Dating a middle eastern woman
Eltahawy describes the horrifying reality in the Middle East, where rape victims are often more stigmatized than rapists, and where women can be punished as "fornicators" under the , the part of Islamic law that has to do with unlawful sexual intercourse.
Perhaps most upsetting is the prevalence of rape victims who are persuaded to marry their rapist.
To start a sexual revolution and overthrow the patriarchy that exists in the home, streets, and minds, women must share their personal stories.
The Middle East needs to confront the issues of "sexual freedom, shame, and honor" and end what she calls an alliance of oppression between the state and the street.
Combining her own experiences growing up in Egypt with examples of injustices across numerous countries in the region, Eltahawy paints a picture of a world that is dangerous and unjust for women, and covers issues such as veiling, virginity, rape, harassment, domestic abuse, and equal representation before the law. Her shock and horror led her to believe that if she covered herself she would be protected from sexual harassment.
As she got older she convinced herself she was expressing her feminist right to choose the veil.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, she called for a shift in focus from political leaders who oppress their citizens to the men who oppress women in the streets and at home.
Her words prompted angry responses from many on the Left who are loath to blame one religion or culture for this miserable state of affairs. The book more thoroughly addresses the reality of women’s lives in the Muslim world and advocates for a sexual revolution there.
They hate us because they need us, they fear us, they understand how much control it takes to keep us in line, to keep us good girls with our hymens intact…" Men, even "moderates," view the hymen as the source of insatiable sexual appetite that leads women into sin and disrepute, she argues.
This is done so the rapist avoids facing charges, and the woman can restore honor to her family by keeping the loss of her virginity linked to only one man.
This puts women in the often dangerous position of either marrying the man who attacked them or facing honor crimes, possibly murder, at the hands of family members.
This was demonstrated during the Arab Spring protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square when numerous women, including Eltahawy, reported being sexually assaulted both by military officials as well as by fellow protestors.
In this way, women are pushed from public spaces into the home, allegedly for their own protection.