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Sexual harassment, just another day in Dubai
Dubai’s very own unique brand of sexual harassers are as perplexingly confusing as they are obnoxious, says Eva Fernandes.
September 30, 2010 3:14 by Eva Fernandes
There I was, minding my own business, walking down the Dubai Creek, when it happened. A low white sedan crawled alongside the pavement I walked on, the window slowly rolled down and BANG! A scrunched up piece of paper struck me right in my eye. Oh, I was furious.
But wait… paper? What was going on? I began to think his actions may have been caused by the challenge of finding a garbage bin in this city, but my thoughts were interrupted by the wild gestures of the driver in my peripheral view. He was pointing at the rogue piece of paper that was now lying upon the pavement. I picked it up and unrolled it to find, scribbled in bold green ink, a cell phone number. I looked up just in time to catch the young driver flash me a creepy smile before speeding off into the distance.
Now I should feel affronted by this breach of my solitude; of my right to walk down the Creek unperturbed by the men of the city, but really I was baffled and amused by the lack of ingenuity in this strange – and all too typical – gesture. What exactly was the driver expecting? That I’d tend to my stinging eye, pick up his number, and give him a call? That I’d find it witty or even flattering that someone thought me worthy of chucking paper at?
I don’t know. And what’s in it for this road side Romeo? I admit I am no sexual harassment expert and I don’t know why people do the things they do, but in most cases I can rationalize a harassers’ actions. For instance, Chester the molester on the metro gets the physical thrill of sensation and the unadulterated sense of doing something that isn’t halal. Mohammed the mall-marcher who stalks you from aisle to aisle as you purchase your daily bread at Carrefour thrives on the power of intimidation. He gets the pleasure of having his victim visibly scared – whether she shows it through a slightly paced jog down the aisle, or through furtive apprehensive glances she throws over her shoulder as she tries to leave him behind.