#MeToo: Jordanian women share their sexual harassment stories


Published: 2017-10-16 17:12

Last Updated: 2017-10-16 20:59

Editor: Dala Alhindi

Women across the world are subjected to sexual harassment on a daily basis. (Tumblr)
Women across the world are subjected to sexual harassment on a daily basis. (Tumblr)
Roya News Source

Women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed are tweeting "me too" to show how widespread the problem is.

"Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem," the actress Alyssa Milano tweeted on Sunday. "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she added.

The “me too" hashtag has since gone viral, and has been used more than 200,000 times since Sunday night.

Women across the world are subjected to sexual harassment, and Jordan is no exception, with a high number of cases going unreported. A local study revealed that one in two female survivors of sexual assault in Jordan hesitate to file a complaint against their offenders out of fear of shame or scandal.

One woman spoke to Ro’ya about the first time she was sexually harassed when she was only 12, by a man in his late twenties. The man followed her and her sister, and when they sped up their pace, so did he. They stopped to let him pass, but he too stopped and grabbed her behind. She screamed and ran away.

“I can’t walk without looking over my shoulder and feeling extremely paranoid if a man walks past me, regardless of their age”, she said.

Unfortunately this incident is not unique. Another woman who offered to share her story, told Ro’ya: “I was walking in downtown in broad daylight, and a man stood in front of me, took off his pants and started touching himself while looking at me. I was shocked and ran away.”

“One time I got my a** grabbed by what looked to be an 11-12 year old kid as he was walking by, and he turned back and made a disgusting kissy face,” yet another woman told Ro’ya. “The saddest thing was that the behavior was clearly learned, as he was too young to have done something like this without seeing it from older men,” she added.

Despite the prevalence of sexual harassment in the kingdom, access to official research and statistics on street harassment in Jordan is hard to come by, and the Jordanian Penal Code does little to help prevent the problem.

Article 306 is listed among issues to do with “seduction, obscenity, and violating the sanctity of women’s-only places,” but does not offer a specific definition for sexual harassment.

Instead, it stipulates that acts or speech violating “modesty” are punishable either by a fine or a prison term of up to six months, but leaves it as undefined, ambiguous term.

However, headway has been made in protecting women from sexual attacks. Earlier this year, the lower house of Jordan’s parliament voted this year to eliminate article 308, which allows rape charges to be dropped as long as the rapist marries their victim and stays married for at least five years.