I´ve said it to the surprise of many: opposite to common belief in Egypt, I was NEVER disrespected while working as a dancer. Sure I was disrespected, harassed, hurt by the whole system that surrounds it but, ON STAGE (where my ACTUAL WORK happens) I never heard any sleazy comment or was treated in disrespecting ways which proves that physical exposure is NOT the reason why you´re harassed.
It is OUTSIDE the STAGE, when I am not even dancing or dressed as a dancer, that the REAL DISRESPECT happens and you know what?! It is in the streets, supermarkets, taxis, you name it...when I am dressed like a camping tent in order to avoid problems.
It ´s becoming a sad, depressing cliché but I have to point it out again: Sexual harassment is getting worse and worse in Cairo. It was already bad, as any woman who dares to walk these streets may tell you but NOW - for many reasons too wide for this post -
it´s becoming alarming, fatal to mental sanity of both men and women.
I usually ignore - or pretend to ignore - the sexual comments I receive (to the dozens at one time) every single time I dare to go to the street. After trying all the possible tactics - and none had worked - I chose to pass by whatever came my way as if it didn´t exist. I tried boxing matches with men (NOT a JOKE) in which there was a REAL PHYSICAL fight between me and then (placidly watched by police men who also harass me to add shame to injury), I tried shaming them into CONSCIOUSNESS (NOT WORKING AT ALL Consciousness is an extinct species in Egypt), I even tried offending them, calling them all the most outrages names in the egyptian dictionary (which, curiously, a lot of freaks love and take as a sexual interest of my part ?!!!). Nothing has worked. So it is just normal that I become a BOMB (tick-tack-tick included) ready to explode when nobody - including me - expects.
It happen yesterday afternoon, while grabbing my cup of coffee for boost of an evening where I still had to teach and write for hours. Once I left the coffeeshop, I noticed a man followed me and immediately started to produce sleazy sounds (similar to pigs, which I guess it is very sexy!:( ) and launching at me some sexual comments I heard a million times before. I had no intention to answer him as I have more important things to do with my energy and voice but...BUT...when nobody saw it coming, I exploded:
I yelled at him to a point of losing my voice. I LOST MY VOICE. From the nervous breakdown, from the anger accumulated, from the rage of continuously being treated like a cow. I asked him what the hell was going on with him, WHY, WHY, WHY??? Not a single offense came out of my mouth but something else altogether more powerful. Some people gathered with their usual "maalesh" ("sorry...let it be...") and the guy started to deny having said or done whatever caused my breakdown. He even swore by God with a "poor me" expression on his dirty face ("Walahi, walahi!").
-"Walahi"?! How can you swear by your God, you animal, when you KNOW you are lying?! - I continued yelling at him, while people passed by staring at me as if I WAS THE CRIMINAL.
I lost it. BOG TIME. Completely.
This is NOT the Egypt I fell in love with. It is NOT.