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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
And there can be few women in the region with a Facebook account who haven’t faced the bothersome flood of friend requests from unknown Casanovas. A few months back I had a great laugh when I flicked through a friend’s Facebook album, titled ‘Why I now have high privacy settings.’ The album contained screen shots of over fifty different friend requests she had received purely on the basis of the tiny thumbnail of her profile picture. I have copied some of the gems she received verbatim:
‘Would you like to make friendship with me? I’m a candid person and like candor and ensure to you that you will find me up to the mark’
‘u lke to have slave’
‘you’re too much beautyfull’
Yet again what fascinates (and escapes) me is what exactly is going through the minds of these Facebook Romeos? How successful are they?
It hardly matters. The problems of men struggling to engage with women in the constrained environment of the Gulf do not give them license to behave as they wish, and to invade the privacy and personal space of an innocent female by shouting numbers or throwing notes – that’s why the harsh penalties exist.
Dr Sabban has it spot on: “When men do this, their macho mentality makes them think they’re powerful, but in reality they’re projecting themselves negatively…. They don’t have real Arabic and Islamic values.”
Ultimately, beyond the rule of law, perhaps the strongest deterrent would be a simple argument put forth by one Emirati teen in the same article: “I’m completely against it,” he says. “Every guy who does it should be ashamed of himself because I am sure he would not be pleased if his sister was a victim of it.” A campaign pointing this out would surely be welcome in the emirate.