Women speak out on sexual harassment during Hajj

Published on: February 7, 2018

'I was afraid to share this because it might hurt your religious sentiments'

 
Women speak out on sexual harassment during Hajj
File photo of Muslims gathering for Hajj at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia Reuters
 
A number of women have spoken out against sexual harassment during Hajj, after a Facebook post by a victim.
 
On Friday, February 2, Pakistani national Sabica Khan shared her terrifying ordeal at the holy pilgrimage, reports StepFeed.

“I was afraid to share this because it might hurt your religious sentiments,” Sabica began.

She went on describe how when she felt the first instance of inappropriate touching, during her third tawaf, she dismissed it as accidental.

However, as the inappropriate touching continued, her suspicions grew and she soon realized she was being sexually harassed, according to StepFeed.

“Then… I felt it again. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I kept moving. During my 6th tawaf I suddenly felt something aggressively poking my butt. I froze, unsure of whether it was intentional. I ignored it and just kept moving slowly because the crowd was huge. I even tried to turn around but woefully couldn’t. When I reached the Yemeni corner, someone tried to grab and pinch my butt. I decided to stop there, grabbed his hand and threw it off me,” Sabica wrote in the Facebook post.

She added that the horrific experience overshadowed her entire experience at Mecca, with the feeling of powerlessness at not even being able to turn around and identify her harassers due to the dense crowds having left her petrified, StepFeed said.

“I believe it’s totally okay and important to be open about harassment. I don’t know how many of you had similar experiences, there but this incident has unfortunately left me feeling upset,” Sabica concluded, as quoted by StepFeed.

A number of people have subsequently commented on her post, with many women sharing their own experiences of sexual harassment at the holy pilgrimage.

One commenter even said she had been facing sexual harassment at Hajj for over 28 years, and suggested Sabica should have been mentally prepared to face it.

According to an anonymous woman quoted by StepFeed, sexual harassment at Hajj is most common in the queue leading to the Black Stone, at the eastern corner of the Kaaba.

This article was first published on Dhaka Tribune