From thereon my car window remained closed

It was a lovely mid June afternoon, the sun was setting, a beautiful breeze in the air. I was in my car with a female friend of mine, stuck in traffic in Roxy area. We were chatting and laughing, careless about time and traffic. Adding to our amazing car ride was the good music playing on the stereo and the breeze hitting our faces from the open windows.

The street was packed, cars cars and more cars, and from afar there were two silhouettes running between the tightly packed rows. As the silhouettes got closer, they turned out to be two male teenagers wondering aimlessly in traffic. At first, it all seemed innocent, two bored teenagers finding nothing better to do than to run around in a traffic jam. However, for some odd reason, the closer they got to our car, the queasier I felt. In a split of a second, I found the boys approaching our car in a faster pace, one raced to the left while the other ran to the right … and out of nowhere they placed their arms into the car. Unfortunately, the boy on my side grabbed my breast badly, while luckily my friend escaped the grab because she turned around to look at me. We immediately stepped out of the car swearing at the boys and yelling for anyone to try and catch them, but everyone looked at us as if we were two crazy girls. Not one person bothered to come and help us out, and the teenagers just disappeared among hundreds of people. We couldn’t leave the car in the middle of the street and start chasing them around Cairo. So, defeated we stepped back into the car and drove away in slow motion.

My heart was beating very fast, I was shaking and cried for hours. I couldn’t digest what had happened to me, I kept blaming myself for not trusting my instinct, for not closing the window, for not running after the boy… many thoughts were racing through my mind. For a whole week, I played the scene over and over again in my head, trying to figure out how I could have avoided this from happening. I felt violated, defeated and helpless. The worst thing of it all, I felt that my feelings were too exaggerated in comparison to people’s reaction to my story. No one could relate to me and all condolences seemed very distant and detached.

Sooner than later, I realized that it was not my fault and the severity of the incident dissipated by time. I talked and still talk openly about my harassment experience, I was never ashamed to share my story, and I believe this was key to my healing.
However, from thereon my car window remained closed.

2 Responses to “From thereon my car window remained closed”

  1. Well… I never really understood the whole harassment phenomenon in Egypt, and whether its increasing or has it been like that since forever.. what are the reasons.. is it psychological, is it education or is it something else… Is it the women or is it men ?!… I wish I could have answers to those questions…

    Anyways… I really admire your courage, I don’t think I would’ve been able to speak freely about it if I was a gurl lol :D
    And I guess keepin’ your window closed is a good decision after all, you can never be too careful you know, Stay safe in the streets of our beloved country.

  2. I feel so sorry for you that I am crying. ;(

    Nevertheless, hearing that you want to change the situation, I am happy. If more Egyptian women start thinking the way you do, it will definitely be the beginning of the end to the discrimination against them.

    I’m with you. (hug)

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