Writer: Maram Mohammed
Rude sexual remarks made by men passing women on the street, workplace, or any public space, usually about a woman’s body or certain features.
The UN Entity of Gender Equality stated that 95.5% of Egyptian women experienced a form of verbal sexual harassment, which means that almost every woman has been catcalled at least once in her lifetime. And most women have to go through it minimally once a day. Try to imagine how uncomfortable it must be to get unwanted, negative attention every single time you step out of your house. Imagine getting catcalled every single day, and not speaking up about it because no one will help you out anyway, because it has been imbedded into girls’ minds that it’s normal for men to verbally harass them, that it is only natural. That if she voiced her disturbance, the consequences will consist of her humiliation, victim blaming and retaliation.
The question here is, why is it only natural? When did it become only natural? On what basis did we choose to identify it as a natural instinct that a male has? Perhaps, we should have mentioned that it is a result of non-existent parenting or zero morals taught.
Why is it such a hard task to teach our boys to respect a woman’s body, instead of teaching our girls not to complain about getting harassed? Why do we choose to justify our boys’ actions instead of teaching them what’s right? The most disappointing part is that these wicked teachings are hereditary, or are passed down from one generation to another.
A girl is taught not to complain, so she teaches her daughter the same. A boy learns that catcalling is a natural instinct, so he teaches his son the same. In fact, in a survey conducted by UN women and Promundo, a Brazilian organization campaigning for gender equality, it was revealed that about 43 percent of men in Egypt believe that women like the attention and admire being sexually harassed. Moreover, 71 percent of Moroccan men agree with this theory.
And, according to a report that interviewed about 10,000 people from the Middle East, both men and women, the vast majority of the surveyed men blame women for sexual harassment.
The only sensible response for the results of that survey is bullshit. How in the world could a woman enjoy being harassed and utterly disrespected? For her sacred features to be talked about so openly and sexually without her consent? Why are women blamed for something a man consciously does!?
Now, while some may say that catcalling shouldn’t be taken this seriously since it is only ‘verbal’ and that a woman should just move on and get over it, a lot of social issues are a thing now because catcalling isn’t being taken seriously. People now rape and molest women walking down the street or in a workplace because the base of the problem was ignored. If strict laws were enforced on those who catcall, no one will have the audacity to advance his/her ‘techniques’ to raping or molesting another human whether it be a female or a male.
In conclusion, why don’t we start calling men out for catcalling and force them to stop instead of asking women to shut up and quit making a fuss?