I was almost 16. I needed help for my physics class since I was not understanding a basic concept. A friend of my dad volunteered, he is a physics teacher in some school. He sat next to me on the dining room table and started explaining whatever while my parents were sitting on the couch, not more then 10 meters further.
Some time later, I felt heat on my tights. At first, I was wondering what the hell was that. I think it was the shock, it took me some time to realize. I jumped and told him to fuck off and not to make me see his face. He was like: you are the age of my daughter, i only meant it in a friendly way! This is how I treat my daughter.
I just hope he did not really meant it, that it was a sentence he uttered to make me calm down! I made sure my parents did not notice a thing. It did not stop here: a few days later, he gave me a call: – “hi 3ammo, I wanna pass by for coffee” – “no, no one is home” -”i know, I want to see you” – “i don’t think so” A few min later, he starts knocking on the door. I lock it and tell him to stay away. I felt terrified and started crying.
I would try not to bump into him, but every time I did he kept on trying to talk to me, saying things like: “you look gorgeous”, or “nice new perfume”. It was gross!! He got his son one day and was like: look he is your age! So what if your son is my age!!??? really!!
Six weeks back, he came back with his son. He wanted to introduce me to him. As if I will ever consider even talking to someone related to him. And his actions, as if he was just some random person who can act normally around me drives me crazy! How does he even think it is appropriate to try and talk to me?
Every day, I regret that I did not talk. I heard the school complained about him. I can’t say this experience traumatized me, but I think how many girls did my silence affect? If he tried to touch me, he definitely tried to touch tons of other girls! What kills me is that my silence kept people in the dark about who he really is, people who helped him keep his job next to teenage girls.
My silence also allowed him to come back, and back, and back until now 12 years later. My silence allowed him to think it was ok. My silence allowed him to think that he can get away. My silence allowed him to think he can act normally around me. But that is not ok.
He must feel the wrong of his actions. And be stopped. And why did I not talk. Even at 16 I had a strong personality, I was comfortable with my body and knew that sexuality was ok, I knew that if someone touches me it is not because of me but him, I knew he was wrong and I have nothing to feel guilty about.
And I shut up! My mum felt something was wrong and asked me if he did something inappropriate. And I shut up! Truth is, when that happened, I was very much aware of issues of sexual harassment because my neighbor was touched by her brother’s friend, in her house too. I knew it was wrong, and I shut up!
If I did not talk, how to expect anyone to? And why did I not talk? It was about me not daring to challenge the system. Not daring to tell my parents something that will deeply hurt them. Especially in a conservative society that puts so much importance on so called ‘bodily integrity’.
To all the other girls: speak up because speaking up can change things. I have a friend who says that speaking about controversial issues is not a good idea because you can’t change the world. It can’t change the world but in the case of that 3ammo I could have changed a few things thing. I could have had him stop. And it would have made a difference to a lot of girls.
I could have challenge his feeling of invincibility. Men harass women because they can, full stop. So speak up! Most people, think they can protect their girls if they monitor the hours they go out at and who they are going with. This is not true. You protect girls when you talk about it, so speak up! all of you: mums, dads, grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters… and do not let it be a taboo.
Today I speak up on a daily basis. I do not shut up on controversial issues. I try to be there to every person I can. This can seem radical to some people. This can seem immature or idealist.
But I will tell you something: This is the right thing to do. Because you might not change the world but you change tiny parts. Or sometimes just shock. But even this shock makes some people think. And change attitude. And recognize the presence of other opinions. Sometimes it works and often not, but it is definitely worth it!
Submitted by pinkchiwawa
Location: at home, Beirut
Time of harassment: 16-20: Afternoon Rush Hour / العصر
Do you have a personal experience with sexual harassment or assault you would like to share? Please click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.
هل لديك تجربة شخصية مع التحرش الجنسي أو الاعتداء تريد مشاركته ؟ الرجاء الضغط هنا وملء استمارة التقديم على الانترنت. وتنشر جميع التقارير مجهول ما لم تحدده