Sunday, October 01, 2006

Will you just let me walk in peace?

An interesting article in today's Gulf News about sexual assault in the UAE.

I grew up in the UAE, and it's kind of sad when you realise that most girls end up growing accustomed to getting stared at, no matter what they are wearing. This behaviour, as despicable as it is, is a fact of life here in the Emirates. But what's even more despicable is when the staring turns into acts of lewdness. I have witnessed and heard so many's sickening really!

Consider these:

- We were walking out of a restaurant one evening, my sister, a couple of female friends, and myself. A car slows down, the man rolls down his window, his friend is sitting next to him. They start waving a stack of bills in front of us, asking "how much". I went nuts, and started screaming at them, in Arabic. You should have seen the shock on their faces when they found out we were Arabs. They drove away quickly.
Along the same lines, my sister, a friend and I were waiting for a taxi on Hamdan street in Abu Dhabi, and some guys pass by in front of us asking "fee shoghol" (meaning are you working?). Again, we scream at them...they walk away from us quickly.

- My sister was waiting for my dad to pick her up in front of her friend's house. She sees a man across the street, who starts touching himself, right then and there, in broad daylight. My sister freaks out of course, and goes running back inside the house.

- My friend, who had just arrived in Dubai, asks a taxi driver if she can smoke in the car. He says yes, but only if you sit in the front seat. She naively accepts. The driver starts telling her how beautiful she is, and starts touching himself. My poor traumatised friend could not do anything. The guy was driving on Sheikh Zayed road and she could not stop anywhere. She just called a friend, and stayed on the phone until she reached her destination. She threw the money at the cab driver and ran out. I wouldn't have even paid the guy, and I defintely would have taken his license place number and reported him....but she was too shocked to think of doing any of this.

- When we were in high school, the school bus would drop us off a couple of meters away from the house. On several occasions, a man would be lurking around, waiting for my sister to come home. He tried talking to her several times. My sister told my father, who then started waiting for my sister to walk her home. He saw the guy once, and threatened to call the police if he kept harassing her. He stopped coming.

- Just a couple of nights ago, as I was walking from my car to our building, a car slows down, the man rolls down his window, and he starts yelling his phone number repeatedly, telling me "you are most beautiful woman". I just ignored him and kept on walking.

And so on and so forth...the list is endless! It's really sickening.


neurotic_wife said...

I aint shocked. I get that all the time too. A few days ago, I was heading to my parents house for iftar when a guy started whistling and doing "psst, psst" noises..Imgaine the nerve of him and in Ramadhan too!!! So I freaked out and shouted at him "matistihee???Haram 3alaik, moo hatha shahar ramadhan, istaghfir rabbak" he was shocked and I just left. The idiot. Ughhhh, they get on my nerves...

sky said...

" number repeatidly"
Oh my god, the horror of your spelling mistake :p


It really is sickening as you say. After all these years here you'd think we'd have gotten used to it. But it is just gross.

Abha said...

Ugh, I have a few stories in Dubai too. In Spain though it's a whole different ballgame. Here you are walking on the street and you will get comments: 'Guappa'(beautiful), 'preciosa' (precious), 'morena'(dark skinned beauty) and shockingly it doesn't bother me at all, sometimes even brings a smile.

Infact, these days if I don't get a comment, I wonder 'what's wrong with me today!' Weird huh. As long as you don't entertain them, they are no harm, and Spanish men are pretty hot. Guess thats the difference. Hmm dunno.

Perhaps it's to do with the freedom of expression and sexuality here. You know the men aren't restricted from doing anything here, so as much as they may be desperate, they are not that desperate.And you will never see any of them feeling themselves around you!

moryarti said...

@neurotic: well done..

secretdubai said...

I've had "are you Russian?" more than a few times.

Can someone please translate neurotic's retort? It sounds useful!

Anonymous said...

Yep, i've experienced the very same taxi incident, various beach incidents where men have decided to flash themselves and of course the usual 'are you russian/how much' scenario.

We're all proof that these episodes are unfortunately very much the norm.

Dubai Sunshine said...

SD, Neurotic's retort meant something along the lines of:
"Aren't you ashamed of yourself? Shame on you, it's Ramadan...". I don't know how to translate the last part "istaghfir rabbak"....

I wanted to tell the guy who was giving me his phone number to respect himself, especially since it's Ramadan...but then I just decided to ignore him.

Sky, I will fix that mistake. Miss Thesaurus :)

neurotic_wife said...

"istaghfir Rabbak" means ask forgiveness from your maker. SD you know what else works??? Throwing your trainers on them,lol...That will give them a fright. ;-)

moryarti, thanx...

Mme Cyn said...

Abha -- I'm with you. I'm a fat, middle-aged blonde who never wears anything that anyone would call provocative, and even I get more than my share of it here. Ugh. I don't go to certain beaches any more 'cuz I get too many guys floating on their backs in my direction, 'flags waving' so to speak. Yet in Italy or Greece, I'm flattered by the attention. I guess being called "Bellisima" is a lot different from being used like a Playboy centerfold.

Dubai Sunshine said...

Mme Cyn and Abha, you touched upon an interesting point. I don't think any woman doesn't feel flattered when a man tells her she is beautiful, no matter who the man is. It's really the way it's done that makes all the difference. There's the sleezy way, and there's the charming way....and unfortunately, here, it's all about sleeze!

sky said...

What is wrong with your spelling...
"sleeze" ?? Haven't I taught you anything?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but at least you can walk to your car in a parking lot without being attacked at knife-point and left for dead; your children can go to school and come home alive without fear of being shot, raped, mugged for their phone or lunch money; you, or your husbands can go to the office at 7:00 a.m. and not be shot dead before you can even get a coffee!

I lived, taught English, and had a wonderful social life full of friends and family for nearly 7 years in Doha...visited Dubai several times... and yes, what you are saying is true, and happens to nearly every female at least once or twice.
BUT, I was back home in nice safe Canada in a city of less than 1,000,000 people for 3 months, and there were 6 murders!and God alone knows how many random attacks and attempted break-ins. I was SO unprepared for that level of violence, I never left the house for weeks!

I'll take the Gulf anyday, thanks.

Jin said...

Next time you get approached by a man in a car, walk towards him, smile & say in a very polite voice that you are an officer working in the vice squad. Check his smile disappear then!

Anonymous said...

It is rediculous this place! Recently my wife was approached in such a manner outside our apartment in Sheikh Sayed Road. She told me what had happened and I went looking for the guy and found him! I struggled with him and wrestled him to the ground, while my wife called the police. Other people were just starring and not doing anything. What a bunch of idiots! Anyways, the police arrived and arrested the fool! They were not really impressed with my menthods but said that it was okay given the circumstances. So all you guys out there. Stand up for your woman and don't let this element in Dubaiget to them.....

Anonymous said...


As-Salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu.

Hope you and your family are well In Imaan and health by the Rahmah of Arahman.

While I was googling, I ran to this blog of yours. Read through and it really hurts to see how the ummah became so weak in terms of controlling desires and lust. Isn't Islam the best teacher to teach how to control these behaviors?

N e ways, dear sister in Islam, i have a right over you in terms of giving you an advise and to those who read this.

Please know its very harmful to speak about everything that happens to you daily. I do not blog because i know all the harmful things that comes from it. We live in a time Allah(Swt) is sorting people of jannah and people of jahannam (wal'3iyaadu billah).

Technology came to destory some people and some people(practing muslims-learning the deen or using it to spread the deen) take advantage of it.

My beloved sister in Islam, i advise you to do not blog about everything that happens to you. At least blog about Islam and spread it or rep it.

The brothers you talked about on this blog are muslims. We all make mistakes, but we do not have any right to talk about them and call them names or give other people a reason to call them names. This is considered Slander In Islam even though what they did was haram. We should be protecting the faults of our ummah not exposing to this sad world of today.

Just plz ponder this advise and by speaking about these events, look at this comments box and see how many people you allow them to speak. Make dua for them, do not talk about them. Insha'Allah.

This is your brother In ISlam all the way from toronto. By chance i came to your blog but if i left without leaving an advise, i'd be more guilty infront of Allah(Swt) for I have been given knowledge to spread.

p.s btw, istaqfurak rabbak=Ask forgivness of your Rabb, Allah(Swt), not maker-this is weak word to use when trying to mention Allah(Swt).

if you feel this was not proper, forgive me and let me know at

wa 3lykumu Salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu

Anonymous said...

Well you got the point missy !! i guess you should spend your life in seclusion!
Men like to comment !! Just listen to the comments !! Surely there will be one that yells from one's heart !! like you say phone number yelling
Cheers :)

Muslim said...

Implement real sharia laws to restrain males and insha Allah success will come. Equal rights will apear and good character will be displayed.

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