One double standard leads to another: wherever there is a segment or multiple segments of society who are second-class citizens (women, dhimmis), those classes bear an unfair burden to mollify their overlords by showing that they know their place. Then, to have been involved in a disturbance with a member of the privileged class — in this case, Muslim men — is to have gotten out of line, because they enjoy greater rights in the first place.
That doesn’t make this consensus among reader comments to this story any less disturbing: Women provoke harassment by not observing proper hijab restrictions. Self control? Self restraint? Personal responsibility? Of course not, these guys been provoked!
Where have we seen that before?
Here is the actual story, which is filed under “Life & Style / Offbeat” at Arab News. “Harrasmap: A counter to web of women’s harassment,” by Maggie Hyde for the Associated Press, October 26 (thanks to Steffen):
CAIRO: It’s a problem nearly every woman in the Egyptian capital has experienced — leering, whistles, groping or other sexual harassment on Cairo’s thoroughfares and backalleys. Soon they’ll be able to instantly speak out on the Internet when it happens.
A planned website, Harrasmap, will allow women to quickly report instances of harassment via text message or Twitter, to be loaded onto a digital map of Cairo to show hotspots and areas that might be dangerous for women to walk alone.
The data will be shared with activists, media, and police.
“The whole idea is to have user-generated information,” said Engy Ghozlan, one of the volunteer activists organizing the program, which is set to launch in the coming months. Simply feeling that she is not alone, Ghozlan said, can help a woman who is feeling powerless.
“It’s actually encouraging to know that,” she said.
The map could also give a graphic depiction of the extent of a problem that women say is pervasive in Egypt, but which authorities are only starting to acknowledge. A 2008 survey by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights found that 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women living in Cairo said they had been harassed in some way — and 62 percent of men admitted to harassing.
But until recently, the issue was rarely dealt with publicly. Only after Web videos of women being molested in the street by crowds of young men during a holiday four years ago did media begin discussing the problem. Since then, a bill outlining criminal punishment for sexual harassment has gone to parliament, though it has yet to vote on it.
There are numerous theories as to why harassment is so common in Cairo. Some attribute it to a growing conservatism spreading the idea that women should stay out of the public sphere. Others cite widespread unemployment among the youth, leaving them bored, frustrated and unable to marry. Many Egyptians see a broader breakdown of courtesy and morals, a malaise from Egypt’s poor economy and political stagnation.
Organizers of Harassmap say the problem is not being overblown, effecting [sic] women whether or not they wear the headscarf and reaching the point were women avoid the streets.
And now, readers weigh in. Not all are so callous, but there is a clear majority.
MS – Oct 26, 2010 – 03:54 Not just Cairo. Hyderabad, a metro city in India too has a similar problem. These guys form gangs, and turn onto you if you object. Having two sisters, I’ve had endless fights with these thugs. Unfortunately, this menace is more prevalent in Muslim suburbs than in Hindu suburbs – what a shame on us as Muslims in general and as men in particular!
It’s downhill from here.
ADIL SHAKEEL – Oct 26, 2010 10:45 – The Problem is not with Guys it is with Modernism girls or womens should strictly follow Proper hijab
SHAKEEL – Oct 26, 2010 10:47 – Follow hijab
AZ – Oct 26, 2010 20:40 – Result of not following what islam teaches us about hijab. For sure if any girl wears such tight clothings & walks in public by only covering her head with a tiny scarf for a sake of formality, any guy on the road would like to have a feast for his eyes & gains momentum for his lust. Girls who wears hijab certainly will not experience the same. Check it out…
KHAN – Oct 26, 2010 21:12 – The picture is giving the answer to the problems… Salaam to Prophet Mohammed PBUH, that he says..women should not wear attractive dress, should not so tight that revealed the figure, should not be transparent, should not wear as a dress of opposite sex…
And one from further down the list:
IROSPTZ -Oct 26, 2010 23:53 –
if i see girls like these ( in this photo ) i’ll will be also in one of the guys who harassing these girls. So girls first try to behave and dress yourself …. i’m giving 100% surety to you that you can go anywhere without the disturbances from these guys…….