The Reality of Sexual Harassment: How bad do Women Really Have it?

The harsh reality of sexual harassment is often disturbing to those who do not experience it on a regular basis. When women take over a group discussion to talk about their many harassment incidents, a lot of men just stare blankly. They knew harassment was a thing and that women experience it regularly, but a lot may not realize the extent of it.

So what do women put up with and how bad is the reality of sexual harassment? 

Well to cut to the chase and be frank, it’s bad. Really really bad, to the point that it has completely taken over women’s lives and the fear of getting harassed has integrated itself into each and every one of their decisions. 

The Egyptian woman, like any other woman, usually strives to look great and dress in a way that leaves her confident and feeling beautiful, but unfortunately she can’t always do that. Many of her favorite outfits sit at the back of her closet, waiting to be worn. Instead they just sit there collecting dust because they are deemed too inappropriate, too tight, too short, or too exposing to wear out in Egypt. 

Even when heading to a place where she feels comfortable enough to wear something that is regarded as “revealing” in society’s standards, she still has to find her biggest scarf to wear over it to ensure her safety while commuting. 

Pretty heels become something only worn for occasions, as she has been taught to always wear shoes she can easily run in, and avoid tight skirts or anything that may restrict her movement or make her an easy target.

The scarf slowly works its way into her everyday outfits as a shield from their scary stares and demeaning comments. Even in the scorching heat when they’re in their tank tops and shorts, she sits there burning up under her scarf.

The second a little girl’s body starts to develop, her parents start to tell her to no longer wear her favorite short dresses, skirts, and tank tops as they become no longer acceptable for her to wear due to her evolving body. So from the young age of 13, the little girl is already sexualized and told to hide her body. It becomes embedded into her brain to hide your body, don’t walk with your hips, and don’t laugh too loud.

The young girl grows up cautious and scared of her femininity as she sees it to be a dreadful thing that will cause trouble and affect her entire life. 

She grows up wishing she could go for midnight walks like her brother, but she knows that she can’t because it may result in her being harassed or raped and, in extreme cases, dead. She knows she can’t listen to music too loudly while walking down an empty street because she needs to be aware of any footsteps following her. 

She knows that when walking home she only has two choices. Either walk down the busy street and put up with the many many catcalls and suggestive comments from men, or walk down the empty one and risk someone physically harassing her, because he knows there is no one there to stop him.

She pretends she’s on the phone having an angry discussion so no one dares approach her. She walks with her keys in her hands to defend herself from any attacks. She watches any self-defense video she stumbles upon to learn a trick or two in case someone attacks her. She is always ready to attack.

Every single aspect of her life has been impacted by this fear of harassment and this fear of scary men. 

When choosing a seat on the bus, she scans her options, hoping to find a woman with an empty seat next to her so she feels safer while on her commute. And if a man comes and sits next to her, she glues herself to the window, hoping that he will stay on his side and his thighs and shoulders won’t touch hers.

She’s scared but she’s brave. She’s been raised to defend herself. She’s been taught to be strong and not let anyone sense her fear.

It’s not right but unfortunately, it’s necessary. 

WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss…We See You, We Hear You, We Believe You: How To Emotionally Recover After Harassment!