No, my ripped jeans do not allow you to believe that it is your right to harass and rape me

Published: November 8, 2017
SHARES
Email

On November 3, 2017, Egyptian lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, stated that any woman wearing ripped jeans deserves to be harassed and raped.

They are just clothes, I tell my father, when he passes a comment about my ripped jeans. He doesn’t understand – perhaps he never will. I run my hands along the tiny rips, feeling bits of skin and wondering if the freedom I feel is the oppression they want me to see. I see my legs in a pair of jeans, they see skin that is fighting the patriarchy. I see my choice, they see my rebellion.

On November 3, 2017, Egyptian lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, stated that any woman wearing ripped jeans deserves to be harassed and raped. He passed more disgusting comments while on the show Infrad, suggesting that women who dress a certain way deserve to be raped. Wahsh is a known conservative, but it’s still shocking to see such comments from someone whose profession requires him to be a champion for the freedom of his people.

I’m sitting here, reading this news and questioning if this is the world I live in or if the news is simply playing a horrible joke on me. I read further and find out that no, this is indeed the truth. This is the world I live in, even though I don’t want it to be.

Wahsh claimed that men have a national duty to harass women who dress in ripped jeans. This all goes back to the misogynistic society that many Muslim countries have built their beliefs upon. No, my clothes do not call for harassment. The length of my t-shirt is not a sign for you to come on to me. The rips on my jeans do not allow you to believe that it is your right to rape me.

When you come from a country like Pakistan, rape is nothing new. On any given day, you can turn on the news and see numerous rape stories that occurred on that very day. Rape is taking away the dignity of another human being. Rape is telling the world that you do not care about the value of choice. Rape is a reminder that gender equality may never exist. Rape is telling the world that you see humans as bodies, and nothing else. So to hear someone say that a woman should be raped for something she is wearing is crushing, savage and brutal.

In Egypt, it is no different. Rape is one of the most common crimes in the country. Marital rape is not illegal. It may not be in the top 10 countries with the highest rape statistics, but comments like these suggest that it could be.

Wahsh passed the following statement,

“I say that when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her.”

What does “patriotic duty” have anything to do with a woman’s clothing? How can one even conceive that something like rape and national duty can go hand in hand? Wahsh, there is a special place in hell for people like you. For a lawyer, you clearly have no ethics or sense of justice.

Why do we live in a place where men have to constantly put women down to bring themselves up? Are some of these men so insecure that they need constant reminders that they are better by pretending that women are inferior? The belief that a man can tell a woman what to wear is the downfall of humans. The power play that so many men believe they need to reinstate is completely backwards. I see it every day in Karachi. And I know that women in Egypt see it as well.

A woman is never asking for rape. If you had any semblance of an education, Wahsh, you would know that. Who said that a girl doesn’t respect herself if she wears ripped jeans? In fact, your respect is not something anyone would need or want. A woman’s respect lies in how she carries herself, how she interacts with others; it has nothing to do with the clothing, or lack of, on her body. Women in burqas get harassed and raped as well. Male rape is just as rampant in our society. If a man was wearing shorts, would you claim that he was inviting rape? No. Because apparently his body is his choice, and a woman’s isn’t, right?

Calling on people to rape women, and further, defining that as an act of patriotic sentiment, is sickening to the core. To all the women in Egypt who had to read about this, I am sorry. I am sorry that we live in a world where your voice is ignored over someone like Wahsh’s. I am sorry that we live in a place where people are allowed to speak this way.

As I finish reading the article, I notice that I have ripped jeans on. Ironic? Coincidence? Or maybe a reminder – a reminder that I can define my own freedom. That I can give value to my choices. A reminder that I am not oppressed. But also a reminder that so many women out there are.

I run my hands along the tiny rips across my jeans, letting them set me free.

Maheen Humayun

Maheen Humayun

The writer studied Literature and Creative Writing from John Cabot University in Rome. She is the author of the novella Special. She is currently a sub-editor at Tribune. She blogs at karachiiloveyou.wordpress.com/ and tweets @MaheenHumayun

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • reza

    this person comment is purely condemnable but writers argues are not justifying as well. “A woman’s respect lies in how she carries herself, how she interacts with others; it has nothing to do with the clothing” dear writer a women respect actually lies in clothing she wear. its not about backward thinking but about the ethics set by Islam.Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    I liked how India wasnt even in the top 10 of that list but pakistan was!Recommend

  • KlingOn2K

    Ripped jeans looks so good on women. This lawyer is just a misogynist who does not think women are equal to men.Recommend

  • Dina

    Pakistan Can never be compared to a hindu/non muslim country, We like how you take so much interest in Pakistan when you dear india is rampant with rape and injustice when it comes to women. Kindly pay more attention to what goes on in your own backyard rather than pinpointing fingers at countries/societies you have no concern with.Recommend

  • vinsin

    More than 99% of women from Egypt get sexually harassed which is highest in the world.
    Even though I support your views but they are against Islam and TNT. If rape is wrong then slavery too should be wrong. And then slavery of non-Muslim or non-Burkha women should also be wrong. A survey in Norway showed otherwise, that Muslim women relate rape to clothing. In Majority of Muslim Countries it is the rape victim who get punished, has no rape laws and almost zero conviction.Recommend

  • Lionel Messi

    Dressing has everything to do with respect. I mean, even if a girl roaming naked on the streets doesn’t give others right to rape her, but its a perfect recipe for disaster when you place everything available to induce rape.Recommend

  • Fahim

    no to harassment but equally no to ripped jeans. Big big no to RapeRecommend

  • vinsin

    But India rape rate is among the lowest with highest conviction rate. What more can be done?

    Why are you showing so much concern to India, arent you proving his point? Indians never write articles about rape rate of any countries as much as Pakistani do about India.Recommend

  • Xyz

    In most cases when women have been molested, It had nothing to do with what they wore but everything to do with the rapist’s lack of humanity and low self esteem.Recommend

  • Thinker

    Pakistan has higher number of rapes per capita than India despite underreporting.Recommend

  • ab

    asking what more can be done shows that’t it. It shows your helplessness. you are happy with your destiny. The concern is that you don’t want to reduce it and my concern is that you consider no rape society as a myth. convictions and legislation will never reduce it.Recommend

  • vinsin

    The position of India would still remain the same. Rest of the things I never said, you are putting your words, thinking and helplessness in my mouth.Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    why are you concerned when your own country is way ahead in rapes (as shown in your own article)Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    dont talk logic with him, he is too islamic to understand simple logicRecommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    Prove ItRecommend

  • ab

    apparently you are happy with what rape crises in India is.All the measures have been taken. good luckRecommend

  • ab

    soooo!, LOL, the article also says all Pakistani men are rapist.Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    you lier, where did it say all pakistani men are rapists? show me the exact line or apologiseRecommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    again, as a pakistani, you worry about your rape and jihadi suicide bomber crisis, india is miles ahead of pakistan, and ALWAYS will beRecommend

  • Memona

    But India is the most widely-rape-talked about country in this world and have had the honor of some of the most brutal barbaric rapes in the modern history.Recommend

  • Memona

    Aren’t Indians already begging in these jihadi Muslim countries to earn their livings even though these countries are at war? Also hindus shouldn’t talk about Islamic countries women when you used to burn widows along with their dead husbands and still widows are treated as a disease in India. Your politicians proudly talk about raping women in India. Who does that?Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    this is from 2010 my propaganda boy, pakistan is the worst in 2017! stop living in the past, or maybe you are too “muslim” to understand thisRecommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    this is the same old report that i exposed you for in the previous comment my boy!Recommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    I Do Realize That Sanghis Have A Hard Time Accepting Realities Of Their Beloved Bharat Mata .But You Should Be Careful What You Ask For Kid Here Os 2017(27% Increase)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2014/12/16/crime-against-women-india_n_6330736.htmlRecommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    Yes The Things India Is Miles Ahead In Pakistan Is More Than Happy To Be Behind InRecommend

  • vinsin

    wikipediaRecommend

  • vinsin

    Not true. Only in Pakistan. Tell atleast 10 most brutal barbric rapes in the modern history.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Nope Indians are not begging in Syria, Yemen etc. No one used to burn widows. No Indian politician claimed proud on raping women.Recommend

  • vinsin

    There is no rape crisis in India. India is among the countries with lowest rape rate in the world with highest conviction. Islam cannot be banned in India to reduce rape rates.

    World has to reach level of India. You take all the measures.Recommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    How Reliable LOLRecommend

  • Sane

    Then what an 18 months old baby and 100 old woman in India were wearing, when they were raped.Recommend

  • Sane

    Baseless and illogical old rhetoric. India is becoming a society of rapists and murderers (internationally known). Correct yourself instead of indulging in an argument.Recommend

  • Sane

    You live in a shell having no knowledge about Indian history and present. Better keep sleeping.Recommend

  • Sane

    Yes, per capita, per thousand, per million. Only this remains your argument instead of correcting your society.Recommend

  • Sane

    Because Indian rape rate is rampant and society in in general has no remorse. This has become international issue. Even your govt. is supportive of rapes.Recommend

  • vinsin

    How? India is among the countries with lowest rape rates with highest conviction rate. Provide evidence otherwise. India has half the murder rate than that of Pakistan.Recommend

  • vinsin

    What do you want to prove? Why so much concern about India and what they wear?Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    yes we are, and in 10 years these will be begging to work here, nothing special to boast aboutRecommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    im sure pakistan is an internationally respected countryRecommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    then why is your country on the list and not mine!Recommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    I Can Come Up With Dozens Of Such Lists From Fringe Websites From Much More Credible Sources.
    You Got One Such List Where Pakistan Is Somehow On It and India Is Not
    And You’re Dancing On It Pathetic

    Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    muslimsRecommend

  • ThePrincekhan999
  • ThePrincekhan999
  • ThePrincekhan999

    Your Modi Can’t Even Create Enough Jobs For You Indians And You Dream Of Muslims Come Begging To Work For You????

    As Of Now You Beg For Work In GCCRecommend

  • Agha

    Utterly disgusting human being. Pathetic “lawyer”.Recommend

  • Hassan Mirza

    he is stupid you don’t need to be in ripped jeans to get harass and rape you need to be in Hollywood man or women get harass and rape .Recommend

  • Utsav Sharma

    and pakistanis beg for medical treatment in indiaRecommend

  • vinsin

    Then update the wikipedia and tell us the most reliable source as per you.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Which part of Indian history and present as wrong? Why do I keep sleeping?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Same politicians also made Rape as a crime in India. It is the law that matters at the end of the day. Politicians also make statement for votes, that doesnt prove anything.

    I can give statements like those from politicians around the world.Recommend

  • vinsin

    25% is the highest conviction rate in the world. Pakistan has zero. Which world do you live in? None of those article contradict any of my statement.Recommend