Religion is a safe place to seek shelter in when live seems tumultuous. Prayer is a powerful medium, a state of being perceived by associated with divinity, peace and calm. It has the power to connect you with your inner-self, and the last thing you’d expect to happen at a place of prayer, such a pure and pious place, is sexual assault.
After the horrific rape-murder case of little Zainab, an innocent 7-year-old Pakistani girl who was on her way to Quran recital when she was abducted and later found raped and murdered, women are now sharing their stories of experiencing sexual harassment, even in holy places like Hajj. Egyptian-American feminist and journalist Mona Eltahawy is behind #MosqueMeToo:
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) February 5, 2018
Men and women from around the world started using #MosqueMeToo to narrate their stories. Here are some of them:
I was looking for souvenirs for my family. I was accompanied by several other women. And then this man just started to flirt and grabbed my hands tightly. eying me from head to toe and caressing my hand. It happened only a few feet from Nabawi #metoo
— CFX A41A-B, SAT | VIXX FA @ _ (@djenanggulo) February 6, 2018
When I visited the Jama Masjid in Delhi, the man lending “modest” robes to women touched my breasts. It took me several hours to shake my denial that it had happened. I also don’t talk about it so people won’t use my experience to justify Islamophobia. #metoo
— Dr. NOPE (@reallyHibbs) February 6, 2018
Had to stop going for Taraweeh and Qiyam one Ramadan because of some gentlemen. Stayed mum because I thought no one’d believe me, or I’d be accused of having an overactive imagination. #MosqueMeToo is our skeleton in the closet.
— Kali (@maimoonarahman) February 6, 2018
I was 12 when a local priest groped me while trying to make my parents understand that there were faults in my stars. He touched my breasts in their presence. And they told me that since the priest was 60 yrs old, it wasn’t a bad touch. Well..
— Kalyani Kamat _ (@Thebakonmaverik) February 6, 2018
I’ve been doing tawaaf last year in Umrah, it wasn’t even crowded and many was pushing their body against mine and touching me with their hands I actually got terrified and thought omg that couldn’t be happening even in this holy spot! #metoo
— Yasmine Fathelbab (@Yazzzmine) February 6, 2018
Each time my mom and her sisters went to Hajj, they were groped—disgusting ppl w/no morals/“deen”; toxic patriarchy; keep doing what you’re doing, Mona. #MosqueMeToo
— Hassan Saleh (@hass_saleh) February 8, 2018
I was sexually harassed at 21 when I was doing Tawaf, right there in that most sacred place! The fact that it happened there, in that place where it’s supposed to be the holiest and safest sanctuary, broke me so bad that I never recovered from it! #MosqueMeToo
— Z R (@ZRaeesy) February 9, 2018
If women are not safe even in sacred spaces, should they just stay home to protect themselves? This shows that sexual harassment and assault has absolutely nothing to do with female modesty, it is not because of what a woman is wearing. It is because of how men are taught to look at and think of women. After reading these horrific stories, we’re left think- when will we change, if we ever do that is.