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Behind closed doors #MeToo
Niloufar Saleem October 11, 2018
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SHARJAH: From the grocer in the store to the teacher in school, the friend who wins her trust and then breaks it, the boyfriend who takes advantage of her naivety, the husband who violates her consent and the colleague who uses every possible opportunity to misbehave, there’s no possible end to the suffering a woman faces in her daily life.

Every day of her life is a war. War to keep herself safe from such terrible people, a war to be able to live on her own terms and not be a victim, a war to be given equal opportunity at work, a war to be able to merely just survive.

While chatting over a cup of coffee, steaming in the intensity of our conversation, my mother and I addressed the not so often spoken about issue. Misconduct, harassment and abuse, the list is long.

When we started to talk we realised that almost every woman around us has inevitably been a victim. How ironic.

One such incident was when our maid in her late twenties had stepped out to the grocery and returned pretty late with scattered hair, torn clothes and a face filled with absolute horror.

I made her sit, gave her some water and asked her if she was okay, because I was worried she would collapse. She cried for over an hour and then finally spilled the beans. The security guard caught her off-guard while coming home and tried to molest her, she escaped and somehow made it to our house.

This made me so angry, I marched straight to the security guard and confronted him, he just shrugged it off saying he didn’t do anything. The people in the building all cornered me saying I was blowing things out of proportion and what took me by surprise was when someone said, ‘It’s not such a big deal, he didn’t really do anything as such, right?’ Unbelievable.

Educated people from good families, who are in a position of authority to stop such nonsense, want to turn a deaf ear because they probably think its okay…No! it’s not!

Nowadays when women and men are equal, it’s almost nauseating to admit that many men find it so comfortable to make a move on a woman without her consent and are so quick to judge her step forward to compete with him as a means of ‘asking for it.’

For a working woman to confront such incidents is an absolute give in, the kind of misconduct and harassment women face at their workplace is absolutely mind-boggling. More power to the women who look beyond it all and reach the skies.

#MeToo, a global movement that started in support against such acts, has definitely opened many closed doors and brought into light many stories which were hidden in the dark.

It takes immense courage for the ones violated to come forward and share their story. To recall a horror and to explain unhealed wounds. It makes us shudder to come face to face with the various acts of absolute misogyny.

Here’s hoping more movements like #MeToo bring the monsters hiding behind dark shadows forward.

And for the women I pray may we who are not tolerant of anything less than what we deserve, find the courage to say no, that we don’t find it shameful to come forward to tell each other the real face of those pretending to be nice and last but not the least, I pray that we get to meet good men, be with good men and work that extra bit to raise good men.

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