Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, I finally got groped

There's one other Arabian cultural experience Jeremy will never get to have: being sexually harassed. This comes to mind because on Thursday, some guy - brushed? groped? touched? I'm new to this so I'm still searching for the right word - my boob. Sorry to put it so indecorously, but really, there's nothing decorous about the incident.

It happened as I was exiting the metro with both girls in tow. Somehow I've managed to spend almost two years in the Middle East unscathed as far as gropings go, but when it did happen, my two kids were with me. Of course. I had Magdalena in my arms and Miriam by the hand and we were trying to exit the metro car at the same time people were pushing to get on. We made it out, but amid the bustling crowd as I passed close to a guy entering the car, I felt and saw a distinct and intentional, uh, grabbing. Ooh, it makes me mad again just thinking about it.

The good thing is that, in response, I shoved him. YES, I did. Right there in public in front of everyone, with my two kids with me. Heck, the arm I used to do it was also holding Magdalena at the time. Mr. Harasser is the only one who knows for sure why I did it. I'll let the other passers by take a guess. I'm sure they can figure it out.

I've been steeling myself for this eventuality (because if you're a western woman and you spend enough time in the Middle East, an incident like this is just that) since we first went to Syria in 2004, so I actually don't feel as violated as I expected. I'm more just sad that my "winning streak," as it were, is now over.

You know what else mitigates my disgust? Besides this incident, considering my ride on the metro as a whole, I experienced nothing but men behaving like gentlemen. A young man gave up his seat for me immediately (that's why I was in the mixed car in the first place, for better seating chances, but in retrospect it was a bad decision), then spent the rest of the ride entertaining my kids. When we were struggling against the crowd to get off the train, a few men helped people get out of our way so we could pass. They really were on their best behavior, except for that one guy.

Still, it's the ladies-only car for me from here on out. This is one cultural experience I don't want to have ever again.


Susanne said...

Aw, I'm sorry this happened to you. Good for you shoving the guy. I hope you gave him a really mean look too!

Thanks for also telling about the GOOD and helpful gentlemen you've met.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Great for shoving him. If your arm had been free you could have elbowed him in the face. And it's nice to know this guy is atypical of Egyptian men.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for shoving the guy! I'm really sorry this had to happen at all, of course, but since it did, it's great that you were able to shove him. I have pretty lousy reflexes, so I never managed to shove or hit anyone on the occasions I was groped. The best I ever managed to do was yell insults in Arabic at some obnoxious preteen who was no doubt emulating his father and/or older brothers by grabbing my behind.


Liz Johnson said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry. I've had my butt grabbed several times while overseas, but I can't recall any boob-grabbing, which is infinitely more violating. I'm so glad that you shoved him, and I'm glad to hear that most of the other guys were totally respectful. It really only takes one sour apple to spoil the view of a bunch, huh? Blech.

Fromagette said...

The closest I've been to being groped was with "brick wall boy" (remember him?). I thought that was uncomfortable, but I can hardly imagine what your experience would have been like. Good job shoving him. I hope he learns his lesson.

breanne said...

I'm glad you were quick enough to shove him. Maybe he will think twice next time. I only got groped once when I was in the Middle East...and it happened to be in Cairo. Blech.

Merkley Jiating said...

Oh gross. That's unfortunate. I am really glad you shoved him though.

About responding to blog comments on the other person's blog: I have never met a person who does not like comments. I feel like commenting on your own blog is a way of boosting your own stats. Especially if you do it between every comment (as one of my friends does). It makes sense to keep it as a message board though. Sometimes, if I think other people will care about my response, I will write the comment on my blog as well as their own. I don't have very much time I want to spend reading blogs and I feel like going back to read blogs I've already read is a very poor use of that time. I have a BlackBerry so I don't want to subscribe to comments otherwise my phone would be buzzing all night and then Sam would kill me. I guess my blog doesn't incite very many discussions so this isn't necessary. However, an interesting blog such as yours has discussions often so I can see why you would do it the way you do.

B-Rad said...

What was the guy's reaction to you shoving him? Did anyone else say or do anything?

Bridget said...

B-Rad, I didn't even see. I shoved him as he was stepping onto the metro and then the doors closed. Like I said, I'm sure no one saw the groping but me. I'm sure people saw the shoving. I bet some of them could guess what happened. If I had been in a more open space I could have yelled and I bet a swarm of old muhajjibas would have come to my rescue.

Nancy said...

Yeah. The one time I got groped in the ME I was pushing a stroller and was a billion weeks pregnant. I was like, "You think this is hot? What?"

Kidding. I was mad.

But as far as sexual harassment goes, the ME isn't bad. I mean...Russia? I would say it was about a weekly thing to be physically touched wrong. I even got peed on once by a guy that I told off on a bus...anyways...

I'm sorry that happened. :(


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