A Girl’s Walk Around Gemmayzé, Beirut

My best friend was having dinner at the newly opened Nasawiya Cafe last Saturday. They had a Ghana-music night and it was for a good cause, she thought. When the event ended, she got up to leave.

Her friend walked with her. His car was parked a little before hers. He offered to drive her to her car. She refused.

This is Gemmayzé. I have walked this street all my life. What’s the worse that can happen?

So she tucked her hands in her pockets and walked on the sidewalk. Like a ma’am. She looked around the bustling bars and the intoxicated people. She saw the fancy cars trying to find a place to park.

As she walked and walked, she felt safe. Gemmayzé and Achrafieh were home.

It was then that she spotted something in the well-lit corner of the street. She stopped right in her tracks. She was paralyzed with shock. She was petrified.

It couldn’t be. Not here. Not like this. Not on this street.

In that well-lit corner was sitting a man. This man didn’t care about passerbies who looked at him in disgust but did nothing about what he was doing. He just kept at it.

She looked at his hand. Down there. She couldn’t move. The man in front of her was mastrubating in public. In front of her.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Suddenly, the man stood up and walked briskly towards her.

He had a steady pace. He was not intoxicated. He was not drunk. He was not high. He was fully aware of what he was doing. And in that moment it took him to get to her from the corner he was sitting in, she felt the most afraid in her 22 years of existence so far.

The man stood in front of her. He looked down at her and said: “Do you want me to cum on your breasts?”

Her reflex response was to grab her phone. Speed dial her friend and start shouting for him to come to her.
It took the friend less than a minute to be there. It took her more than a minute to catch her breath.

Never did she believe she would be this threatened this close to home. Never did she think she would see this level of decadence on a street that she always considered as beyond safe.

That night she felt the least empowered of her life. She felt so weak that she felt she couldn’t have done anything. And what’s worse, she knew that if anything had happened further, she wouldn’t have a safety net to fall back on.

That disgusting man would win. And what’s worse, his win would have been fair and square by all accounts.

When she got home, she needed to vent. She had already read my article about losing hope in Lebanon. So she wrote an addendum centered around the night that seared her decision to leave the country for her PhD in 6 months.

“From a Lebanese ovaries point of view, it is impossible to spend your life in semi peace without a pair of testicles guarding your back. From your dad watching your every move to your boyfriend being over jealous, to your husband being overprotective. Testicles are handling the situations.

This is the most annoying thing to young ovaries. But sexual assault is not a far fetched situation. It lurks around your brain every second of your waking time. Whoever tells you otherwise is in oblivion or still didn’t hear the stories everyone is so busy hiding.

If you walk around a carefree neighborhood, it is only because you know the alpha male there. No matter how loud you are online about your independence, you will never be ready to punch a guy once confronted.

Bottom line is we should either grow a pair or embrace our inherited dependence.”

What’s ironic, she later told me, is the place she was having dinner in.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “A Girl’s Walk Around Gemmayzé, Beirut

  1. The same thing happened to me 5 times in achrafiye, 2 times in the middle of afternoon, and 3 times on my morning walk to school, but that was prewar in the 1970’s!!! Deviants and disgusting people gave been around since the beginning of time. And one of those times was very shocking because it was in the afternoon right in front of my house in achrafiye and coming at me full blast!!!! I was playing volley ball with my friends!!!

    Reply
  2. Things like this happen in every country – not just in Lebanon. And also in “safe” neighbourhoods.

    Now that the issue has been in the media a little more recently expect copycat acts and more reporting that will continue to highlight the problem.

    Reply
  3. Wait ….
    I don’t Get it …
    to rephrase this : Disgusting man wanking on street , pass by woman stands to stare at disgusting man , disgusting man approaches woman and asks if she wants his load on her breasts. woman freaks out and calls boyfriend while still standing in front of disgusting man ?
    and this was in Empty Gymayzeh? on a Saturday night?
    and I quote :
    “she knew that if anything had happened further, she wouldn’t have a safety net to fall back on.
    That disgusting man would win. And what’s worse, his win would have been fair and square by all accounts.”

    Win? , meaning Rape her? in the Empty street of gymaizeh on a Saturday night? really?
    “And what’s worse, his win would have been fair and square by all accounts.” And what the hell does that mean ?!
    Dude I enjoyed reading your articles but this article is Sad…
    I pity the little girl in your story for she is not by any chance a strong independent woman . in fact she the exact opposite.

    I need Explanation to the sentence “And what’s worse, his win would have been fair and square by all accounts.”
    Because its offending on all accounts!
    Cheers!

    Reply
  4. “Bottom line is we should either grow a pair or embrace our inherited dependence.”

    This is Fadi’s wife. I’m disappointed with this post, the behavior and views of the woman it features, and especially the quote above. It reminded me of the following quote by Betty White: –
    “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding”

    Reply
  5. I didn’t get it it: why did she decide to leave the country because of this incident? Sexual harrassement and rape occur only in Lebanon? Don’t we know of stories everywhere in the world?

    Reply
  6. OH my GOD ANYONE HERE CAN TELL IS Lebanon city bierut is fine bcz i am going there? may Allah do what is best for me ya Allah help me..!!!

    Reply
  7. Pingback: The Lebanese Anti-Syrian “Racism” | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  8. Pingback: A Rape Attempt in Hamra | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s