How could you let him do something like that to you?” I didn’t let him! I never let anyone do anything to me before. I honestly don’t understand people who ask me that question.
“How could you let him?” It’s not like when a man is about to beat his wife, he stops to ask her if she’d let him first. Why is there an assumption that just because something happened, she must have agreed to it? I never got to consent to anything, because I was never even asked in the first place.
We were engaged to be married. We spent a lot of time together in the apartment we were going to live in. He was pissed at me that day, and I didn’t try to make it up with him. I trusted him. I said to myself that even if something happened between us, it would be no big deal. We were getting married soon anyway. But when he started approaching me, getting closer, I felt weird. It didn’t feel okay.
“Let’s not,” I said. But that didn’t stop him. He never asked then –or any other time– whether I wanted to or not. He never asked or even thought of asking me. I only realized this later on.
He got closer and kissed me —a bit violently. He kept on going. I resisted at first, “Let’s not”, “Not now”, and “It’s not right”. Then I just stopped resisting. “Just give him what he wants,” I thought.
I ended up hating him and myself afterwards. It took me years to begin to understand that what had happened wasn’t okay. My body wasn’t a chocolate bar that I should just “let him have”, even if I didn’t feel like it. But I was weak then. I had felt that my body wasn’t mine.
“It’s impolite to say no. Go sit on your uncle’s lap and give him a kiss!”
“I don’t remember saying yes. I don’t remember saying no. I don’t remember being asked at all.”
“You probably implied that you wanted it. Why would he even ask you when you look like someone who’d want it?’
From an unwanted handshake or hug —even from the people closest to us— to the so-called “implied consent” in marital sexual intercourse, we’re often put in situations that happen without our consent.
The BuSSy Project and HarassMap are launching a joint campaign within the framework of the “16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women” campaign, about consent in relationships and its importance in defining what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence.
To follow the campaign, please check out
HarassMap خريطة التحرش الجنسي
To share your story anonymously, please use this form: https://goo.gl/forms/dAAzuQOGQQgaReXG3
BuSSY is a performing arts project that documents, and gives voices to, censored, untold stories about gender in different communities in Egypt. The project organizes storytelling workshops, and performances where women and men step on stage to share stories about harassment, rape, gender, discrimination, honor killing, forces marriage, female genital mutilation, motherhood, domestic violence, child abuse, mass sexual assaults, and many others from different communities and cities in Egypt.
Check the Website www.busy.co