Actually, Veils Don’t Stop Pervs

I read an interesting article on Altmuslimah the other day. It discussed attempts to document (and hopefully put an end to) rampant sexual harassment in Egypt; you can read it here.

But this was the part I found really interesting:
“… [The study] found that 72.5% of victims surveyed were wearing hijab when they were sexually harassed. This is important because it shows the invalidity of the argument too many muslims (men AND women) bandy about of hijab being a protection against rape and harassment. Logically, even without this study, we can see why it’s not a reasonable argument: women in burqas in Afghanistan are raped, 99 year old grandmas are raped. These events show the appearance of a rape victim/survivor is NOT the determining factor in an attack. The determining factor is the man.

And as long as Muslims try to make the argument that hijab is the magical protection against sexual harassment and rape, then they continue to place the blame on the victim/survivor and are buying into the “she was asking for it by dressing like that” argument, and not where it sqaurely belongs: on the man. (Emphasis mine).
I mention this not to imply that there is something wrong with wearing hijab, but I do think its wrong to tell women that hijab will somehow protect them from harrasment – or that not wearing hijab somehow invites it. Unfortunately, women must always be vigilant, regardles of how they are dressed.

30 responses to “Actually, Veils Don’t Stop Pervs

  1. I couldn't agree more!I've been trying to highlight this issue for a long time in my network. I've also been trying to understand (and get an explanation, especially from our Muslim brothers in Muslim-majority countries), as to why women are more frequently harassed in the Muslim majority countries than in the Western countries. So far I haven't even received a decent attempt at an explanation. It's usually some variant of pure denial (it's not true that women are harassed at all), or it's the women's fault (i.e., they mustn't have covered up properly), it makes me so mad. Then there are the ones who will attack you and say you're trying to show that Muslims are bad. No. I'm not. I'm trying to show that there is a problem here, and problems don't disappear by themselves- unfortunately.Thanks for highlighting such an important issue.

  2. Unfortunately, the middle east is known for it's harassment by leering perv's on the street. I will say, and this is just an observation on my part, not an argument for or against the hijab, but I did notice a marked difference in the way I was treated by men after donning the hijab and I don't believe in the seven years that I've been wearing it that I ever got a cat call or a leering glance while out and about. Of course that may have to do with also having four kids and getting old and fat 😉 I do believe cultural context has a lot to do with it (I'm in the States).

  3. I think you are a low “paid double agent” of enemies of ISLAM.Get lost from Islamic matters…concentrate on your own religion.

  4. YOUR SUPPORT TO SEKINA MOHAMMAD ASHTIANI.Iran's ambassador to Italy says Western countries use the case of an Iranian woman convicted of adultery and complicity in murder as a political tool. "Certain Western countries' political pressure regarding this issue is nothing but using human rights as an instrument for achieving political objectives," Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Thursday. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was found guilty of adultery and murdering her husband in collusion with another man, Isa Taheri. Hosseini criticized the Western media's “hype” about the case while the final verdict has not been issued yet, and said the West's double standards could be seen in a similar case, IRNA reported. "Teresa Lewis, [an American woman diagnosed with borderline mental retardation] was executed in the US because of a similar crime," Hosseini said. Lewis was charged with hiring two men, Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller, to kill her husband and stepson in 2002, so that she could collect $350,000 of life insurance. The two accomplices received life sentences, but the 40-year-old Lewis was sentenced to death.

  5. Well Becky, I generally want to avoid discussing hijab because I get sick of hearing the "women in the West get raped because they dress like sluts" argument. I'm sure nobody will call me an enemy of Islam for saying its wrong to blame women for their victimization by men. No way. Definitely not somebody calling him/herself "peace". That would just be silly.Stephanie, I've also seen some data to suggest women are treated differently when they wear hijab in the US, and its mostly positive. I support a woman's choice to wear hijab, as its a choice I may make myself one day. I just think "you won't get sexually harassed" should be taken off the list of pros for hijab – its misleading, at the very least.

  6. I agree completely, I'm so so tired of this mentality of "blaming-the-victim". In my opinion, a woman should be able to walk down the street naked and not be harassed!I do think that women wearing the hijab in the West is generally sexually harassed less, I do think that's true, though you might add lots of other kinds of harassment to the list then.I don't know about the US, but here in Denmark, general sexual harassment (like cat-calling and the like) is really pretty no big deal. The one time I've felt harassed it was (sadly) by a group of Arab boys, walking behind me, snickering that I was wearing "fuck-me shoes" (because they were high-heeled), this was at a mall, and I was otherwise completely modestly dressed, even wearing a coat that went to mid-thigh. I also fully support women wearing hijab, and am not going to say I would never choose to wear it myself, though, as I see it right now, I do not see it as a religious obligation, and I do feel that way to much emphasis is put on a piece of cloth. But that's for a completely different discussion

  7. Hypocrites are a kind of people to whom Allah calls attention in many verses of the Qur'an, and against whom He repeatedly warns believers to be cautious. For this reason, a believer, who takes the Qur'an as his guide, needs to be vigilant against hypocrites, and be knowledgable of all their characteristics, for, every community of believers, who live by the morality of the Qur'an, will certainly encounter hypocrites.It would be very wrong to say that such people existed only in the time of our Prophet (saas), in Macca and Medina, for,-in every other period-as today, such characters are present right before us, under modern guises.In our present societies too, there are communities of hypocrites who assume they can conceal themselves by taking on the attributes of a believer. Deceptively, they ally with those who are unclear or insincere in their understanding of religion, as they are themselves, for the purpose of concealing the truth, changing it for falsehood, forming new sects, and bringing harm to the believers, both materially and spiritually.All verses related to hypocrites in the Qur'an reveal that Allah will surely expose all hypocrites concealing themselves within the community of believers. No matter how much the hypocrites may try to conceal their real identities, through their supposed cleverness, they will nevertheless be identified by believers by the will of Allah.

  8. That is because, that is their fate. Allah created them for this purpose, and placed them among the believers so as to try them. Allah gives a detailed account of the mentalities, manner of speaking and actions of hypocrites in the Qur'an. No matter what, a hypocrite is destined to utter such language, and adopt this mindset. It is impossible for him to escape from this destiny preordained for him.To expose the hypocrites, times of difficulty are not indispensable; that is to say, if Allah wills, He may grant believers the ability to recognize them and identify their hypocrisy. In expectation of an improvement in his attitude, believers possessed with this faculty may nevertheless show tolerance towards one displaying hypocrisy. It is for this reason a hypocrite thinks that he can conceal himself, but this is a great delusion. Once believers realize that that person is insistent on remaining insincere, they turn their backs to them.Allah informs us in the Qur'an that hypocrites will never remain hidden:Or did those with sickness in their hearts imagine that Allah would not expose their malevolence? If We wished, We would show them to you and you would know them by their mark and know them by their ambivalent speech. Allah knows your actions. We will test you until We know the true fighters among you and those who are steadfast and test what is reported of you. (Surah Muhammad, 29-31)

  9. For the record, peace, I don't support the death penalty period. But here are some differences between the case of Teresa Lewis and that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani:1) Teresa Lewis is the 12th woman to be executed in the US since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976; In Iran, since 2000, their have been more than 30 confirmed cases of women being executed, and quite a few of them were minors. For example, in 2004 a sixteen year old named Atefeh Rajabi was hanged for "acts incompatable with chastity".2) Lewis, under advice from counsel, pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to the death penalty; Whereas Ashtiani was tortured for her guilty plea for the crime of an "illicit relationship" or adultery and received 99 lashes as a sentence. She was later illegally retried for the same crime of adultery. She was never convicted of any murder charges. She was also given another whipping of 99 lashes for "spreading corruption and indecency" (appearing unveiled) after The Times published a photograph of an unveiled woman they mistakenly identified as Ashtiani. The sentence was carried out despite The Times reporting the mistake.3) The court proceedings for Lewis were carried out in her language; Ashtiani speaks Azeri, not Persian, and didn't understand what was being said when her sentence was handed down.4) Lewis had access to lawyers, and her lawyers were free to represent her; One of Ashtiani's lawyers, Mohammed Mostafaei, was forced into hiding and his wife and brother-in-law were arrested. He and his family are now living in Norway under asylum. The home of another lawyer representing her, Houtan Kian, was ransacked by officials and important case documents were confiscated.5) Lewis was executed by lethal injection – certainly not pleasant, but considerably less painful than death by stoning.I suggest you and Mohammad-Ali Hosseini get your facts straight before making such thin comparisons. Maybe some people are playing politics, but that doesn't mean what's happening to Sakineh Ashtiani is any less horrible and unjust. I thought Muslims were supposed to fight injustice. Am I mistaken?

  10. trustSunnah, I think you should read part of the website you referenced:"Total recorded rapes. Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence." (Emphasis mine)So in countries, such as some in the Middle East, where a woman telling law enforcement officials that she was raped will result in her prosecution for "confessing" to adultery, the statistics will tend to be lower.

  11. trustSunnah,You need to consider how many rape-cases are never reported to the police. I know that here in Denmark, and in many other Western countries, rapes are vastly under-reported. I could imagine it's even worse in most Muslim countries, where a woman would also have to face the "dis-honour" she's brought upon her family. Also, the post (as I understand it) relates to sexual harassment, not actual rape.

  12. peace,That's some very un-peaceful thoughts you're expressing there!So we're hypocrites… for speaking our minds? I checked out your link where it says: "In their outward appearance, hypocrites are almost no different from Muslims. Their intentions, however, is entirely different. To one considering their outward appearance, hypocrites could give the impression of being a pious person; with their speech, behavior and other traits, they impersonate believers and in their manner of worship, pretend conformity to religious norms."Now, I will choose to speak just for myself. If I wanted to give the "impression" of being pious, wouldn't I don the hijab? Wouldn't I tell you how I believe in all of the hadiths? But I don't do this, I'm not out to fool anyone. I speak my mind openly and honestly. I stand for what I believe is right.How dare you judge me or anyone else?! Are you God? Do you know my intentions, or any of the others intentions? You are so quick to judge!

  13. For your information, peace, I am concentrating on my religion. What are you concentrating on? By the way, you're not the first to tell me to "get lost" on my own blog. I chose to publish your comments because they only reveal your character – or lack, thereof. Maybe the next time you feel like name-calling I will just make you "get lost".You said hypocrites often disguise themselves as true believers, right? Well don't worry, peace – if you are an example of a true believer, I don't want to be associated with you in any way.

  14. there are many bad elements,pretending to be muslims,or ex muslims trying to malign islam has increased by many folds.1) IRSHAD MANJI = IM12) BECKY = IM23) SOPHIA = IM3also many others are on the following site ,can be read to know what is their intention and why they are called …. to be continued…

  15. WHAT in the WORLD does Manji have to do with this!?!?This post is about sexual harassment of women and hijab – do you want to talk about that or just be part of a long line of people who dismiss me for not loathing Manji?Or, if you don't like my blog, and don't actually want to discuss my posts, why don't you go to a website you enjoy? One that hates Manji and Sakineh. Maybe you can find one that condemns all women who refuse to take the blame for men behaving badly, its a great big internet out there.

  16. peace,You didn't really seem to respond to any of my points?I have no idea what you mean by IM1 etc.I checked out the link. I don't believe I've ever made any claims to be representing all Muslims. I only represent myself and my own views. I don't believe anyone can speak for ALL Muslims – nor do I believe that any Christians can speak for ALL Christians, just like no American can speak for ALL Americans.So, what's your point?

  17. Who represents mainstream Muslims then?Many find someone at CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MAS, TDC. I think you have gotten it right a few times with Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir. But we need more of Ingrid Mattsons(INGRID MATTSON) too. More of Siraj Wahhajs. More of Yasir Qadhis, Johari Maliks. More of Yasser Fazaqas, more of Suhaib Webbs(SUHAIB WEBB), more of Usama Hasans, more of Mohamed ikhwanis,MORE Dr.Zakir Naiks ,more of any of the signatories of the Sunni Pledge and even beyond. Why? Because most Muslims are confident that these scholars have two important foundations, Their opinions: (1) A firm understanding of the religion and (2) More or less in line with the mainstream Sunni opinions.So (MEDIA), BECKY, SOPHIA if you are having trouble locating one, go to your ancestors religion. Don’t corrupt Islam to your way of thinking.

  18. Ok peace, if thats how you want it. I'm really sorry I have the power to corrupt your faith – I certainly never thought I could do that to a complete stranger on a blog – and I hope you overcome your issues with me. However, I do feel that my blog is distracting you from your own spiritual journey, and I would encourage you to leave it be and focus on your own relationship with God. I have no ill will towards you and I wish you only tranquility in your faith. If I have offended you, then I ask for your forgiveness and for God's mercy.I do not consider you my enemy… but at this point I do consider you a pest. I will not be publishing your future posts. This is for my good AND yours: I really feel you should have better things to do than pester me… Dhikr, maybe? Good luck to you, peace, you'll be in my prayers today.

  19. Fully support your decision Sophia, and everything you just said.Just makes me sad that people are so unaccepting of opinions different than their own 😦

  20. I'm late :(@peaceu should seriously stop the insults. Are u from ummah forums?@sophiaregarding the ashtiani case , i cant say nothing cause i dont believe in Iran being a muslim country so anywayz moving on…..regarding the hijab. Firstly it is a commandment from ALlah(swt) and the other arguments are secondary like praying is obligatory and like doing the hajj is(if u got the means to do hajj).59. O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies, That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft*Forgiving, Most Merciful31. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (their bodies,necks,hair, and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, their brothers or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islâm), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful Cover their bosoms, a girl wearing tight fitted jeans and a girl wearing jilbab which one would a jahil look at?The argument is flawed in so many ways.In egypt they see women wearing hijab all the time, if they had a choice of hijabless to a hijab woman which one would they pick? They havent seen women in egypt wearing skirts auzibillah, revealing clothes have they? So the statistics is irrelevantDo a survey in the uk/usa, europe for men, who would they be attracted to at first sight, a girl wearing revealing clothes or the one who is observing the command of Allah (swt)Hijab doesnt stop pervs, yes thats right, although this is culture bias as mentioned previously. A perv at the end of the day, will perv at anyone regardless of how they dress, because a pervert is a sadistic sick person that only lives to satisify their sick desires.Hijab however, does stop normal men, that arent perverts, from becoming distracted by attractive females. Hijab isnt a magic tool that will guarantee protection from rape etc, however it does not provoke any unnecessary attention. Hijab is there for modesty in all forms.muslimahs, even wear hijab whilst in salah in the privacy of our own homes, even when there are no men present, or women. Why do we do that? Its out of respect and modesty.Hijab allows women to develop their personalities and not rely on their physical appearence for success. It allows women to be comfortable with who they are, and without any pressures to look a particular way, or have a particular figure.It allows to have a more meaningful life rather than the superficial one which is always projected onto us. It allows women to be satisfied with what they have, and not compare and contrast to other women, since in an ideal muslim world, all women would be wearing hijab, and it would be rare to see random womens physical appearence.The beauty of Islam is in its haya, modesty, both for men and women, in slightly different ways. Hijab is having haya. Beauty is only skin deep, and in Islam its what lies within us that should be shown rather than what lies outside. ie. Kindness, love, faith etc.

  21. I think i forgot to adress the previous comment to who it was but it was for both of u.@becky , sophiawell actually if u live in a sick society then even if u have a gun then a rapist will attempt to rape u if he has a gun also. So that doesnt mean that hijab is ineffective. And then there is the issue that Muslim Men are first told to lower their gaze b4 the women. But if u live in a sick society where none of these thing are given weight than it cant be stopped now can it? … Even though countries might be called Muslim it doesnt mean they are muslim. Its just like those muslims that have muslim names but go to night clubs and fornicate with woman and drink alcohol.2ndly on the ashtiani case. Though it isnt surprising that this has nothing to do with her but more to do with Iran since they are enemies. I want to ask u recently a UN fact finidng mission found out that a US citizen was killed on board the flotilla which was raided by Israel. And it also tells that he was killed deliberately and from point blank range from live ammunition. Now shouldnt this be in the headlines of the MSM(Mainstream media) ? …. but hey guess what its not. Why? … he was a US citizen that was executed and the UN has confirmed it was pure intentional killing cause that kid who was only 19(if im not mistaken) was lying ont the ground when he was shot from point blank range. Now why isnt this in the headlines? ….. Doesnt the US care about its own US citizens anymore? … Just imagine if iran had done the same thing. What would the US have done by now? … attacked it for attacking a US citizen? …. the US media is just a biased one that is owned by the pro zionist , AIPAC lobby and to tell u that the whole US congress is also pro zionist. So well i dont care bout what Iran does cause i dont see them as muslims so i wont comment on them but i do know how the US manipulates their own citizens minds.btw did u hear any news which should have been breaking news since it was a coup in equador. Can i ask why such crucial news didnt make headlines?

  22. Yeah veils do not make a difference in Egypt for sure…it's good that this message is getting out there so women stop getting told that veiling prevents harassment -__-

  23. Blackb3ard911,I agree completely with your point on so-called Muslim countries, not behaving the Islamic way. I do however question, why there is no focus on these issues, why it isn't taken more seriously?About the media (especially the US media), I couldn't agree more! I think it is absolutely appalling that we are told so little about the war crimes committed by Israel. And yes, the West, the US, is often incredibly hypocritical when it comes to how they treat different incidents.

  24. Thanks Becky. I hate censoring people, it makes my skin crawl, and I was really hoping to never ban someone from commenting. But I do think some people take advantage of my willingness to publish their angry comments. And I meant what I said to peace – I really don't think its healthy to keep obsessing over something you dislike so much. There have been plenty of blogs I've read that make my blood boil, but I don't spend my days leaving nasty comments! Life is just too short.blackb3ard911, I couldn't agree more about the US media's hypocrisy. Not a day goes by, especially lately, that I'm not shaking my head in shame and bewilderment at my countries' activities. However, I don't think that means what's happening to Ashtiani is any less horrible. I take on some issues as they come, but there are so many others… more than I can handle most days. :(Regarding the hijab story, blackb3ard911, I wasn't trying to say whether or not hijab was a religious requirement, only that it shouldn't be advertised to Muslim women as a deterrent for sexual harassment, nor should women in general be blamed for the failings of men.

  25. @sophia

    well like i said i cant comment on ashtianis case. Firstly Iran is a shia country. Maybe u dont know but after the revolution , the sunnis were badly treated and hunted down and werent allowed to practise their religion.

    and if u didnt know then u can read one of their shia books written by their imam’s who write the most vile and vulgar words against Aisha(rad) and other companions and wives of Muhammad(sws).

    back to ashtiani’s case. like i said i dont know. And i think there are alot of other people we can help but we cant ,like lets say the children of gaza that have been under the israeli blockade for over like 2 years now and no1 can do a thing bout it cause whenever a bill is sent to the UN to help palestine , the US vetoes the bill on the order of Israel. I mean it is a fact that Israel is the one that runs the US … Theres no hiding it … Even ex-cia are speaking openly about it.

    Well i would say that the hijab protects women to a certain extent from normal people but perv’s will be perv’s thats why they deserve their eyes taken out so they cant see again and disturb women. And well the primary cause for wearing the hijab is to guard ur modesty and it is a commandment from Allah(swt) just like for the males it is to grow the beard but most men reject that although it openly says in the hadith that men should grow their beards and trim their moustaches. And it is told to the man to first lower his gaze before the women.


    **I do however question, why there is no focus on these issues, why it isn’t taken more seriously?**

    well thats easy …. its cause people are too busy building tall buildings and making money. and no1 cares bout these issues. Exactly what the Prophecies of Muhammad(sws) say in hadiths. A person will only care bout this issue when his mother or daughter or sister gets raped.

    Let me tell u a story. One day a man’s daughter came to him complaining that a bunch of perv’s disturb her when she leaves her uni to come home. At this the man sinked his head in his hands remembering that he also used to do the same when he wasn’t married.

    So u see society has gone corrupt. U put people in jail? for what? to come back as professionals? They use ur tax money to feed those criminals in jail that are involved in the most gruesome crimes. And its ur tax money. And that is why sharia will always be the cure for these problems.

  26. Sophia,

    I could not agree more. I speak about this quite often on people’s blogs regarding hijab. It does absolutely nothing to protect against sexual harassment and rape, and also should not be a reason to cover.
    The reason is supposed to be for showing one’s commitment to God, not to protect oneself from men!
    I see people pushing it as protection against men as using scare tactics to control women.

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