Speaking of Sexual Harassment: Noha makes Egyptians proud!
Date posted: October 24, 2008
In an unprecedented case, sexual harasser Sherif Gommaa was sentenced to three years behind bars, hard labour, and was also ordered to pay 5,001 Egyptian pounds fine to Noha Roshdy Saleh for groping her in the street. Zeinobia celebrated the court ruling saying that Noha's victory is Laila's victory:
Today there was a historical court order against Sexual harassment in Egypt , a victory to Laila, a victory to all women in Egypt. Noha Roshdy was sexually harassed by Sharif Gabril from couple of months and for the first time she was determinant to bring her harasser in front of justice to pay for his crime , it is crime. Noha stood bravely on behalf of all the girls and women in Egypt. The Sexual harasser Gabril took 3 years in jail and this considered the first court rule in the history for the first time in Egypt.
On the secrecy of the trial Zenobia wrote:
The judge made the trial a secret trial which means no one except the involved parties attended the trial despite that the family of the harasser and the friends of Noha attended the historical trial. Of course the family of the harasser defended their son and accused Noha as if they do not have a girl , saying that they are from the country side with morals that do not permit them to act like this !! And Noha the rude city girl said the word “boobs” in the police reports !! No good girl should stay this word !! Let them say what they want !!
As I previously written, many Egyptian women who get harassed choose silence and many harassers blame it on women's dress code and attire. Zeinobia comments by saying:
Of course it is still long road but Noha ,the brave Laila. To break the silence and taboo , it is not a shame to report sexual harassment , the real shame is to shut up. Prophet Mohamed ‘PBUH’ once said : The one who does not show or does not speak about the truth is a silent devil . The person who sees a sexual harassment incident in front of his eyes and does not report or even it try to stop it is a silent devil.If we are real religious society that follows the Sunna then why we do not follow this important rule. The girl or the woman who fears to report the harassment incident is a silent devil because may be she survived a sexual harassment but another sister of her can be a victim of rape from the same person if he is not stopped. The father or family who does not support her daughter to take her right think that it is sort of shame to open this taboo because it is a stain ,they are a family of devil. Do not be a silent devil.
Zeinobia also touched base on how harassment victims are mistreated and further harassed by the police:
The police will take it seriously if they find people are taking seriously. By the way there is an investigation in the interior ministry about the disgraceful treatment Noha received in the police station.
Fantasia's World also wrote about Noha's case:
Yesterday, I read about a brave girl from upper Egypt called Bikhyta, who was attacked by a wolf and kept struggling with it for 3 hours, during which she lost 2 of her fingers.. yet in the end, Bikhyta was able to slay the wolf.. all on her own.
Speaking of the human wolf, Fantasia wrote:
He took it for granted that Noha will be lucky if she just managed to escape a nervous breakdown. He assumed that the best she could do is rise up and continue her walk home, carrying all the shame and pain, and probably going to the first pillow to weep. It never crossed his mind that Noha is not that kind of girl. To his amazement, he found Noha rising up like a tigress, chasing his truck, and jumping over the driver's cabin to force him to pull off and get out. She succeeded! And she held him by the collar determined to take him to the police station to charge him of sexually harassing her.
Most Egyptian girls are not encouraged to speak up or to report such incidents for fear of scandals and public shame:
Imagine that the harasser himself, the truck driver, thought Noha was crazy! He couldn't understand why a girl would jeopardize her life in such a way just to get hold of someone who grabbed her breasts! See? That's what we were talking about girls.. your passiveness in dealing with harassment caused you to be taken for granted in such a humiliating way! The good old wisdom of laissez-passer proved to be not good, huh. That's the way you are viewed by harassers out there.. for them, you are not the polite girl who couldn't get herself to face her attacker because she is a shy cute virgin! You are just a whore who has to shut up after being sexually assaulted. That's who you are.
Passiveness has hit the streets of Cairo:
Noha's shock did not stop there.. For, of course a crowd quickly gathered out of curiosity to see what all the screaming was about. Some of them had witnessed the incident from the start. Yet, Noha says: "Some of them tried helping the driver get back into his truck to flee.. Some tried calming me down by saying that they will make him apologize, and when I refused taking an apology, trying in vain to get them to see the crime he committed, they didn't understand why I was so determined to take to the police station and called me crazy. One of them even told me 'I don't understand what a girl like you is doing, standing her with men!' While others kept watching from their balconies without even caring to offer any help." You may wonder, were there not any women on the street at the time?.. Well, according to Noha, only one woman volunteered to help her.. and her way of help was as follows: She said to Noha, "Never mind my girl, let him go, just don't humiliate yourself like that!"
At the end of her post, Fantasia wonders:
I'What kind of society are we living in?! Are those normal people? Or were they all subjected to some kind of mysterious gas that caused them to lose their minds? Seriously, it seems that our society is suffering from mass hysteria! People are sick in a disgusting way! Have they lost any trace of common sense! Do they stand there blaming the victim for wanting to claim her rights?.. Seriously??.. Are they helping the criminal to get away with his crime??.. Seriously??.. Is that the presumably Religious, Pious, Conservative society of ours?? Damn it! Yes, justice was served. But not all is well that ends well. In fact, this good ending is just a beginning which opened a tiny window unto a world of evil and ethical rot. For example.. I couldn't help boiling with anger at some of the comments posted by the readers on Al Masry Al Youm this morning. Some of them still blame women for being the cause of harassment!!.. Some of them refuse to admit that Noha is a human being and a citizen that has the right in a safe street!! Some of them can't see beyond Noha's hair!! As if this is what tempted the harasser to grab her breast, and not the fact that she is a female! They haven't learned anything.. They insist on compromising their humanity and degrading themselves to the level of animals. But even animals do not do this to one another! The image as it says that we have a serious problem in Egypt. A problem with the people, their minds, their psyche, their values, and the way they see matters. Something is very wrong with this country. We have to face it. Noha's case is only the beginning.. It gave us a peek into the darkness inside our souls as a society. Now, we have to see the disease that is eating up our moral system and causing us to fail miserably as human beings.
The blogosphere is celebrating Noha's victory. Facebook users created several groups hailing Noha's courage; All for Noha Roshdy(AR), Kolona Noha Roshdy (AR)(we are all Noha), Noha for President (AR) while other groups posted the verdict on their walls and sent congratulations messages to their members here (AR), here(AR), and here(AR).