Governments, Politicians fail Muslim women.
Women as a vulnerable species.
In 2010 I was doing an evening language course as part of my bachelor’s degree that ended around 9 p.m. Ironically, I intended to do an internship at a company in Dubai. Dubai then was building the world islands, and it was the mecca for ex-pats. Although I had my brothers’ car at my disposal, I chose to commute by public transport. As a student, I could utilise the public transport system for free. Thus, my primary means of transportation was the bus or train.
One night I was at the train station in one of the most densely populated cities in the world waiting for my 10 p.m. train as I had missed the previous one by half 10.
The double-decker train came in, and I stood up, walking towards a carrier. I was dressed in Islamic gear, including a long silver-metallic loose fitted skirt and a blue headscarf. Because it was winter, I was wearing a long winter jacket that covered my behind and my thighs. Furthermore, I was wearing my All-star leather sneakers and not heels or shoes that would get people’s attention while walking.
Soon enough, I realised I had caught the eye of a North-African Muslim male. He walked towards me and joined the queue I was in to enter the train. While people were getting out of the train, I ran to another train door and entered the carrier through that door. Just as I had walked in, I saw that the man had also accessed the train through the same door. I noticed that the man I was running from was walking downstairs with other commuters. So I decided to walk up the stairs instead.
However, the man had changed his mind and had followed me up the stairs. Suddenly he was sitting across from me. I was seated knee to knee as the space between the two seats was minimal, to make matters worse. I decided to sit on the window side and stare out of the window.
I now realised that this young North African man, possibly in his mid to late 20ties, was following me. What’s more, I had nothing to do with this individual as I had never met him before; but I was possibly in danger.
I decided to ignore him and continued my journey while reading a book. Because of increased interest in the middle east and my religion, I was reading; the biography of prophet Mohamed, peace be upon, at that time.
Suddenly, I felt this man’s knee against mine, and even though he was not tall, he had now positioned himself in a manner with his legs wide open. I pulled my legs towards the corner of the seat towards the bin. Again he made sure his knee was touching my knee, so now he was seated with his legs ultimately spread. And he started making soft moaning noises.
I looked up from my book, and I kept it up so he would see what I was reading, hoping he would feel some remorse. Then, I looked at him and discovered that he had a sideway erection in his jeans. To my surprise, I realised he was jerking off in his pants.
I folded my book in my left hand, threw my bag over my right shoulder and walked away as fast as possible. As I walked, I looked at the woman seated parallel to my seat, who seemed completely taken in and stuck inside her book. Thus, she either concentrated so much on her book that she was unaware of what was happening around her or pretended not to know because she was too afraid.
While walking away fast, I would look back over my shoulders a few times to see if the man was following me. Then, I decided to sit close to a group of half-drunk loud male students. It was a Thursday night, which is the kickstart of the weekend for most European students. Coming to terms with the fact that I was saver in close approximate of a group of half-drunk loud young white males, I would talk courage to myself.
I looked back at where I was seated a couple of times more to see if the man was still sitting there.
I was scared to go to my parents’ house to inform my family of what had happened. My mum would listen to my story in total disbelief and astonishment. Fully surprised they’d ask me whether I had shook the guy’s hand in an attempt to understand why a man would randomly jerk off in public in the presence of a fully covered woman.
However, being raised in a predominately male household where I was viewed as one of the guys, I decided not to ask my mum whether I could sleep with her that night.
Instead, I put on my brave shoes and left her house after dinner to dare the 10-minute walk to my brother’s house, where I was housesitting with my younger brother.
Extra cautious and in a whole deer-like panic mood, convinced that what happened was somehow my fault, I walked to the house as fast as I could because of the question I had gotten from my family members.
Reduced to unrealistic levels of anxiety, I would open all the doors in the house, turn on every light and check all the rooms. I’d even gone as far as opening up the closets and checking under my bed to see if someone — a man was hiding in my house. As unrealistic as this sounds now, I was petrified. Afraid that he had followed me to my home or somehow knew where I lived.
The next day, a Friday, my day off school and attending a job, I told my co-workers what had happened the evening before. The male co-workers were grossed out and in total disgust. One of my older co-workers, a practising Christian woman, explained that the man had picked me BECAUSE of the way I looked. My pious Islamic attire had triggered something in him that made him behave that way.
I think he was threatening me to get a message across. In some cultures, women are deemed as less than or are seen as incredibly fragile beings needing to be shed off all outside influences. In these cultures, women are vulnerable species that need continuous protection. Thus, something that has slipped into Islam is the notion that a woman cannot leave her house without a male chaperone.
These ideas, however, are not a permit that allows Muslim males to harass Muslim women ever. It is not normal to masturbate in public places. Nor is it ever okay to harass a Muslim woman, going about her way with primary behaviour. It is not okay to force your lack of understanding of life on others.
I am not explaining his behaviour to justify what he did; instead, my writing gives a backstory of his thinking. His behaviour comes forth from genetic disposition combined with cultural indoctrination.
In conclusion, this story demonstrates the dangers of unnecessary migration of Muslim men from safe countries to the West.