M’sian Hijabis Share Heartbreaking Stories Of Sexual Assault & Harassment
Only a handful of sexual harassment cases are reported, compared to the number of times it actually happened. It’s no wonder why.
When it comes to sexual assault, the victim always takes the blame, no matter what. When women are sexually harassed or assaulted, the first thing we’re usually asked is “What were you wearing?” and perhaps “Did you behave suggestively?
The truth is, the way you’re dressed doesn’t prevent sexual harassment. Women on Twitter are speaking up about when they were sexually harassed and assaulted while wearing the the hijab, and the most heartbreaking part is some of this incidents happened whilst they were in school uniform. That means our children aren’t safe from predators, even if they’re covered up. Twitter user @nowmytaleistold started the conversation and then the floodgates opened.
Hmmm. I wonder, any girls who have been harassed while wearing the hijab? I'm not trying to be nosy, I'm just curious.
— Ethan (@nowmytaleistold) April 17, 2019
In quoted tweets and replies, women of all ages began sharing their horror stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault even whilst they were wearing the hijab.
I was flashed at a couple of weeks ago and I was groped and constantly hit on while in Makkah :)))
— LIS (@aqilahnaqlis) April 19, 2019
Dude ngl. A man shamelessly stroke my cheeks and making creepy remarks when I was wearing tudung. Never had anyone do that to me when I went free hair.
— Hani (@hkii45) April 17, 2019
I was in the train. Suddenly, i felt something poking me from behind. When I turned around, I saw a guy clad in jubah & kopiah standing behind me. So, I moved & he kept following me, despite the train being packed. Then I saw the ‘thing’ that poked me – it was his erect penis. https://t.co/Cg3XNRVr4e
— S (@cleopratha) April 23, 2019
Masa ambil ujian memandu. Bodoh punya cikgu tua “saya ajar ni kena sentuh-sentuh. Anggap saya ni ayah awak”.
— Qila (@qilalaqimy) April 20, 2019
I have. Just last month, tbh. In the LRT whilst on my way to work. I was wearing my baju kurung and tudung basal which covers my chest. A man touched me inappropriately until I arrived at my station. 😥
— Maisarah Radhi (@maimaimai95) April 17, 2019
my mom. she was in a jam-packed ktm when she felt something hard protruded behind her. he gesel gesel 🤢 she freezed out of shock and nothing came out of her mouth because she was so scared. by the time she reached her station, her baju kurung was wet. https://t.co/uF8ZXIzpcZ
— Aliyyah (@allmyyo) April 22, 2019
When i was 13 walking home from school, i was approached by a man on a motorcycle. He was asking me something. I thought he's asking for directions so i attend to him. Then he whispered to me to 'ajak main'. Even offered me money. Mind that i was in school uniform, hijab and all
— syahira. (@syahiraistired) April 22, 2019
I remembered one time I came back from work. I was riding motorbike, with oversized hoodie, dark visor helmet. Suddenly a guy with motorbike also came next to me and touched my breast. Then he laughed and went away. I was shaking to death and ride so fast till I reached home.
— ekynjefry (@ekynjefry) April 21, 2019
Didn't happen to me but to my classmate in standard 4. She wore tudung labuh as she reached puberty, meaning her boobs started growing.
Our cina math teacher (Mr. Lam) liked to usap2 her arm, comforting her (homework stuff) & slowly moving to her shoulders, chest and waist. https://t.co/NzpEdt7YCE
— 𝕀𝕟𝕥𝕒𝕟 𝕊𝕦𝕣𝕪𝕒𝕟𝕚 (@inalvintan) April 23, 2019
Flashed and had men rub their junk against me countless times while I was a hijabi schoolgirl. Half the time I was either in school uniform or my father’s shirt and pants (tak boleh memakai baju nampak bentuk badan untuk aktiviti kokurikulum)
— Nadia Nazir (@Nadia_Nazir) April 17, 2019
I was harassed when I was form 5. Wearing my school uniform (kurung and tudung). Was on a bus ride home and this guy beside me trying to grope me by poking my side. Trying to get a distance but it was mini bus, terpaksa hadap sampai 3 stops. https://t.co/ayJqxckiqO
— intanfzl (@nrfrzhfzl) April 23, 2019
There are countless more heartbreaking stories in the Twitter thread. One thing is for sure, the hijab cannot and will not protect a women from sexual assault. More often than not, the perpetrator is a man.
Just last week in Bangladesh, a 19-year-old student was burned to death for filing a sexual harassment report against her headmaster. She was wearing the hijab. These were her last words:
“The teacher touched me, I will fight this crime till my last breath.” – Nusrat Jahan Rafi.
On a positive note, some women in the thread have recounted that they received support to lodge a police report against the men who harassed them.
I was molested at the age of 14, omw to taekwondo class (tudung and full uniform), by anak ustaz (gerai air) next to my mom’s gerai (my mom tgh sibuk berniaga at that time) my mom later on made a police report, he was thrown in jail and his family (all ustaz/ustazah) bailed—
— ✧✧ (@snugdeal3r) April 22, 2019
We managed to get in touch with Ethan (a.k.a. @nowmytaleistold) for a quick update. It started as a mere question. The many replies and recounts of women’s experiences were unexpected, and eye-opening.
“As men, we can barely grasp what women are going through every day,” he said. “I read a few replies saying they’re so traumatized, and re-living the trauma just by typing out their Tweets.”
We need to listen to women when they tell their stories – Ethan Matisa.
“We need to listen to women when they tell their stories. Just because it didn’t happen to you or anyone you know, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Put yourself in the victim’s shoes before you start saying they ‘could have done something’ to prevent it.”
He added, “There’s a “men are trash” statement that’s been making it’s rounds online. If you want to prove that we’re not trash, it starts with you.”
A note to all men; if you’ve never harassed or assaulted women, you are not a superhero okay? You’re doing the bare minimum by being normal. It’s time for you to step up and call out other men who harass and assault women, even if the woman isn’t your daughter, sister or mom.
If you’ve ever been sexually harassed, please remember that you are not alone in this. Thank you for sharing your stories, brave ladies. We’re still far from becoming a society that doesn’t blame the victim, but perhaps, we’re working towards it.