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Over the past two weeks, Egyptian women have been speaking up about sexual harassment and the need to change the social behaviors and rape culture evident in Egypt. While the patriarchal society still supports men, objectifies women, and gives them permission to treat us as inferiors, social media has started a battle hoping for change.
With sexual harassment being a trending topic, Nora Aly took to her Facebook account to ask women to leave a comment using emojis if they’ve been sexually or verbally harassed.
By just looking at the above status, you can see how many women have been exposed to sexual abuse, harassment, and have it rough EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The comments are not only heartbreaking but show how common rape culture is in Egypt and how it NEEDS to be changed.
While this has given women the courage to speak up about their tragic and traumatic experiences that occur on a daily basis in Egypt, some Egyptian men have started to feel the need to support women and to make Egypt a safer place.
Mohammed Rizkallah, an Egyptian educator took to his social media to reach out to Egyptian women to try to understand how he, as a male figure and educator, can help prevent the struggles that women go through every day.
Below, you’ll find his status and the insightful comments from Egyptian women indicating what needs to be changed.
According to the comments, here are a few things that men can do to support Egyptian women and change the social behaviors that lead to rape culture in Egypt:
- Educate men/little boys about what makes a community, the role of women, their roles towards women, what respect, honesty, and empathy are, and what makes a real man.
- Raise awareness about the importance of consent. While schools should start dedicating time to explaining appropriate behavior, consent, and harassment, make sure you educate those around you on how to behave with women.
- Stand up to your friends when they shame and objectify girls or share nudes and/or intimate details just to brag.
- Do not turn a blind eye as you walk by a woman being harassed in the streets. Stand up to the harasser and make them know this behavior is unacceptable.
- Share your opinion amongst your community and do your part in changing the rape culture within your circle.
- Be vocal, active, and call people out when they’re being abusive whether physically or mentally.
- Listen to the women around you, hear their concerns, and believe them. Don’t try to justify the reaction of a male or belittle the situation just because it’s been done numerous times before.
- Be a comfort zone rather than a male figure they fear.
Treat women right:
- Do not give females any special or extra attention.
- Always put yourself in a woman’s shoes.
- Do not objectify women and allow yourself to judge them based on their appearances.
Change useless habits:
- Do not joke about harassment or take the matter lightly.
- Do not use rape metaphors or curses using female or female genitalia references.
- Accept your masculinity as a form of love and protection, rather than entitlement.
- Do not accept or be part of the patriarchal system and defend women’s rights whenever possible.
- Stop victim blaming or making excuses for why a female could have gotten harassed.
There are many insightful comments and ideas that you can continue to read about in the status above and while those are things that can be done by male figures in our community, there’s a lot that should be done in terms of education, raising children, spreading awareness about gender role and consent, and changing the patriarchal system.
Further reading: How NOT to Raise an Egyptian Son