Yesterday someone asked me what was my dearest wish for this year. I said I wish I could run alone on the streets of Rabat without being looked upon like a sexual object, without hearing the annoying remarks and advances of men ranging from filthy homeless ones to the apparently good looking allegedly civilized ones. I wish I could run freely at any hour of the day without having to shrink my running time because my heart rate was going up and down because of fear and insecurity. I wish I could run whenever I wanted to, instead of waiting for my parents to come home at 8PM and tell me they’re too tired to keep me company, or wait for the week end to be able to finally run around the forest, where guards are there and still… men don’t miss a chance to put a word in edgewise anyway.
Every once in a while, I really wish I was not a girl in a predominantly Arab-muslim country. For too long, we have heard about the sexual harassment causes and the spread of awareness… what men only take from that is that women want to go naked on the streets and still be respected. Yet… what we only want is freedom. Freedom to go to the Grocery store and not feel like a random piece of meat. Freedom to have the grades we deserve or validation of our class at school without having to have sex with a filthy unjust teacher. Freedom to have a decent job without being harassed by the boss for desire of a promotion…
No… I don’t want to go out on the streets and show my breasts. Respect is only moral. Whether you wear a t-shirt or a burka, if a man is vicious he will stay vicious for the rest of his life. If a man chooses to care about his business, ain’t no piece of sexual meat going talk his eyes out of his business. Yet, vested or not, a woman will stay a women… I mean some sort of box emptier for men’s libido and lust.
This whole argument was not even about clothes. I am speaking on my behalf only. Not being able to run when I want to, where I want to, ruins my training and ruins my ambitions… it destroys the very wish I have to get better at what I do. It’s a metaphor of life. It destroys every potential, every energy I have to burst out and excel in what I love and cherish the most. Women will never get better at what they do as long as they are obstacles that hurt them in the core of their being, making them uncomfortable even when having to accept what there sex is.
A woman will be a mother one day, of a girl, of a boy… She will never teach them equality and respect unless there is security.
My only wish is to run one day… alone, free, and secure.