To Speak Up is to Begin

"When will we finally understand that rights are not granted, but taken?"



silenceGetty Image


Before getting into university, I was very excited I was finally going to be around people who are considered intelligent and educated and be in a place where I was going to feel comfortable given the fact that most people are raised up similar to the way I was, or so I thought.

It started off when last year, some workers who were responsible for construction in the green area verbally harassed me and some other random girls who were walking right in front of me.

In the beginning, I thought the girls were headed to complain, so I followed them, but I was shocked to find out that they just sat on a bench in the U area of the B as if nothing had happened. So I walked over to them and I asked if they heard what the workers said and they told me they did. Baffled, I asked if they were going to do anything about it, and they said they were really busy and that nobody would take action no matter what they did. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. However, I didn’t give up and I tried to convince them to come with me to complain. One girl agreed and said she was coming. We went to the head of security and told him the story. Much to our surprise, he immediately reacted and told us to go with him to identify the workers. The girl left and didn’t go, she told me I can go by myself. I was really surprised how she wasn’t even curious to see what would happen. When I was there, they had the workers apologize to me and the person responsible for those workers apologized to me and told me that he would ensure they get punished for what they had done. The head of security also gave me the option of suing them.
I felt really good I was able to take a stand, but I also felt sad for the girls who thought it was okay for this to happen in a place where they could have easily taken a stand.
People are really afraid of being judged, it’s a disease, even though they know it’s their right and that it could very easily be granted to them, they were afraid. This got me thinking, what are girls afraid of really? I understand the mentality behind not reacting to street harassment, as Egyptians are very well known for blaming the victim, but on campus? It makes me really sad how those people are supposedly the most educated in Egypt yet they can’t even speak up for what’s rightfully theirs.

When will we finally understand that rights are not granted, but taken? When are we ever going to learn that by not speaking up, we are contributing to our kingdom come? When will we realise that it is in our power to change the fate of this country? In fact, we are the only ones capable of changing the destiny of this country. We are the educated, we are the power.