We are so inspired by the women and men who are taking a stand against public sexual harassment in Kabul, Afghanistan.
From Stop Street Harassment:
“Carrying banners and signs with messages like, “We will not tolerate harassment,” “Islam forbids men from insulting women,” and “I have the right to walk freely in my city,” on July 14, 50 brave women and men marched together from Kabul University to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. As they marched, they handed out fliers to raise awareness about the problem of street harassment in their country.Most of the bystanders stood shocked, openly staring as the marchers passed by. It is not common to see women and men marching together through Kabul, nor is it typical to hear people speak out on an issue like street harassment. Despite the presence of a police escort, some men even heckled the marchers and called them names. Others were supportive and took fliers or started walking with the marchers.Tabasum Wolayat, a student at Middlebury College in Vermont, said that she was both excited and nervous to participate in the march. “As an Afghan woman who is harassed on a daily basis in the public sphere, I thought, ‘it is me who has to fight for myself, my mother, and my sisters’ safety, dignity, and rights.’”
She noted that her family was very supportive of her participation, but some of her female friends were not. They worried about her safety.
March organizer Noor Jahan Akbar, a 19-year-old student at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, also received support from her family. Her entire family, including her mother and father who both have health issues, participated in the march with her. A few days after the march, Akbar said it had gone better than she expected and that she feels “so much stronger” because of the outpouring of support for their efforts.
In the spring of 2011, Akbar founded the Kabul-based group Young Women for Change (YWC) to help increase the political, social, economic and cultural participation of women across the country. Through discussions at their first meetings, it quickly became clear that the sexual harassment women experience on the streets hinders their participation in all these areas. In collaboration with another group, Hadia, they decided to launch an anti-street harassment campaign that began with the march.” (full article)