One minute you are having a relaxing, happy time … and then a man will come and harass you.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, but you will be guaranteed to be bothered by a man at some point. That point was just now for me at the beach.
First of all this is not a criticism on the lovely place where I am on holiday currently, Zanzibar. The place is amazing, the people have been beautiful and it’s been very relaxing.
So I went out in the sea, picked up seashells and just generally relaxed on my last day by the beach.
Nearing the end of walk out of the sea back onto the beach, I saw 2 young guys walking slowly where I was walking towards the beach. I couldn’t stop and wait for them to pass due to jellyfish and sea urchins surrounding me. One guy looked and kept walking, the other stopped to wait for me.
Him: Jambo [hi in Swahili]
H: How are you?
M: Good thanks
H: Where are you staying.
M: nearby [I should have said nothing but was being polite and didn’t want to aggravate the situation]
H: How long for?
M: I leave tomorrow. Ok great talking to you.
H: Are you alone?
M: No with family (I’m lying, I’m solo but he doesn’t need to know)
His friend says in Swahili that the guy in the sea must be my man (he’s not, but i ain’t going to admit otherwise)
H: Is that your man.
H: Oh didn’t realise you were with him (how would he know before then??)
M: 😑. Your friend is waiting for you.
H: Let me show you around
H: I can take you on trips.
M: Thanks again. Bye.
H: [he keeps walking by my side and talking to me].
M: thanks bye.
Finally, I stopped and pretended to get a shell. He waited. I wouldn’t move. He finally moved onwards into the sea but parallel to me. I walked as close to the coral wall/cave as possible.
This was unwanted attention. Harassment.
If a girl makes no indication of being interested, f*** off. Seriously. Go.
The worrying part was that I had to walk into half-caves (see above) to get to the steps to my hotel. He stayed near enough to me in the sea to make it a stressful few minutes up to the hotel. I shouldn’t have felt stressed, I shouldn’t have felt worried that he could drag me into the cave-like area and rape me. I shouldn’t have felt scared. I’m a grown lady and I was scared for a few long minutes, like a child.
Despite the #metoo movement, we still have these moments. We are empowered now to write a blog on these situations, to share our experiences on social media, to report when we are assaulted, but women are still in a losing situation. For some reporting the assault results in condemnation, for others, they just don’t get heard, and women like me, we have to experience the same rubbish we have experienced for all of our lives.
We shouldn’t even get to these situations!
I am exasperated by the fact that this happened to me and also that I am writing this blog. I am hoping that the more we call out this behaviour, the more men will realise this nonsense has to stop.
For now, this is another one to add to my #metoo story. Thanks, Douche.
© 2018 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.
© Top Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash
© Second Photo by Shelina Jokhiya.