Sexual harassment: the thin line between responsibility and victimhood


It is apparently much better when the internet is broke by a hashtag under ME TOO than Kim Kardashian buttocks. However, I cannot but stop on one observation that may defy for good my feminist side, if I have any.
Before I put out my perspective on the issue of sexual harassment, I have to make a straight point that is not negotiable; women all over the universe face sexual harassment on different levels that include direct, cultural and structural levels by each passing moment. There are places where women are degraded and live in a deteriorating position within the concept of human scale. The rape, the assault, the forced marriage, physical and mental abuse are forms of harassment that are visible and invisible as well. There are women around this globe who cannot stand up for their rights and can barely exist . in places like Saudi Arabia when women allowed driving becomes the headline of the century, when in places like India women face constant gang rapes, and when in places like Egypt, a woman can be harassed in public for just walking, and can be threatened years to follow for standing up to her offender. In places like Palestine and Jordan, when women are killed on honor killing counts, and the killer always gets away . in Palestine , when the best case of public disclosure can get us to a case like Niveen Awawdeh, who was killed after exposing a corruption file and after pressure the claimed criminal ( who is definitely false) came out and the case turned into a tribal exchange of gold and camels. The woman’s murder went unresolved, and the criminals are out there and were probably eating the meat that was served in the reconciliation of the families ( the killer family and the victim’s family) . for the sarcasm of this scene, the victim posted several times about her family who has excommunicated her, and she did not want. As a result, any relation what so ever with them, because they were part of the injustice that befell on her.
Sexual harassment remains an important issue that reflects the imbalance of patriarchal structures, and the campaign that started as a result of the Hollywood female stars coming out, only proves that patriarchal structure is global. It is not blended in the eastern cultures only.
But then I cannot but stop in the place that made me wonder . are women victims all the way . are men guilty all the way?
When a Hollywood actress comes out, or when a woman accuses a president or a politician, are these women weak?
A woman who can get into the pants of a president or a politician is not just a woman trying to walk to her work in Cairo or a schoolgirl in India or an Algerian youth in the abandoned regions of the desert.
The ambitious women who reached the stars went through a lot of challenges in the producers like men to achieve what they achieved today.
Does this mean that it is ok to be harassed or raped, if I was ambitious, or my boss would fire me or make y life miserable if I resist his sick needs? The answer is also of course no.
But the word no should be from the first moment. The moment the female feels wrong . she should step out in such cases.
What makes these perverts or sick creature flourish is the silence of women . in any case it is the silence of ambitious women.
These are the places when a woman can scream out and say no. If women who are educated, liberal, and fight for their equal lives are silence when they are sexually attacked, what can women in unprivileged situations do?
The responsibility that befalls on women that are coming out starts from the first moment. Am I ready to jeopardize an opportunity, a job, a dream? If am not, then I am part of the responsibility in a way. There are many women out there, as well as men, who never jeopardize their moral values n certain things . when it comes to the intimacy of the body and our limits in what we perceive as value.
I sadly spell this out, as I confess that I feel responsible as woman to cover up on women’s abuse to their bodies, and representing us as sex objects to men . women got used to this role of seduction, of getting their way through a sex game they know they have some control of, in catching a man whom they want .
I am not blaming women here as a definite end. I am not even blaming, but I am taking my share of responsibility as a woman.
As a woman, I have continuously been in situations that can be considered sexual harassment . in the environment of the east, with men macho ego walking before them, just being a woman can invite a lot of misinterpretation to what you want from a man . but yet I never let a man get away with his deed . I made sure each time to speak about it. At the same time, I confess I always wanted to make it on a low profile of not getting to a level of making a scandal ( I mean work environment here ).
And there were times when I put myself in wrong situations, when I sent messages of likeness and readiness, because I wanted what this man represented, whether he was a man of politics or a man of intellectuality , and each time things were about to go wrong, or more clearly to go not to what I wanted , I hold myself responsible, because it was not a pure act of innocence from my side. We, women, know when men wish to something else. So we decide in advance if we want to go a step towards his intentions or not. This is the responsibility I mean.
The sexual harassment case was remains one of the most crucial situations in women’s lives across the globe. Women in most of the cases are victims, and they cannot do anything about it . in places like Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, and in conflicted areas with wars and struggles. Women suffer mostly. But with each time a woman claims she has a power of her own life, her freedom. Being silent on sexual harassment when it happens is responsibility.


  1. Thank you. I fully agree with you. I guess it’s better to speak out some time than never. But, I was never one who played the game. In my young 20’s I found myself in a couple of positions and I said “no!” firmly. Also, in one position, I was warned by another woman about a man. Not to say, I did not put myself in some bad positions, but I take responsibility for my bad judgment. Mothers need to raise their daughters to be strong, mentally and physically. And every society needs to put sex and sexual relationships in another position. A position of privacy, respect, virtue, and morality.

Leave a Reply