Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anti-Harassment March in Cairo While Priscilla Gets Harassed in Alexandria

This has already been stated, but I will say it again, "If locals think I am Egyptian and they are engaging in harassment, I can not imagine what these poor women have to constantly go through on a daily basis."

While there was an anti-harassment campaign going on in Cairo, Priscilla was walking the streets of Alexandria experiencing some severe harassment.  The staring and commenting I have just ignored, but the local Egyptians in Alexandria have taken it to the next level.  If I run, they will run behind and follow me, kids joking around undoing my shoelaces, touching or grabbing at my arm, and getting too close to me.  It has been common for locals to act stupid, pathetic, lame, playing jokes, making crude comments, inappropriate sexual gestures, but Sunday it went too far.  I was exploring around town and literally EVERY single person/man would comment and say or do something(follow behind or walk close to me).
Again, if I was dressed in a revealing way I could understand, but I was completely covered with sunglasses and my head covered.  And dressed like this I had each and every single person comment every second, really? 
One would think, "Well just stay inside Priscilla." I was writing for a while in beautiful hotel/pastry cafe enjoying my Turkish coffee and doing some Islam reading for a long while, but I wanted to walk around and see the architecture of the older areas of town and I also had to run.
Running in Alexandria is one of my favorite things, but near impossible to escape the weirdos and comments.  Just walking everyone was commenting and running on the side street NOT along the beach to avoid people, it was still bad.  The beach front was bad and the road side even worse. Where was I suppose to go on a roof?
While walking on the street, a group of kids on bikes were messing with me coming in front of me acting like they were going to hit me.  I just kept doging them until I was running and felt a big wad of spit go directly on my face!  The smell of it was so fowl, like bad breath and saliva. I ran after them on the bikes to scare them away.  Within seconds, I saw small rocks flying at me and I began to run the other way.  It was not fast enough to escape the big rock that was thrown at my knee! My KNEE, running the one thing that makes me happy and it had to hit my KNEE.

On the beach earlier, I had kids chasing me and throwing small pebbles, which scared me, but the rocks scared me big time-where did they even get these rocks so quickly?
My knee had a slight bump and it felt swollen. I could not believe what just happened and not just the rock, but the spit. I wiped my face with my sleeve until my face felt burnt and I just kept dumping the water on my face. 
At the fish market, I washed my face with hott water and soap at least ten times. For me, this was the absolute worst-spit on my clothes-okay, but on my face? Horrible. 
The thing with this incident is that I should not have run after them after he spit, but I was trying to scare them away.  It just all happened so fast where it was such an automatic, unconscious choice.  Sometimes we can engage in FIGHT or FLIGHT mode and I was in FIGHT mode.  The harassment had been going on for two weeks now and now I was acting by chasing after the kids.  

So who are you going to call when something like this happens?

How about Ghostbusters? Ghostbusters was an American movie-it is just a joke some may or may not understand.  It basically means I could call fake police to come and help me.  My friend said, "There really are no police right now." When I was being followed earlier that day I found a traffic cop to stand near and he pretty much just laughed at me and walked back near his car-this really is comforting. I went from being completely overprotected living in the Upper east side rich area of New York to being completely underprotected in the streets of Egypt. My life feels like a gamble in Egypt-anything could happen at any minute, but it just left up to my one and only to decide my fate.  
I really question who is the smart tourist with my trip in Egypt. There are practically no tourists here except for me.  Why could my friend not advise me on this political situation before I came? Or maybe tell me there have been very few tourists since the revolution.  

Ultimately, I am responsible for my own decisions, especially with travel, so it just happened for a reason I guess. On a good note, I spent solid time working on my resume and applying for jobs leaving me with countless opportunities in Turkey, but besides the positive of Egypt-this harassment needs to stop.  No woman should have to be treated like this when just walking down a street or in a grocery store or going to work.  Keep fighting for your rights girls! Priscilla has your back!


  1. Girl, I could have told you not to go to Egypt right now..I am so sorry for what happened and so glad that you have made it to Turkey. I love you and could imagine joining you in Istanbul, how long are you staying?

  2. Thank you my dear Anesa-it was quite tough and my knee is suffering a bit from their physical abuse. Nice to hear from you as I was wondering what happened to my one follower haha;) I will be back in Istanbul on June 16 working with a family until July 8 and then I will be headed to a different area of Turkey where I will be working until August 11-not sure where I will be after that, but time will tell.
    What trips do you have planned? We need to cetch up do you have skype?