Eve-teasing on the rise in Kingdom

Dhahran harassment case

Time & time again, I have been persuaded by the Kingdom’s perturbing cases of eve-teasing. A video posted on YouTube last October, showing a group of women being harassed by a few eve-teasers in a parking lot outside a mall, sparked outrage in the media. When the incident surfaced among masses, both the harasser & the harassed were targeted by the public. While the former was accused of utterly unethical & immoral behavior, the latter was criticized to have let that happen due to the absence of a male guardian. As per the official report, Saudi Arabia had registered around 3,000 reported cases of harassment in 2013, where Riyadh topped the list with almost 650 cases, followed by Jeddah & Eastern Province. Those which go unnoticed or unreported may actually be much more than the total figure itself.

The debate drags in a host of other issues, which are said to have contributed for the proliferation of this social evil. There can be many reasons for such incidents. It could sometimes be because of a shopaholic or businesswomen travelling with unknown drivers, ignorance of people about the teachings of religion, demand for freedom of women in the guise of human rights, or more importantly a hooligan on the street searching for a prey! I think the most conducive & threatening of them all are the ones that highlight lone women travelers & uncultured youth, be it because of a force majeure or just to play a vagabond. Despite the fact that women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t necessitate them to be driven around without an actual need. I too am partially of the opinion that women should be allowed to drive, but the more important question that pops up is ‘To end a single problem, should a solution such be devised that gives rise to many other problems?’. The answer would certainly be ‘No’.

If women take to the roads, they would attract unwanted attention of other drivers. I say this merely because the country’s populace is not yet mature enough to see women on the driving seats. To detail a bit about harassment cases here, I would exemplify by mentioning about a sting operation conducted by a chivalrous media personality from Saudi Arabia, Sameera Aziz. The Saudi-journalist through her investigation brought to light the voyeuristic nature of many, if not all, taxi drivers here. She exposed a cab driver accompanied by a fellow journalist in a car behind. Aziz, during the journey, was ogled at, asked personal & utterly irrelevant questions & later accused of having a bad character. This is just one among hundreds of cases of harassment.

One of my primary concerns to write about such a pervasive stigma is to bring about the third perspective associated with all such cases. I in no way intend to target the female of the species, but am just putting the ponder into words. I often observe an unpleasant sight where the both the involved parties indulge in the drama. It is usually said that men tend to start, but it is not always the case. I strongly believe that women need to act responsibly & understand the importance of a virtuous demeanor. Being skimpily dressed, wearing strong perfumes, ostentatious makeup, etc. all contribute to an uncalled for behavior on part of women. Should this & associated activities be controlled, it will definitely bring down the occurrences of harassment.

Till then, we can just pray to the Almighty to protect & guide us all!


Ethics and Saudi youth….are poles but opposite!!!!

I fail to understand the point behind such munificent attitude of the young Saudi,human like creatures,towards ladies in particular.They cherish their ecstasy on every sight of a woman young and alone to be precise(without any male guardian).Such men seem to have happily exchanged the transient joys for the eternal ones.I really am disheartened to know that security of women in Saudi Arabia takes a giant stride forward with every second that passes by,but sadly in the opposite direction.Their safety is endangered with every step they take out in these horrendous environs of this rich country,neighboring the Red sea.

Harassment exists in all forms and at every place.But it becomes unbearable when done blatantly on a large scale.A feeling sinks in and continues to evaporate thoughts over this very sad state of affairs.I remember having read a poem named “Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.A line of a stanza in the poem says “I fall upon the thorns of life!I bleed!”.Certainly,women here do become targets to the spleneticism of a few execrable minds.And later the agony haunts them for days and at times for their entire life.Women are allowed to work here but again they become vulnerable to the inevitable evil beings who surely were born without a mother or do not have a sister at home(a pun certainly intended!).Their male colleagues leave not any opportunity to accept invitations,despite the fact that they may have never been sent.I do not blame and say every man is of the same nature,but there are just a few disturbing  elements in our society that multiply apace and seldom reduce.An Arab News report published a few days back added to my dismay and forced me to ponder over our inability to control the immoral conduct of a sect of our very own species.The report highlights how limousine or cab drivers face unwanted attention of those haughty youths,when they have women passengers.“This is a daily predicament. Whenever I have women passengers, I find more than one car with young men inside following me. They want to talk to the passengers or pass over their mobile phone numbers to them,” is what a Pakistani driver had to say about these maniacs.Another one said “When these young men do not get any response from the passengers, they start throwing empty bottles at my windshield to force me to stop. Most of them drive luxurious or sports cars,”.I even read that sometimes the rear car doors are opened and pieces of paper are dropped on the passenger’s laps with phone numbers written on them.Such a disgrace really….I have no words to express my dejection!You can read the full report here http://www.arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article480012.ece

Whenever I discuss this issue with anyone,they argue and say that sometimes even women tend to respond and like to be flirted with.I agree to it completely but this doesn’t give you the license to show how much of an animal resides in you,to everyone you come across.My teachers used to tell me that anyone’s behavior shows the way he has been brought up,the company he/she has had and the habits he/she let proliferate within him/her.I think its the negligence of parents and their failure in  the proper nourishment of their child that has its aftermath as seen.

I recently had a visit to Shalal(a very famous adventure park here in Jeddah) last week during the Eid holidays.Those were the last few busy hours of night and the crowd did not appear to subside early.And hence the situation was tailor-made for some people to display their satanic skills.I admired the presence of Police at every gate who were patrolling both inside and outside of the park.But on exiting the place,I was startled to see a young man shouting madly and teasing a group of women from one of his car windows.I shook my head in extreme bewilderment as the car sped away.Something really needs to be done in this regard and that too before the time runs out.I recommend the installation of security cameras on streets and a 24/7 helpline number for women.Lastly,stringent rules should be made to curb this social evil and The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice or Hai’a should be empowered to take strong actions against the offenders.

It may have looked like a tirade to my readers but stop for once and think what the victims would be feeling like on being subjected to such torment.Please do not wait until the same happens to any member of your own family,God forbid.Some woman are so terrified that they are not even able to take umbrage at these inhuman activities.Such incidents may just be a presage of what lies in store ahead.Wake up Saudi Arabia and set an example for the whole world!!!

Harassment of women…..Is that a case in Saudi Arabia????

I sometimes am forced to ponder whether Saudi Arabia is as safe for women as it was when I landed here in the late 90s for the first time.I have seen the country’s progress over the years especially in the field of education but feel dejected when it comes to the point of application on part of the youth of this blessed land.Some of the primates could show better signs of decency than these spoiled brats.They seem to be completely inebriated and engulfed in the enjoyment of their voyeurism.

Reports in the local newspapers are continuously making way to the readers thereby alerting and informing them about the condition prevalent in the Kingdom.According to an Arab News report,a victim says “Shabab (young men) on the streets are getting bolder and it is unsafe for women to take cabs or even be alone in a car without the fear of being followed or harassed.”Another mention about the same subject presents even more appalling circumstances.I read how a mother and her young daughter were chased and harassed  on one of the streets of Jeddah for almost an hour.When they tried calling for a cab,these lecherous young males prevented the cab driver from picking them up and scared him away.The same news story had a comment that attracted my attention and staggered me to say the least.I felt as if there was yet another harasser sitting in the commentators list.He says “The women and her daughter were pushed to the limits as is described.But still it didnt create a sympathizing effect rather it tickled my predative instincts.It created a flash imagination for me:
I can see a slightly fat woman in a body-fit abaya with a young and heavily dosed with make-up woman with only her nose covered partially, and casting that special victoria secrets look from the corner of her so called veil.Boy, the fun the guys must have had….. I can imagine and I also believe that there is also something which the daughter is hiding.I may feel sorry for the women in general but at the same time we gotta laugh too.”Its just pathetic.I don’t understand how not do such men think of their own mothers and sisters being in a similar situation.Will he even revel,God forbid,if something even close to it happens with his family?Definitely not.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia) or the Hai’a has somewhat put brakes on such activities at those places where women were harassed more frequently like malls,beaches,parks etc.The responsibility of this committee is to patrol the streets and ensure proper dress codes,separation of men and women and see whether the menfolk are at the Mosque when it is the time for prayer.But still I would want some more attention to be paid on this issue so that our sisters may be bulwarked by any kind of mistreatment.We also know how much respect and honor Islam has for women.But still,people blatantly desecrate its commandments,that too in an Islamic country being well aware of the consequences that they may be faced with if they continue.I myself have observed on streets and in the ever-lustrous malls how men conduct themselves on getting even the slightest glimpse of that black abaya(an apparel for women over the normal clothing).They are ready to ogle at you if at some point you are unfortunately destined to pass by.I even come across instances when helpless women on the busy roads face these scurrilous men who try to offer them a conveyance and honk unnecessarily,when in fact there is no need for it.My heart really goes out to those sisters who are confronted with these pernicious situations.

I recently created a group on facebook with the name ‘We are against the harassment of women in Saudi Arabia and world over’.I would be happy if it helps in the cause to any extent in the future and request you all to join it.I pray and hope that this no longer remains a pedestrian sight not only in Saudi Arabia but the world over.