.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Sunday, January 15, 2006

“This is the absolute worst place for a woman to travel alone,” she said. Men harrass me constantly. They hiss, stare, and make kissy noises."

Michael Totten's series on Egypt continues.


At 1/15/2006 09:06:00 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

I mean anyone that's traveled to Egypt knows that this a problem. It's fairly rampant all over the country and especially in areas that aren't that touristy. Traveling with my sister in Egypt was pretty challenging...you could feel all the eyes glaring...it's as if some people see hair and they feel obligated to stare in order to make that individual feel uncomfortable...there's no shame (or respect)

It's really unfortunate that this is the case. The rising Islamic tide in the country probably isn't helping either...just imagine if the tolerant, compassionate, and loving Muslim Brotherhood come into power...THEN WHAT?! Stares might turn into flogging.

At 1/15/2006 09:14:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

Most Egyptian Men....

Men see girls....Man gets dirty thoughts..Men wants girl.. Man cant control him self.. Therefore its girls fault.. The evil whore he will show her = she gets harassed, groped and propositioned..Cause you know Allah created us women to be covered and to hide under rags until daddy decides he wants you out of his house than you get tossed to the highest bidder..God I miss miss my Egyptian men....Fuckers ruined it for me... I could be living on my own.. Working a good job and doing incredibly well but no.. For fear of being killed I cant live alone in Egypt oh yeah I'd be a whore cause you know I don't have a man protector to control me.. Freakin aye...

At 1/16/2006 01:42:00 AM, Blogger GC said...

The more the veil and niqab spreads, the more women will be harrased (wether Egyptian or foreign). The problem is that when the men get only used to seeing veiled women, the more they consider anything unveiled as "inapprporiate". Thus, more women get veiled to avoid the harrasment, then the men get more horny, and so on.

At 1/16/2006 01:43:00 AM, Blogger GC said...

Another major issue for independent travelers in Egypt is the touts. Check out this guy's experience:


It's so typical, isn't it?

At 1/16/2006 08:14:00 AM, Blogger The Sphinx said...

Hey, I get harrassed for being a guy with long hair (It's not even that long, just reaches my chin). I get stared at, laughed at, pointed at, sometimes taunted, rarely insulted and on and on it goes. It's a f***ing nuisance.

Think I'll soon start blogging about the stuff that happened to me lately..

At 1/16/2006 09:02:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

Men in Egypt are getting more & more dirty minded. I remember my friends as teenagers in the eighties & they did many stuff i did not condone but nowadays i see kids who are as 11 or 12 year olds harrassing girls & women double their age & they are doing it without any hint of embarassment, other guys are proving that my friends were actually decent after all not to mention foolish geeks.
For all the men who do it & have sisters, be damn sure your sisters & mothers, aunts & cousins are being treated the same way, even if they are covered up & hardly go out, there is always, ALWAYS a way around it.
As for Sphinx, no need to sweat about it...i had the same problem but back in 90 so you can imagine what looks i got with only a very few number of us who had long hair, mine was realy more or less same length are yours, but you know what, all you have to do is ignore them completely, try to throw an ice face to whomever says anything as if they are the idiots, which they really are. Another thing i used to say whenever an idiot asked me why i left my hair so long ( it wasnt that long) so i would throw a question that puzzled them, why is it permissible for someone to call his beard Sunnah simply because the Prophet had one & not long hair too, which he did have aswell, not to mention 4 braided locks ( dafayer)? surely if he had a beard & long hair & someone chose one of them its not bad to choose the other option, right? try it & see what they answer you.

At 1/16/2006 09:22:00 AM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

I agree with Jokerman.. Just ask them something that makes them feel stupid..When ever a girl asks me why I don't cover.. I ask her why is she wearing make up. I point out how its haram to make their face more appealing to a man with her hair covered..Even though they looked like a clown to me.
Girl's even harass other girls in Egypt. My best friend and I almost got beat up in Maadi(supposedly one of the better places to live in Egypt) of all places by street girls calling us all kinds of names.. The only reason they left us alone was when we answered them back in Arabic and they went running. Egyptians are becoming more and more uncivilized. I don't mean all of them but the majority. After a while it won't get to you anymore.. It becomes a normal thing. I just don't ride the metro I won't even go in the ladies car after my necklace got robbed, I don't take a taxi unless I have at least two other girls or a guy with me and I don't go to places like Shoubra unless my Uncle or a grown man is with me..I would love to live in Egypt again but I probably would leave after a few months because of crap like that. I like being able to go places alone and take long walks by myself..Some of the luxuries most people cant enjoy in Egypt.

At 1/16/2006 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Egypeter said...

This situation REALLY REALLY sucks!!!

How embarassing is this?? It's a damn shame it has reached this point...women not being able to walk down the street without being harassed...not only by men BUT WOMEN also?! What the hell is happening to Egypt???!!! This was unthinkable in Egypt when my parents grew up in Alexandria in the fifties and sixties...how tragic, huh?

Next time I go to Egypt I'm gonna walk down the street naked in all my glory...and piss on anyone who says anything to me!


At 1/16/2006 10:12:00 AM, Anonymous Mohamed said...

You people are just hypocrites or just a bunch double standard schizoids, if anyone of you lives anywhere in the world outside Egypt,he or she will find that staring and commenting and whistling is as common everywhere as it is anywhere, if you sit in a coffee shop in SF and a girl enters, everyone's (almost everyone,you know SF) going to stare, have a comment, try to muster some courage to hit on her or rehearse in his mind a pick up line, so please really really spare me the this fake self righteousness this time.
Have anyone of you guys been to Italy? I need someone (a fair one) whose been to both Egypt and Italy and could have audacity to tell that women get more harrassed in the streets in Egypt than in Italy.

At 1/16/2006 10:21:00 AM, Blogger The Sphinx said...

Jokerman, at first I used to ignore every single comment, stare, everything. Nowadays I'm getting so pissed off that I start to send back a very icy stare, answer back to the comments, give some people the good ol' mid finger if they deserve it.

About the Prophet thing, that is actually my main argument against people who scoff at me. Why is it forbidden to have long hair, when he had long sleek hair that reached his shoulders? It makes absolutely no sense. As long as I'm not doing anything forbidden or morally unacceptable, I don't care about anything. And those who just don't like how it looks.. Well, that's a matter of taste, isn't it.

There was an incident that made me want to beat the crap out of somebody. And strangely enough, that somebody was female:
After a ride with the metro, getting stared at 132958 times in an hour and getting followed by some little loud-mouth kids, I was standing waiting for a taxi at el Manial, and there was a group of young people behind me. Suddenly somebody bumped against the bag I was carrying on my back. I looked back and saw this woman behind me so I thought it wasn't on purpose.
Once I found a taxi I waved to the driver and then this woman bumps into me again. I turned around and found her going back again, laughing. I knew it was a dirty trick, but the taxi stopped, so while I was telling the driver where I was going, the b**** bumped into me again.
I flew into a rage, shouting at her, and the people with her kept saying stuff like: "Hey, it's ok, don't be mad.. But there ARE barbers here though..".
I swore at them pretty badly (I didn't give a rat's arse that there were girls around), raised both middle fingers and got into the taxi. I've never been that furious in quite a long time.

If that taxi hadn't came, I'd have taught that b**** a lesson in manners, ranging from telling her off good to smashing her around the head with the bag I had with me.

I'm starting to hate this city.

At 1/16/2006 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Egypeter said...

You gotta be kidding Mohamed!!! Are you telling me that these claims of harassment are exagerated or that they simply don't happen?

I don't need YOU to tell me of MY experiences in Egypt, ok? I saw it and heard it with my own eyes and ears. I've said it before and I'll say it again...DENIAL ain't just a river in Egypt...it's what the average Arab on the street does, denial denial denial.

Let's see, I haven't been to Italy but I've been to France, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Ibiza to name a couple of places...I'm sorry to say Mohammed but walking the streets of Cairo and Alexandria the leering eyes, malicious comments and seething contempt are MORE present in Egypt than any of the countries I have visited...sorry dude, the truth hurts.

You seem to think a woman walking alone in San Fran is going to get harassed in the same MANNER as a woman in Egypt...ask ANY woman who has experienced both and get the answer for yourself...you'll find that you are wrong. Sure guys try and pick up on girls all over the world... Hell, I am one of them!! But I'll tell ya what, when I do it it is NOT because they are not wearing a veil or are dressed in shorts or a short sleeve shirt...it's because I would like to talk to her and possibly take her out. I know that this was not the intention of the people who were giving my sister a hard time in Egypt (my sister is a beautiful, non-hijabed Egyptian woman). And it's not even just my sister man...but every girl that comes back from Egypt complains about the same problem.

"You people are just hypocrites or just a bunch double standard schizoids"

-Get your facts straight and quit bull-sh**ing yourself.


At 1/16/2006 10:46:00 AM, Blogger The Sphinx said...

Agreed. The harassement here is simply horrible. And you won't notice that much except if you're a women (doesn't make a difference if you're beautiful or ugly, you'll get harassed no matter what), or a guy with long hair ( ^^^ see my previous comments ^^^ ). I never knew it was that bad until it started happening to me.

At 1/16/2006 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Egypeter said...

It's rampant, it sucks AND it's getting worse...period. And of course it happens to all who are not veiled, regardless of how ugly you are...but it's worse if one is attractive.

Obviosusly it sucks either way.

At 1/16/2006 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

Mohamed are you serious? Egypt is different than any other place in the world.. You cant compare Egypt to Europe or the states. Egyptians don't take no for an answer..If someone here hits on me and I tell them I'm not interested they back off..If you tell an Egyptian to back off it than becomes their mission to harass you..Even with girls.. Girls have even become the ones that hit on boys there too. If a guy tells a girl no she will then make it her life mission to make the persons life hell.

And I'm not talking rape here which happens all around the world.. If people are alone in Egypt that's just an invitation to get harassed and it gets worse when you can't go home because you don't want them to know where you live, cause you know they will wait for you day an night if they could just to make your life miserable. I'm sure if I was in Italy and someone was harassing me I could get and officer or someone to stop him.. In Egypt the officer would join in on it.. Women go all over in their bikinis and they don't get harassed here in Florida. You don't like you don't look. When I'm in Egypt I wear very conservative clothes I dress more conservative then the great Egyptian girls and that doesn't stop them. My mother would even wear fancy Galabayas and put her hair up and she would still get men bothering her and offering her marriage... (a married women mind you) A taxi driver even wanted my mom to be his second wife..When my dad died my fathers own friends were offering her marriage.. My father wasn't even the in the grave a week. Men are so bad in Egypt you can even get harassed at the mosque. I use to go to mosque every now and then and the boys would wait outside the doors for my friends and I.Please... There are zillions of stories that will never end about Egypt.. My friend once told me Egyptian men are the most "begheen" men you will ever meet. I find that to be true.

I don't think I'm a hypocrite or using double standards when it comes to Egypt. I love Egypt, I grew up to actually think of it as my home but, Egypt has a serious problem and no statistics will be able to prove it but I'm sure if every person was asked in Egypt they would all have a horror story.

At 1/16/2006 11:22:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

"he or she will find that staring and commenting and whistling is as common everywhere as it is anywhere"

That's a damned lie, Mohamed. It's so shockingly untrue, I can't even think of a way to respond to it.

Twosret, where are you? Are you going to comment on this?

At 1/16/2006 11:35:00 AM, Anonymous Mohamed said...

Yes Twosret, please come to my rescue , I'm being completely overpowered here :).
I'll respond to you guys at lunch time.

At 1/16/2006 11:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no doubt that sexual frustrations and my-baybe-can-do-whatever-he-wants education are one of the plagues of the Arab world.

It's really amusing to think that most of these Arabs macho are virgins. Not so manly after all.

At 1/16/2006 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous Mohamed said...

First of all, I don't see the relation between your dad's friends marriage offers and the street harrasment thing, they didn't force themselves on your mother, your mother can say yes or no.
Regarding, the harrasment on the streets of any major city, and your claim that if you tell someone you're not interested they'll backaway, that's not true, on two separate occasions, I saw a group of guys following a girl and kept throwing words at her reaching a point of almost grabbing her, that at one of the incidents she was so frightened that she approached me and asked me if I could walk with her until those guys went away, also, there's no way you're a girl walking alone on Colombus st after 10pm and you don't get followed by some guys until you get into a cab, and colombus is by the way a very nice street in the most civilzed city in the us. Also, please yasmina try to goto a bar or a night club and tell me about the degree of insistance even if you tell a guy you're with someone.
Regarding Italy, although I really hate stereotyping and generalizing anyone, but it's been long established since the fifties that Italy's the female street harrasment capital (if anyone knows or remembers the famous 1952 photo An american girl in Rome and the image of the staring whistling and drooling italians following her). My sister lives in a small town there with every trip outside is a sure hassle.
About telling a girl no in Egypt then her turning your life into hell, please, I've had enough nightmarish experiences that I'm ten times as paranoid of falling for an unstable suicidal bipolar pshyco chick here than in Egypt.
Also, how could you get harrassed in Florida if everything's there done by driving? And by the way Florida sucks big time :).

At 1/16/2006 02:21:00 PM, Anonymous Non Muslim anon said...

Mohammed is actually right about Italy: Italians do follow women in the streets. Some women may feel insulted but most actually take it for a complement (and Italian men aren't particularly sleazy).

As to Egypt, the country isn't even alone. I have stories from Morocco and Tunisia where friends of women I know were offered dozens of camels to have sex with the women they were with. That's insulting, compared to this, an Italian shouting "bella signorina!" while following her down the street is clearly nothing.

At 1/16/2006 02:30:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/16/2006 02:34:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

"And by the way Florida sucks big time :)"
I hate FL I agree with you on that..
The comment about my mom was about Egyptian men and how they feel they can be so blunt and have no manners not just on the streets.

Secondly bars and nightclubs are different.You go to a bar or a night club knowing that there will be people there horny ones, gross ones, mainly that's were people go to hook up or just have a good time..That's the reason I rarely go to those places.. Plus there are bouncers at those places for a reason.. Or am I wrong there?

The point of this is a girl can't even go shopping in a mall or to the sook (market) with out getting harassed. If I go to a mall here and get harassed there is security.. In Egypt there is nothing.. You will get harassed no matter what your doing,.. You can be veiled,fat,skinny, ugly, pretty, black or white.. It doesn't matter Egyptian streets are the worst, we own a store in Egypt and we fired a guy on the spot for following a girl around because she had tight jeans on.. He said she wanted it.. Its gross.. Men will grope any woman they can, they will say whatever they please and harass you no matter what.

Even if this does happen all over which in some places it does happen the majority of Egyptians are Muslims..So does Islam allow it.. Is this how our great Muslim men should show how they respect Islam and women? Egypt depends greatly on tourism to survive and this is how we respect it. This how we respect or own women and sisters.. Please.. There is no excuse for what happens on Egyptian streets or anywhere else...Especially in Egypt!

At 1/16/2006 03:07:00 PM, Blogger Gayyash said...

some women come to cairo (or alex...especially alex) to work or study and leave soon after because they can't handle the harassment. when i was in high school most guys never seemed to view harassment as something violent. their sexuality was something to be imposed forcefully (verbally or by grabbing or by exposing themselves) on women in public or enacted secretly at home. and there was little sense of just how much it traumatised the women they'd harass. its a complex and challenging issue and someone's finally doing something about it. go to the egyptian center for women's rights' website and check out their anti-harassment campaign:

send in your stories and join the effort.

At 1/16/2006 03:17:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

Thanks Gayyash
I sent the link to my friends and I will post it on my blog later.. Some friends said they will put it at the AUC and Cairo University.. I hope it works..

At 1/16/2006 03:56:00 PM, Blogger Gayyash said...

yeah i know they had a booth at auc. don't know about cairo univ. though.

At 1/16/2006 04:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool beans!!! I hope the streets get better for my own selfish reasons and for the sake of women too..


At 1/16/2006 05:20:00 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Well said Yasmina!!! I too "call a spade a spade" much like you do.

There's no doubt this crap happens all the time in Egypt and that it's obviously damaging to the tourism industry...Like I said, I hear people complaining about it after their visits to Egypt. I applaud all you women who take a stand against and complain..nobody should have to deal with it.

At 1/17/2006 02:21:00 AM, Blogger GC said...

You know who gets it worst? It's the majority of women from lower classes who depend on public transport to move around. The experiences they have to put up with are close to rape, with so many people confined in a small area and nowhere to go, so many perverts use this to violate the women. So it's really a major issue, and what the tourists go through is the tip of the ice berg.

At 1/17/2006 09:44:00 AM, Blogger Tater said...

Well, as a married man who currently lives in Florida, and also lived for two years in Italy as well as one year in Egypt, I'll throw in my two cents worth.

Egypt has to be one of the most hostile places in the world for women.

My wife absolutely hates the place and will never visit again. While there she was constantly harassed--mostly by teenagers, but also other men--even though I never let her travel by herself or in anything but VERY conservative clothing. Most of the harassment was verbal, and usually in Arabic so I'm not sure exactly what they said, but the way they were saying it left no doubt as to what they meant.

On the other hand, she loved Italy and to this day that was her most favorite place to live. We lived in the northern part but visited the entire peninsula. She traveled by herself freely, wore whatever she wanted, and was never harassed once. She even often jokes that she felt almost insulted that not one Italian man pinched her butt during the two years there--again joking, she certainly wouldn't really want that to happen.

As for Florida, I'm never leaving, we love living here and plan to retire here.

Don't want to leave the impression that I hate Egypt, if fact I really enjoyed my time there, but I sure wouldn't want to be a female there!


At 1/17/2006 10:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Egyptian men could get laid more often, these problems wouldn't exist.

But once again, Egyptians are the ones who are responsible for the religious wave, so if they are sexually frustrated, they have only themselves to blame.

At 1/17/2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Egypeter said...

Tater - I'm so sorry to hear that! Rest assured that your wife isn't the only one to have had those experiences. An Egyptian buddy of mine and his American wife visited Egypt last summer. She would wake up early in the morning and go for a jog but that ritual stopped really quickly...she couldn't take 2 steps into her jog before perverted men started their comments, stares, cat-calls, etc. It's really sad and extremely embarassing. And on behalf of rational-minded Egyptians I apologize.

Alas, as the rising Islamic fervor continues to sweep the country things will, unfortunately, get worse. I am not optimistic.

Tater, your testimony should basically end Mohamed's rebuttal that harassment in Egypt is like any other place in the world...a preposterous claim.

At 1/18/2006 06:07:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

Ostaz Mohamed, You typify the traditional egyptian who prefers to cover up the dirt than admit it & clean it, you are in denial BIG TIME.
Sphinx, Just be cool & dont lose your nerve out there, it is pointless. again i have had the same stuff but as a kid just because i was fair & it happened all the time, you get stupid kids asking u whats your name & what time is it & even throwing stones.
Just ignore the rabble, & if anyone says its forbidden to have long hair, it is not..simply as you know why, but it is often looked upon as being feminine, which means if a woman has short hair then she presumably is masculine...Its pathetic really.
I wouldnt advise you to have beaten that girl as she would have easily gathered the street on you thinking you are a foreigner harrassing an arab muslim egyptian woman...calamity, but you swore at her not looking at her & that wouldve puzzled her, thrown her into some dissaray!!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home