I am about to share with you a story that I’ve only told to few people…
When I was a child, my parents always wanted me to participate in different cultural activities; drawing was one of them. I loved drawing and coloring, it was a hobby that I wanted to improve so I joined a cultural center where I had a couple of classes each week. I remember one time we had a substitute teacher, he was a teenager who knew nothing about drawing, he was only there to watch us finish our work. I asked him if I can go to the bathroom and he said sure okay. As I walked out of the class and towards the bathroom I noticed that he was following me and he insisted that he wants to help me. I was 7 years old at the time, but this didn’t stop me from noticing that his behavior was odd and that his place was definitely not in the girl’s bathroom to help me. I immediately refused and went directly to the receptionist and asked her to call my mom to come pick me up from this place. I was so disgusted and horrified to the extent that I waited for my mom on the street, I couldn’t stay one more minute there. I remember clearly that his boy didn’t even touch me, but it was my first encounter with sexual harassment and it was definitely not okay. This is one of many incidents that girls are forced to live with in different scenarios on a daily basis. Sexual harassment doesn’t have to be in the form of a physical act, it can be the way someone speaks to you or looks at you. It doesn’t have to be from a stranger, it can be from anyone in your direct circle.
I am extremely proud to be part of The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality at AUB campaign #Mesh_Basita #مش_بسيطة stands for the idea that sexual harassment is not okay, that it should not be normalized, and that there should be legislative reform around these issues in Lebanon. Check out the full video for the campaign, which is held in partnership with the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, WAMLebanon. Join us in sharing your own photos, videos, and text highlighting that sexual harassment is not okay using the hashtags until August 15, 2017.
Sexual Harassment is not okay in any way, and I invite you to spread the word and share your experience!