Why Do You Never Blame Me?
“Cover up, cover up. Why should men walk sinful because of your seductive clothing, cover up, It will be your last day in this world if a man ever touched you, I will kill him first, then when I’m done, I’ll kill you. You’ll bring me shame, spare me the shame, spare me.” I’d tell my sister every morning before she gets ready for college. I saw her a couple of times trying on a pair of trousers and ripped them to pieces because protecting my sister makes me a good person, I know I am a good person, aren’t I?
I don’t consider myself a bad person; it’s how men are created, it’s inevitable and no one is in a position of changing our human nature. God molded men with a hungry appetite, so how does that make it our fault? My appetite growls, and I have everything I need in front of me, so why not give it what it wants, and why not please my needs? After all, they pretty much ask for it. -Lust is a beautiful thing, especially when the opposite sex is dressed so alluring and tempting- Hence, I’m never blamed, everyone knows it’s not my fault, even my own mother knows that.
Only a year ago my mother was telling my sister and I how her best friend’s daughter was sexually harassed while coming home from work. “She came home with scratches all over her body, some scratches were so deep, they left obvious blood stains on her blouse!” She said. In that moment, it was the first time I start to feel a tad of guilt; a feeling I have never felt before. Again, I know I’m not a bad person, but I didn’t understand exactly why I felt shameful. “But she deserves it. I told Rabab a hundred times to tell her daughter to cover up. She doesn’t want to wear a veil, and Rabab was okay with it. There, they got what they all deserved. One good outcome out of all of this, now she has her head scarf on; too bad she had to learn her lesson the hard way.” She continued. I felt relieved, like a cool breeze on a hot, sunny day. My own mother said nothing about who ever harassed her; not even a single word.
It’s quite easy you know, not so hard as it seems to most of you, I usually get on a crowded bus and come a close-breadth to the lady with the tightest outfit, not that she’s any different from the one right beside her dressed in a baggy ‘abaya because at the end of the day my hand gropes the real thing, regardless of how many inches her flesh is away from the clothing she actually chooses to wear, but I tend to take up the vulnerable category. You see, I notice the disgust in people’s eyes when they look at her, like she’s a walking Satan, just enough proof they, too, know she’s to be blamed, not me, right?
Other times, I’d be casually lingering around some alleys and notice something my appetite would growl to. (When I’m feeling lavish, I get awfully picky, but most of the time I’m usually satisfied with anything that comes my way.) There was one time, I was walking closer to one of them, and she gave me a harsh stare, penetrated right through me. Truth be told, I backed off. Maybe I was pretty offended that her delicacy might be even more powerful than my brutality. But I usually come back to my senses and realize everyone else knows I am the dominant sex in the society, don’t they?
Talking about society, I remember the time our Army stomped a woman and ripped her clothes off. There were plenty of protests; I didn’t quite understand why they were so angry about it though. What difference is there between the army and I? I tend to tear women’s clothes nearly everyday, no one blames me, why do they blame the army then, for an act they silently accept from each and every one of us, every singly day? “Oh, I know why” I thought, “Maybe because she was dressed in ‘abaya. Stupid; I thought they were a least bit smarter. They chose one that is least susceptible, I bet there were plenty of other women, more exposed. They could’ve attacked them, maybe then no one would have spoken up, just stayed silent like they always do.” I convinced myself. I remember afterwards, though, she was proven to have not been wearing anything underneath, but a single blue bra. I chuckled, knowing all those huffy protesters wasted their effort over a “filthy, exposed” woman. Tables had turned and a lot spoke out how it was her fault in the first place to be out of her house at such time, inappropriately dressed. I was glad the excuses I give myself, every day, weren’t actually excuses, they were facts my society clarified, and I was pleased they, too, know I’m not the bad person at the end of the day. Some even called her blue-bra lady; if she really was worth all the fuss for being some super-hero, then that label would’ve never existed, right?
Ikhwan later showed up, Salafists too, speeches were conducted and directed to women on how they should dress in order to avoid sin and harassment (If you ask me, more clothing just gets her out of, what I call, ‘the vulnerable category’, but she might as well be harassed as equally as one less covered up). “Women you should protect yourselves from shame and disgrace!” They’d cry out. They even discussed whether women should be obliged to wear the Hijab or not, pretty much like Saudi Arabia. Again, they never really arranged any speeches directing us to control our temptations, but rather warned women they are tempting to men; framing the whole issue like it’s women’s fault in the first place that they are our delight. I also remember the time I watched a famous video on YouTube where a man whistled at a woman in Saudi Arabia because she had mascara make-up, bewitching her eyes, and had no head scarf on. The cleric in the video sharply scorned her and not him “Cover up you woman.” Yet again, no one told her not to abide to the rules, that were “protecting” her in the first place, right?
Sometimes though, I watch irrelevant tv shows, like the one Yosra was leading role in. Portrays how much we truly are hated for attacking the vulnerable category of women. And this is why I write you this letter. I noticed through those TV-shows/movies, and through a couple of articles I read in hidden columns in some newspapers that I really am considered a bad person. I really am considered as putrid as a speck of dirt on a crystal clear glass of cold, ice water. I don’t understand, I really am confused, and I actually sense an urge to find the answer to a question I am longing to find out through no one but my people, my society and my leaders:
Why do you hate me, if you never blame me?