While walking in Jabal Al Hussen the other day with 3adoola, he suddenly went outraged and started shouting and cursing. I was surprised of his sudden outbursed and asked him what’s wrong.
Apparantly there has been a girl walking in front of us on the pavement and came on to him in a weird way. I didn’t see her, but it seems that she has gave him a sexy look, bite her lips and winked!
He was like “What is this psycho bi*** doing?
When I realized what happened I started laughing. I asked him what would he do if he has been a woman?
While it is rare to see a woman hit on a man in Amman’s streets like this, having it the other way around is very common. I guess that every grown up woman has been through some kind of sexual harrassment in the streets of Amman more than once.
It reminded me of my late teenage years where I started to be more protective towards my sister who happen to be a year younger than me. I had no authority to what she dresses, and I personally did like how she used to dress, but sometimes when going out togather I used to put on the alert mode because of the looks and sleazy comments of our sexually deprived young men.
At some point, and while I see it as completely absurd now, I tried to interfere in what she used to dress, like telling her to change her tight shirt or wearing a longer skirt. Fortunatly she has never allowed me to do that, but it has always kept me alerted, staring upon every potential eye intruder and giving implied messages that there is a man here to protect this woman.
While studing at the university. I used to feel the same towards other female friends. I used to feel alerted whenever I walk side by side with another female friend of mine. At times, it hasn’t been an easy job. If I wanted to pick a fight with every one staring at the woman I walk with, I would end up fighting all day long. It was hectic for me to keep up the alert mode. I wonder how hard it was on the girl herself walking alone in the street of the university and hearing various comments here and there.
There has been plenty of fights that has triggered in the university because of this issue. There seem to be a culture among young men where they feel that it is their rights to harass a woman just because she isn’t veiled, or wearing a tight shirt or jeans, or any kind of a revealing cloth that is up of his standards of women cloths.
I was appailed when I first heard this excuse. A few years ago, while going out for lunch with a co-worker, who happened to be a very religious person, who always talks about el haram o el halal (right and wrong) and who never miss any prayer, and fast all of the Ramadan and even the extra fasting days along the year. He started harassing two women who were standing in the street looking for a taxi. He slowed down next to wear they stood, he opened his window, and dropped a sleazy comment.
I shouted at him of what he is doing and how he could do something like that. He said that they have provoked him of what they were dressing! For the record, they were dressing very normal, a shirt and a jeans like any other girl in Amman wears. We argued a bit and so I realized that he feels that they have asked for it by wearing such clothes.
While things may have been slightly changes in the past couple of years. It is still very disturbing for a woman to walk alone in the streets of Amman. I don’t know how long it would take for this to change, but I certainly support any potential law to enforce more protection for Jordanian’s women in the country streets. Young harassers should be aware that they can’t always get away with it. Jordanian women have a right to feel secure in the streets of Amman as well.