Thursday, 9 June 2016

What justice?

So I was raped.

I thought with all the amount of robbery attempts and sexual harassment that I have dealt with so far, I am more capable to cope and deal with it.
This time, I felt the loss of control on everything, including my own body. It took me few days to be able to say it out loud and face it, I am still not ready to answer questions, or talk about details. I managed to answer some questions: No, it wasn’t someone I knew. Yes, I am doing okay more or less. No, I didn’t go to the police. Yes, I did see a gynecologist. No, I didn’t tell my parents. Yes, I told close friends. No, there isn’t much that you could do to make it better. Yes, being around is enough of a support. Yes, it was more damaging than I expected to ever be. No, this is not the end of anything.

The hardest part was dealing with the feelings that I was not ready to deal with. Feelings of guilt then followed by anger. You know what I was feeling guilty about? Guilt about walking alone at night, guilt about taking cabs instead of learning how to drive and taking the car… I felt guilty for being reckless and always wanting to challenge this society, I have always felt that the public space is not mine, that I was a guest in a world built for men and specific men.

I wanted to challenge it, which is why I insisted to take cabs and buses no matter how many guns and knives were pointed at me and no matter how much harassment I have to face. Which is why I wanted to walk alone at night, because why my brother can walk and it is normal, safe, but if I walk alone at night; it is the most revolutionary thing to do?
This is why I no longer want to be apologetic while discussing feminism and how I chose to fight. I am taking back spaces, and no, it is not that simple for my brother to understand, because I am reminded every day that the price could be my life, my physical, emotional, mental health.
The second hardest thing to do was deciding if I wanted to go to the police or not.
Actually for me it was very clear that I didn’t want to do to the police, I have though felt guilt over the idea that reporting the incident to the police might create a small possibility of preventing these men to attack other women. The reason why I refused to go to the police was not simply because the officers themselves often sexually harassed me and that I was never able to get justice through them without huge power dynamics and lack of trust. The most thing I didn’t needed was answering stupid questions that would make me feel more responsible for the assault that happened to me or have enough energy to educate them on what to ask and what not to ask or argue back. Police are here to protect the ruling class who never put the well-being of women and other oppressed categories as a priority; on the contrary it has always been a tool to make sure we remain oppressed. A shitty organized tool can’t give me justice about another shitty thing that happened.
Having my body get invaded without feeling that I could have justice is such a horrible thing. Getting revenge on these individuals wouldn’t satisfy me, it was not about specific people who are “sick”. I get harassed almost on daily basis, I lived my life every day in fear, it became obvious that this is not only about “individuals” and any solution focused only on individuals is not enough for me as justice.
I want to smash patriarchy.
I couldn’t write an Arabic because I felt I would be more exposed, I couldn’t understand why for a while but then I realized that I wouldn’t want my mother to stumble on it and read. Oh, yeah. Realizing how hard it was to talk about it because of how others still tackle rape and sexual harassment made me angrier. A friend wrote an article about my incident and I spent days at work listening to women and men saying “how dumb that girl was to walk at night alone without something in her hand to protect herself”, “I hope the people who raped her were good looking at least”, “what was she doing walking there anyway?” … without them knowing that the person they are talking about was sitting next to them on the table.

Written in April.