In a short video that has gone viral, Egyptian filmmaker Sharine Atif shares the story of Nora Labib, an Egyptian woman and how she stood up to a sexual harasser with a boldness that left the harasser unsure of how to respond.
Labib begins by pointing out that “women are the most shy hearing ‘dirty’ words [and] are also the ones who hear the most ‘dirty’ words in the street,” highlighting the double standard of sexually harassing women in a conservative society.
She then tells the story of how, when a man in the street told her “I want to f*** your t***,” she responded by telling him to take off his pants and “show me what you’re going to f*** them with … because I have the right to pick.”
“He moved back, turning yellow, red and green. I said, ‘Weren’t you seven men in one a minute ago?'”
Labib then goes on to say that she was not ashamed of her reaction and that the harasser’s words to her “did not make [her] feel dirty,” and claimed that women should react to harassment by taking their rights for themselves.
“They need to learn to regret.”
Sharine, the filmmaker behind the video series A Way Out, told Egyptian Streets that the women interviewed in the videos all shared their experiences with how they deal with oppression in its many forms. Sexual harassment is just one of the many topics Sharine’s videos touch upon.
She says her inspiration for the project came in the wake of the revolution, largely from The Uprising of Women in the Arab World movement, which encouraged women to stand up against violence and oppression.
“Egypt was going through a revolution [and] the real revolution for me was the radical self expression people started to display,” Sharine told Egyptian Streets. “I wanted to capture this, because I was always radical in my expressions and also a living example to finding a way out of oppression. This was a chance to join forces with other women who started doing the same, to empower others.”
Sharine says that the video of Labib sharing her story was met with mixed reactions, with some hailing the young woman’s bravery and others going so far as to respond with death threats. Others, whom Sharine described as “the respectful ones,” expressed their opposition to Labib’s approach but said they “understood the issue.”
“It’s everyones responsibility to learn how to stand up for themselves; sometimes we do it with anger and [are] inappropriate because we were not thought otherwise or are products of the environment we came from,” Sharine said.
His Cucumber is one video from Sharine’s series, A Way Out. She plans on releasing the remaining videos from Labib’s interview on a periodical basis, followed by the videos of the remaining women speaking about their experiences with oppression in Egypt.