Sabina Nessa’s Murder is Proof that the Burden of Women’s Safety Does Not Rest on Women • The Muslim Women TImes

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In the wake of the homicide of Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old Muslim lady who was attacked and murdered on the night of September 17 whereas strolling in a London park, a worldwide dialog over girls’s security has been reignited. Women have been calling for motion and clamouring for a world the place girls can stroll residence safely with out worry of misogynist violence. Sabina Nessa was in a public place; not a secluded one. She was surrounded by individuals and it wasn’t late at evening when this occurred. But in some way, we nonetheless get instructed that the burden of our security rests on how we conduct ourselves. The message that ladies ought to comply with sure “rules” to keep away from being attacked or killed remains to be being circulated.

In the Muslim world, girls are given extra tips to remain protected. We are instructed to remain in our houses, to have a Mahram by our sides always and to at all times put on hijabs. This ignores the truth that even in our houses, we regularly don’t really feel protected. Not even the boys with whom we share the identical religion have succeeded in guaranteeing that males don’t hurt girls. How many occasions have males being instructed that they need to have protected themselves higher in opposition to any type of violence? How typically have we heard {that a} man whose residence was invaded wanted to have protected his residence higher? The reply is most actually by no means.

The burden positioned on us isn’t simply heavy, unfair and sexist, it has additionally proved to fail at defending us from violence. We have defined why “Why were you out so late?” and “what were you wearing?” are problematic responses to circumstances of violence. It communicates that ladies must be held accountable for their very own security and blamed when issues go mistaken. Have we ever thought-about that even well-intentioned directions to “be careful” and “take precautions” could be energy-sapping and exhausting? “Watching our backs” could be horrifying, because it additional communicates to us that the world won’t ever be protected for ladies.

It additionally ignores the truth that a lot of the issues we’re suggested to do are already being executed by a majority of girls world wide. In public areas and sprawling cities, girls already undertake each day behaviours to assist them keep protected. These behaviours vary from checking our mirrors incessantly whereas driving, noting traits and license plate numbers of automobiles trailing shut behind, sporting hoodies whereas driving late at evening to seem male to different drivers and shopping for pepper sprays for our purses, automobiles and homes to by no means leaving a drink unattended at a celebration, crossing the road after we discover a person strolling behind us and strolling previous our locations, significantly our houses if we discover that somebody has been following us. The record of issues we already do to maintain ourselves protected is infinite.

It is why the present victim-blaming strategy will not be solely counterproductive however callous at greatest. Yet, within the wake of any report of violence executed to girls, feedback similar to ‘She asked for it’, ‘She was flirting’, ‘She was wearing a revealing dress’, ‘She was too confident’, ‘She walked home alone’, ‘She stayed in that relationship’, ‘She was naïve’, ‘She didn’t report quickly sufficient’, ‘She didn’t struggle again’, ‘She lied about it’, ‘She should have known’, ‘She should have seen it coming’, ‘She should have protected herself’, amongst others nonetheless get thrown round in a world the place victim-blaming of girls is prevalent and normalised.

The case of Sabina Nessa remains to be contemporary. How many ladies have to die earlier than the required motion is taken? Rather than advise girls on methods to maintain themselves protected from violence, it’s time to deal with the elephant within the room. Men who’re the supply of girls’s nightmares must be held accountable. Misogyny must grow to be a hate crime. Harassment and violence in opposition to girls have to grow to be felony offences. Boys should be educated from a younger age to deal with girls and ladies as equal people deserving of affection and respect. If there’s a have to impose gendered curfews to make the boys keep at residence at a specific time, then so be it. Women have already got sufficient burdens thrust upon them to final a lifetime. Being born feminine will not be against the law we must be prepared to pay with our lives. We have to reclaim our streets and our communities. And it’s time we begin holding these in control of our securities accountable for failing to guard us.

Aqilah-Layla Bashir is a skincare entrepreneur and social justice activist.


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