Rabat - Asmaa Boudai is a young Moroccan student at the law faculty of Safi. For a long time, Asmaa was sexually harassed by one of her teachers. Known for this kind of practice with many other students, the teacher didn’t’t accept that Asmaa said no.
Rabat – Asmaa Boudai is a young Moroccan student at the law faculty of Safi. For a long time, Asmaa was sexually harassed by one of her teachers. Known for this kind of practice with many other students, the teacher didn’t’t accept that Asmaa said no.
“You’re not better than all those who said yes,” he said. “You’ll see. I will force you into submission and you will back down.” He first started to intimidate her in front of his colleagues.
Then he moved up to more serious harassment. He threatened her about her future and her studies. Annoyed by the systematic rejection of his advances by his student, the supposedly respectable professor took it up to the next level. He accused her of cheating at exams. The accusation was pursued by a disciplinary committee at the university where the student, a very bright young woman with excellent marks in other subjects, defended herself. In the end, it took a handwriting analysis to clear Asmaa from the charges.
Many female students at the same university have suffered the same harassment from this teacher. However, nobody wants to bring an action against the teacher. They fear for their own reputations. They fear what others will say. They fear the inevitable gossip. Unfortunately, we live in a society that condemns the girl who is harassed and not the man who harasses. The sexual harassment is her fault. It was the way she dressed that provoked the harassment. It was her attitude, the way she walks, her look. Almost no one blames the harasser. Especially, when he is a professor.
In Asmaa’s case, all the students kept silent. Only Asmaa and her friend Fadwa had the courage to denounce the professor and report about it to the police. The professor reportedly told Fadwa, “If you bring Asmaa to me, I will pass you and you will get your license for sure.” Undoubtedly thinking this was a great deal for Fadwa, he failed to take into account Fadwa’s courage and rage, upon receiving this insult. With her father’s support, the two students brought an action against the professor.
At the police station, the police tried to dissuade the few students who had been harassed by the same professor and who had agreed to testify against him. Where is the anti-harassment law that can fight a sexist and misogynist mentality in the police itself, a body of the government that is supposed to protect the victims?
In Morocco, for many years, the sexual harassment inflicted upon many students by unscrupulous professors and the demands for sexual intercourse in exchange for good test scores are an open secret that it is time to denounce.
Let’s be clear: A man who uses his position to harass a woman is a man who, consciously or unconsciously, knows that he is unable to seduce a woman in a “normal” and “natural” way. He feels the need to use his material power (in this case a higher hierarchical position) to achieve his purpose.
Some will go further and ask the eternal question: “Yes, but what about women who harass?” Yes indeed, men are not the only ones who harass. But please, let’s exercise a minimum of intellectual honesty. Recognize that sexual harassment suffered by some men from some women is not yet at the stage of the phenomenon described in this article. To compare the incomparable is intellectual dishonesty or merely a diversion tactic to take focus from the real debate, the real issue.
Translated by Nahla Landolsi. Edited by Elisabeth Myrs
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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