UPDATE: Hi all, Ros here. just a reminder that this isn’t a discussion about sharia law or Islam. It’s about how men react to women, and how much of that reaction they can control. The Sudan story is just the starting point. Thanks.
Whipped for indecency – a well-known female journalist in Sudan is facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers. She was one of 13 women arrested last week for wearing trousers, those who pleaded guilty were given 10 lashes there and then. Here’s what Zoulcoum X, an unimpressed university student in Khartoum had to say on this. In this morning’s meeting, we got talking about why it is that women have to adapt their ways to protect men from themselves. Shaimaa shared her story about a similar experience in Doha.
She was cautioned by a policeman for wear a sleeveless top and jeans. She found the ticking off really humiliating. He threatened to take her down to the police station if she was caught dressing in such a way again.
I remember being told by a man in Morocco to cover up in the evening (I was wearing a knee length summer dress) . That really wound me up but I responded by throwing on a pair of jeans – I was actually afraid of what might happen to me if I didn’t!
A woman on our Burqa show just over a week ago said she wore the niqab because it was good for society. She considered covering up to be a precautionary measure against inappropriate male behaviour. Why is it the woman who has to take the precautionary measure?
In 2008 Italy overturned a rulingthat a woman wearing jeans could not be raped (too tight to get off single handedly apparently). And who can forget Silvio Berlusconi’s remarks earlier this year about pretty women needing protecting from rape. Is it really men who need protecting and that too from themselves?
Hi, it’s Shaimaa here. Have a look at some of the comments that came to us through the BBC interactive desk. Abba in N’Djamena says it all in my view.
Nana in Accra says,
“It’s a shame that women in the 21st Century are still being suppressed,no matter the circumstance and or law they live under or the country they live in. As a Ghanaian, I am angered to read of such horrific treatments mended out to women, when in my country, women now speak and men listen.”
And this came from Mim in Sudan
” If you walk on the streets wearing trousers, you feel like you are walking naked, the harassment and the remarks alone are terrifying.”
And Abba wrote from in N’Djamena to say,
“Islam does not forbid the wearing of trousers but only thing it should not be sexy that to attract the men desire.”
Picking up from Mim’s comment I find that all too familiar. I’m Egyptian and as I told some of my colleagues at WHYS when I go to visit, I wear my ‘Egyptian gear’ a bunch of plain clothes that don’t necessarily represent my style or how I would like to dress at all but that would get me the least attention.. well harassment for that matter.
Krupa mentioned one of many many incidents I had to face with this issue but one that really sticks to mind is me going home one day furious that this guy tried to assault me only to be met by my mother’s reaction. “Well, look what you’re wearing!” I was wearing a pair of jeans and a top.
I respect that this is a female perspective. What about the male perspective? Are we missing something? Do you guys really need protection from your own desires?
T makes an interesting comment below: “… if more men were rape survivors, I guarantee that men’s attitude about rape and guys-being-guys would change overnight.”
Not to take it as far as rape but if more men were harassed the same way as women would that change their attitude?