will write up a report against you and throw you in detention. You are still a young girl. A harassment report will ruin your reputation.”

Maryam, who filed a report under No. 4,291, at the Mansoura Police Station, was suddenly turned into an accused suspect. She says, “After many hours had passed, I was surprised that a report was filed against me accusing me of insulting, swearing, and slandering. And at dawn I had to abandon my report and go back home defeated”.



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