Does it take more than murder for the authorities and the people to notice? Sexual harassment has been a huge issue in Kuwait for a long time. Women are sick of it, and are actively trying to make a change through the “lan asket” campaign, which translates to “I will not be silenced.” Farah Hamza’s name has made headlines in Kuwait, a case of harassment that escalated to murder, sparking a national mourning for the victim throughout Kuwait in the last couple of days.
Kuwait’s #Me_Too movement started when the Kuwaiti blogger, Ascia Al-Faraj spoke about her experience in being sexually harassed in Kuwait. Dr. Shayma Shamo then created the Instagram page “lan asket,” which helps spread awareness about what harassment is, and women are sharing their stories and support each other through it. Harassment in Kuwait towards women take place in the streets, shopping malls, stores, while they’re driving in their cars, and it seems almost all places are unescapable.
The Instagram page, which is also a circulating hashtag, are for all women of Kuwait. The movement aims to help women speak up about the abuse they’re experiencing and the injustice behind it. Additionally, Dr. Shamo is working with a team of developers, activists, and lawyers to build an application which helps victims of sexual harassment report their incidents to the police, due to no laws in Kuwait being set in place for sexual harassment.
Murder of Sabah El Salam
Women of Kuwait were enraged even more when a man harassed Farah, then murdered her. Farah Hamza was harassed for over a year by the same man, and filed two police complaints against him. The authorities caught him and put him in jail. However, once he was out on bail, he attacked her and murdered her. He stabbed Farah in front of two kids, in which one was her own child, and the other her sister’s. Unfortunately, the two reports and him getting caught were not enough to protect her. The authorities released him, and Farah paid the price with her life.
Unquestionably, the people of Kuwait have been in a complete rage, specifically women. On social media, two hashtags have circulated: “Azaa’ El Nesaa,” meaning “funeral of women” on Twitter, and “the murder of Sabah Al Salem.” The women, dressed in all black, are mourning the death of Farah Hamza, in hope of getting their voices heard by the authorities.
There is no telling when this will end. Women of Kuwait have been relentless with their campaign and filing reports, but so long as there are no strict laws for harassment, not much change can be made. In hope of protecting each other and getting heard, they all wear black for Farah, and hope they aren’t next.