For decades, women across the Arab world have fought against the multiple forms of harassment they are subjected to by the opposite sex.
Although many Arab and Muslim countries such as Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco have recently made headlines by introducing new laws to tackle sexual harassment, women themselves are not using said laws as often as they should be.
This is largely due to fear of judgement by society, or a lack of education surrounding this issue.
Unfortunately, more often than not, these women avoid "shame" by becoming submissive towards undesirable words and physical abuse by male members of society.
So, to all the Arab women out there, here are 8 reasons why you absolutely SHOULD fight harassment:
1. It's NOT just a compliment
Normalizing verbal harassment and disguising its ugly reality with flattery does not lessen the damaging and long term impact it has on women and young girls on a daily basis.
2. The shaming and victim blaming needs to stop!
It's completely illogical to believe that a woman who attempts to fight against her aggravator and combats the growing issue of sexual harassment in her community brings shame onto herself.
3. "Boys will be boys"
This claim indirectly suggests that boys are somehow unable to control their actions or thoughts.
"Boys will be boys" is a pitiful statement that attempts to justify the actions of some men by making the ridiculous argument that males are, by nature dominant harassers.
Nobody is born a sexual predator. These men evolve into predators over time.
4. "It could've been a lot worse"
To state that a woman should gratefully surrender to the violations she endures because there are more degrading crimes experienced by other woman is simply repulsive and only highlights the misogynistic roots of our society.
5. "You can't fight the system"
The notion that "you can't fight the system" is the same that was once used by slave owners, brutal dictators, and colonialists to suppress the rights of others.
It's dishonourable for an individual to repeat this in the context of harassment against women in modern times.
We hear this message way too frequently throughout the Arab world - the reality, however, is different.
Yes, you can fight the system!
6. "It was probably your fault"
The abstract belief that a man who objectifies and sexualizes a woman in public has no fault whatsoever, simply because of the fact that he was born male, is outdated, mostly unwelcomed, and should be unacceptable within any community.
On the other hand, to think that a woman is by default the cause of any incident of harassment because she was born female, is just as equally erroneous.
7. Make a big deal because you ARE a big deal
Sexual, verbal, and physical harassment are daily horrors that women face throughout their lives.
A woman's body and rights are equally worthy of recognition to any other human being.
In the words of Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good (wo)men to do nothing."
8. They'll say you just want attention
Women who fight harassment do want the right kind of attention; Yes, attention to raise awareness about an epidemic that has breached almost every woman's peace of mind in her lifetime.
It is only through the collective recognition of this growing problem by society, that a solution can ever be found.