Wronged


It was just his face
she remembers looking at
not his clothes or shoes
or even how tall he was, the obvious,
she didn’t pay attention to the obvious,
but how could she?
it was just his face, the smirk
that played on his lips
before transforming into
a full evil grin,
baring all his teeth,
his mouth seemed to be moving
but she couldn’t understand
what he was “saying”
but how could she?

Her mind couldn’t think beyond
the way he looked at her,
but then again,
he didn’t just look at her
it wasn’t “just a look”
it could never have been “just a look”.

His eyes, those demonic eyes
travelled up and down her body
making her flinch inwardly,
making her want to shirk to invisibility,
her thoughts shifting in an instant
“is something wrong with my clothes?
there must be something wrong with…”

frantically trying to adjust them,
fix them, only to realize
there was nothing wrong with her
clothing in the first place.
“I should ignore him”
keeping her eyes down,
in vain attempts to distract her mind,
but his obscenities did not fail
to make their way to her ears
snatching away her smile,
making her feel dirty inside out.
“I should tell someone about it.
but what will I tell them?
they’ll think I’m crazy,
sick, petty, weak
for being uncomfortable
by someone’s mere presence.”

It did make her sick,
destroying her confidence,
slicing her into a million pieces.
reducing her to silence.

Guilt ate away at her,
as he continued staring,
passing offensive remarks,
making vulgar gestures
and she kept blaming herself,
not realizing that she was the one
being wronged.

* * *

To some people this may seem blown out of proportion but regardless of how trivial anyone might think it to be, I’m not going to beat around the bush about it or be ashamed or apologetic for bringing it up.

Catcalling, street harrassment, or any kind of unsolicited verbal or physical advances of a sexual nature are an offense.

And being on the receiving end of such reprehensible behavior is no joke. I can’t even express how much it gets on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m way past the point of being upset or scared of derogatory remarks and stares of men who have NO sense of respect for women. I have realized that such unwanted attention comes with the territory of being a woman. I have learned to just ignore them. I don’t fear for myself.

But I fear for every little, innocent girl unaware that there exist people who will make her feel uncomfortable, embarrassed and unsafe. She will be made to feel unsafe to go anywhere unaccompanied. They will make her question the choices she makes in life, from the way she dresses to the way she speaks in public. They will be the reason she’ll have trust issues for the rest of her life. The reason she’ll second guess herself, the reason she’ll always feel scared and helpless around men…

It’s just sad. And disgusting.

Let me say loud and clear that this isn’t just about unwanted remarks shouted at women by men in passing cars or being whistled or stared at. Street harrassment goes far deeper than that. And it can happen to anyone regardless of age. And that’s something I find unsettling. While women who have reached their twenties can handle these things well, young girls are usually uninformed and unequipped when faced with such circumstances, which can leave strong imprints on their minds, and continue affecting their lives negatively. The experience can be almost traumatic.

Although there isn’t much that can be done to stop those who do such things from doing them, BUT we have to realize that our safety is our own responsibility. And, the first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one. We need to stop pretending that catcalling or street harassment isn’t a problem. We might not be able to give condescending retorts to the men who try to harass us or throw punches at them but we CAN show them that we’re not affected by their behavior in the slightest by simply ignoring them. But if need be, we shouldn’t hesitate to report them to the police.

Also, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

1. Make sure you are properly covered. Even if you’re walking to the grocery store that’s just one block away from your house. Women talk all the time about how it shouldn’t matter what clothes we wear, we deserve respect regardless and stuff. But here’s the thing, a woman in skimpy clothing is going to appear more attractive than the one wearing loose clothes. I’m not saying that fully covered women do not get catcalled, but the chances of that happening are greatly reduced.

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their Jalabib over their bodies. That will be better that they should be known so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:59)

There is no doubt that the woman who observes hijab completely (properly covers herself) and has the characteristics of chastity and modesty will protect herself and her honor. Also, Allah سبحانه و تعالى has promised to the women who observe complete hijab and protect their honour from haram (unlawful) things, forgiveness and a great reward .

2. Educate your children on the dangers of the outside world. I don’t think it’s wise to hide these things from kids in today’s world. It’s not safe anymore. Tell them about the “bad guys” and the ways they might try to harm them. Always make them feel comfortable to open up to you whatever it’s about and whenever they want to. If possible try to accompany them wherever they want to go. Don’t send them alone to the grocery, parks or playgrounds….I don’t know a thing about parenting so I may not be qualified to give advice on this matter but all I’m trying to say is that keep your children safe.

3. Express yourself. There’s no real point in bottling up your feelings and silently suffering. If you are a victim of abuse please know that you have every right to be heard. It wasnt your fault and nobody’s gonna judge you.

* * *

Remember me in your duas!

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11 Comments

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  1. Assalam o Alaikum Yusra Good advice about covering up. Not wearing makeup etc. Having a non smily, stern look on the face and definitely a Mahrem with you helps. But evil people exist to test us everywhere. There is an opportunity in it to worship and ask Allah to Help with Durudh Sharif and duas work wonders in such situations. Eg Ayatul kursi 3 times when going out. Seeking refuge with Allah from the shaitan continuously.  Durudh. And Rabbi anni maghloobun fantasir And… O Allaah, protect me from them with what You choose.

    Many others I am sure.

    InshaAllah no harm comes your way and people you fear are subdued immediately. Works all the time.

    Once was in a scary situation in a camper at a lay by middle of nowhere at night cause we got lost. Drunk people came banging at doors and windows and shaking and rocking our camper frantically to get us out. I had 2 small children my son and daughter were both traumatized. My husband wanted to get out but there were many…I did not let him go out or even open any door or window or curtains and simply recited every dua I could think of… literally a few seconds or mins later a police car appeared from nowhere and chased them! He came back to ensure we were ok. Like Allah has sent an angel to help us. He directed us to the police station to report it. There was no record of him! SubhanAllahe wa be Hamdehi!!!

    Wassalam and lots of hugs and kisses Rubina

    ⁣Sent from BlueMail ​

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sister Rubina!! Wa’alaikumus Salam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu! 🙂

      It’s always a pleasure to have you comment. I hope you’re doing well.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with me, it must have been really scary for you and your kids.. there’s a wonderful reminder for all of us in it. And I’m very glad that you shared it here. Sometimes we forget the power of dua and therefore tend to feel helpless in difficult situations. But like you said, evil exists to test us and it’s an opportunity to worship Allah Ta’aala and get closer to Him…Subhan’Allah. Jazak Allahu Khairan for sharing such beautiful words of wisdom! Lots of love and biiig hugs! Keep me in your prayers ❤❤

      Like

  2. Thank you for highlighting this issue Yusra, with a wonderful poem.
    These problems are so common in our society and some times it boils my blood to see that the culprits are so bold, so fearless and no religious or cultural boundary appears to hinder their intentions.

    I remember a few months ago my younger sister and brother went to a nearby shop. Upon coming back my sister told me that there was a little girl of about six seven years, standing at the counter while the cashier gradually started asking questions from her. The questions eventually initiated harassment but the little girl had no clue. It was then that my sister intervened and told the cashier that she is waiting to which he realized that he might get caught. The little girl, unaware of everything, ran towards a dark corner of the many streets ahead as far as my siblings could see.
    The little girl was a servant at the nearby colony and was probably sent late at night by a kid of the family she served to buy him a few things. I assume that because what she bought were lots of chips and juices.

    I couldn’t control my disgust after hearing about it all and all the time after it me and my sister were thinking that we wish we could do something. We wish the girl would have stayed there for a minute longer so that we could have told her at least something. We never found her again and my heart aches to think about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly speaking, when I was writing this post my thoughts didn’t even go in that direction. I didn’t think for a minute that street harassment applies to street kids more than anyone else, they are the ones most vulnerable to harassment. More than women, more than teenage girls, more than children of well-off parents…You have made such an extremely important point, and I can only say thank you for shedding light on a subject that is often overlooked! I feel sorry for the little girl you mentioned and thousands of little kids like her who are often left to struggle alone in order to survive in a world so cruel, with people like wolves constantly trying to use the weak to achieve their evil ends…it’s heartbreaking 😦

      I really wish there was something we could do, but I don’t know what and how, but what I do know is that we can at least make a dua for them. Ask Allah to keep them safe always. May Allah Ta’aala ease the affairs of the Ummah. Ameen! Jazak Allahu khairan for your valuable input Mariyaah. I really appreciate it. 🙂 Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Selam alaikum Sister,
    before I got children I always tried to lower my eyes when I went out. But it did not help. On the contrary, people have attacked me even more. When I got my children, I knew I had to protect them. I began to train and strengthened my self-confidence. I do not ignore anyone. When someone insults me, I look him straight in the eye and am prepared for everything. Since then, I have never had problems again. It is as if these people feel my self-awareness and leave me alone. This is how I deal with it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wa’alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu sister!
      Wow masha’Allah, that’s very brave of you sis! I know what you’re saying though, sometimes looking away gives them the impression that we’re scared of them and that only adds to their confidence and they don’t back off. So you’re right, it helps to stand up for ourselves and show them that we’re not afraid of them.
      Thank you so much for the awesome advice and for sharing your experience! 😊 Very inspiring.
      May Allah سبحانه و تعالى keep you and your family safe always. Ameen.
      Love and duas! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. PS. So sorry for the grammar errors. I translate with google. Never a good idea 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s also what men watch online as well that is what messes them up and same with woman nowadays they are losing their haya😔

    Like

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