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Patriarchy and Sexual Harassment in Morocco: The Double Standard

Source : | 2 December 2014 |  Opinion | 825 views


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Fez - Sexual harassment is on the increase in Morocco. With Morocco as a patriarchal society, many blame women themselves, assuming they are the source of the problem.

Misogynists attempt to support their allegations by suggesting that a woman’s body is a source of temptation, and therefore should not be adorned or on display. Instead, it must be hidden.

From a religious perspective, in Islam both men and women are required to be chaste. God said «Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what they do.” (An-Nur 24:30)

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and guard their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent’’ (An Nur 24:31)

For Muslims, God created men and women as a support for one another. They are supposed to be mutually beneficial partners, who should contribute equally to each other’s welfare.

Yet, men often commit sins in their treatment of women. Even when a woman dresses conservatively, she may be harassed and verbally assaulted. Some men do not even distinguish between a married woman and a single woman, and shamelessly harass women who are walking with their children.

The story does not end here. Many grown-adult men harass sixteen-year old girls on their way to school, and no bystanders intervene.

Yet, if a woman harasses an underage boy in public, people are up in arms, and a number of pseudo-religious groups will condemn the behavior.

Men argue that women wear revealing clothes and therefore provoke the harassment themselves; yet men themselves wear tight exercise clothes, perfumes, tight t-shirts, and brand-name jeans. It is illogical that they believe females must hide themselves behind wide and loose clothes to supposedly control men’s primal urges.

The problem is that men are rarely called to account for harassment or for being sexually promiscuous. To the contrary, for a man having many sexual partners is applauded and deemed a sign of virility. Men meet in cafes and proudly brag about their sexual experiences, while at the same time forbidding their daughters and wives from even speaking with male relatives and acquaintances. Women are held to a different standard.

Applying a double standard to men and women is unequal and unfair. Women are not second-class citizens, and they should be equally respected.

Both men and women are obligated to respect each other by freely exercising their rights as equal citizens. If men cannot control their desires, they should blame themselves.

It is unfair for men to be able to harass women, swim half naked at beach, have multiple girlfriends, and marry two wives without penalty, and then blame women for showing their beauty in public.

It is high time we men become sober and stop judging women negatively using measures that we ourselves do not respect.

This article is not a call for promiscuity. It is an invitation to stop applying a double standard in applying religious texts, as men always judge women but forget the atrocities they commit in our society.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


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