Manal’s Personal Story
This is a personal story from Manal, a Karazer from the community, who felt she wanted to share her experiences of being a woman in the Middle East. The ups, the downs, the lessons learned.
It was the first day of July, it was sunny and warm. My friend and I were going to town (Al-Balad) to go shopping and then eat lunch somewhere. The streets were crowded and my friend wanted to go to this shop that was located in Al-Hisbeh, where they sell the fruit and vegetables.
I remember the smell of that street, a mixture of the sweet fruit scent with the smell of fresh bread coming from the baker at end of that street with a heavy odor of stinking sweat.
There were a lot of people mainly young men standing there, looking at you as if you are literally a piece of meat. Those looks on their faces that completely dehumanize you.
While walking down that street I was groped twice and verbally harassed about 15 times. But this is normal. All women get harassed almost daily. And this is a very small example of what happens.
I have been through much worse and I am sure you all have at one point. It does not matter how you act. It does not matter how you look like because if you’re a women you will get harassed anyway.
I can’t help but feel that in this society women are not entitled to freedom or to experience life on their own. We are brought up to believe that a women’s role is to serve others and make men happy.
We are trained to be obedient and submissive so that we can please the husband who will choose us one day. We are being prepared to be a bride to be won in a lottery one day.
Falling in self-pity for being a girl, I despised men for being the supernatural creature they are made to be. I don’t remember if I was only 13 or 14 when I started experiencing harassment on one side, and discrimination for being a girl on the other side, but all I remember is that I grew up hating men so much that I promised myself I would never get married.