Speaking of sexual harassment in the region – good for you, ladies

Just saw this BBC story about fighting, quite literally, sexual harassment in Egypt. Could not be more impressed. Karate is a good step forward, and this sort of thing makes me want to re-inroll in tae kwan do here in Amman. Of course, some attackers escalate to violence when the woman pushes back, we all know this. It happened to me when I was a child and unable to defend myself, but I do not regret saying “no” at the time, though it has taken me a while to recognize my “no” as something important; it was defiance that not even my attacker could negate, even though he probably came close to actually killing me.

I don’t think there are any easy choices one can make when one is attacked. Each situation is compounded by specific factors, and in each one, you must make a split-second decision that can change the entire outcome. This is something I will never get tired of repeating on this blog – one of the worst things about being attacked is that you can never do anything right, according to society. If you acquiesced, it means you should have fought harder. If you fought, you should have acquiesced.

But being able to fight back is important regardless of outcome. Until global society begins to recognize these occurences as profoundly wrong, as opposed to something that women “like” or else “invite,” our level of safety will not significantly increase. My philosophy, inasmuch as I am prepared to have a philosophy on this one, is that we need to take what we can get. This is why I’m down with dusting off that martial arts uniform.

15 thoughts on “Speaking of sexual harassment in the region – good for you, ladies

  1. While we are in Korea we want to enroll out daughter in tae kwan do, mostly b/c she asked, but also b/c of things like this.

    Sadly, I have to think about a world where she might actually be attacked, and I want her have have something in her arsenal that gives her options. I don’t ever want her to acquiesce.

    I hate that we live in a world where women have to think about those things and take those precautions, but I am grateful that we have the opportunities to do so.

  2. Always better to know how to defend yourself! Mad congrats to these ladies! You’re right, no matter what the outcome, society tends to make women second guess what to do when threatened. I took karate for a few years when I was a teen, and my teacher also taught self-defense classes strictly for women on the side. He said the biggest thing he had to teach women was to just DO IT – don’t care if you’re being nice, or if you misunderstood the attack, or whatever. Go for the eyes. Take out an eye and they’ll leave you alone, explain yourself later. 😉

  3. O just be sure you are not around when police comes. Cause this types are quick to call for help. I knew a woman in Dubai, who was once grabbed by a male while she was using a public phone. She snapped and hit him once in a head with the phone. He run a way she thought the incident was over. He brought police. She was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for violence and deportation. Apparently him touching her was not a justifiable reason for her to start a fight. For real. May be it is better in Jordan though.

  4. Marina, I find that in some situations, this sort of thing depends on status, as sad as it is. Who has the better connections – the victim or the perpetrator? That’s what it comes down to.

  5. Nop he didn’t have connections – low paid indian builder. They were genuinely horrified that woman can hit a guy for berely taching her. I think there was also a bit of blood on his head, which made it look worst.
    But you are right. If he was, for example, local minor, then she might have also been sentenced for perverting him into sin with her woman charms and body (this is not a jock). And she would have spent longer time in prison.
    Although alternatively, if she had husband like you, he could have clamed her out of prison as his property and they would have been obligated to let her go. A big bribe also often solves problems ofcause there 🙂

  6. Well about groping her it was her word against his, where as she did confirm that she hit him. It is not that easy.
    For example relatively recent story that someone I know witnessed: German couple went on holiday to dubai. While they were on the beach, a local teenager started raping her in broad day light in front of lots of people. Obviously they fought him off, but were foolish enough to go and report it. He was caught. Guess what. Nothing happened to him cause he is underage and he went home. She went to prison for seducing him and for living with a male she wasn’t related to (boyfriend) in a same room. Two sentences – for nothing. Boyfriend almost went mad trying to understand what was going on. At the end noone could help her.

  7. Marina, it’s generally acknowledged that some of the locals can do no wrong – they are more readily believed. A foreigner grabbing a woman, however, that comes under scrutiny these days.

  8. The best response is to keep up with your martial arts training. If you haven’t started, find a class. Once started, keep progressing till the art is part of you; instinctive and natural.

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