Addressing struggling economies and social distress is no longer a priority in countries where taking public transportation safely is a luxury. Not only a luxury, but also a privilege for men over women. A video of a Moroccan girl trying to escape a group of teenagers that are sexually harassing her in a bus has recently went viral to put the issue of sexual harassment in the Arab world back on headlines.
Social media activists along with national NGOs and angry Moroccan citizens shared images of the suspected harassers and called on the government and responsible parties to take firm action towards them and to question the bus driver who did not intervene whilst the incident occurred. The Moroccan Law obliges drivers of public transportation means to ensure the safety of the passengers and to jump in whenever something endangers them. This was not the case in-which the girl struggled alone while the harassers stripped her off her clothes and sexually assaulted her publicly.
This is not new to Morocco or to the Arab world in general. Incidents of catcalling, whistling, stalking, flashing or even rape are common and are not taken seriously by responsible parties. A “Harrass Map” was even created in Egypt back in 2010 by a group of activists to provide safe and anonymous reporting of harassment incidents in Cairo. The frivolous reaction to the viral video by Moroccan people and the international community is promising. More pressure is exerted on governments to act more actively on addressing such incidents with gravity and conscience.
The girl with the blurry face and faint screams deserves our anger, she deserves to have her harassers punished and remorseful, and she deserves a safe ride back home.