Sexual Harassment and the Question of Educational Responsibility: The Case of Morocco
Sex is one of three forces affecting human life beside money and power. If joined together, the three constitute a giant triple that can boost human energy or blow it out in a wink of an eye. Both men and women can be subject to such forces, yet sex appears to be the most serious one, because it has to do with the two wings of the same bird: men and women.
At the age of puberty, both boys and girls embark on a new phase of their lifetime, enduring significant changes in their physiological and psychological status. The transition from childhood to adulthood not only accompany with the maturity of one’s sexual organs and the appearance of secondary traits like a considerable increase in height and weight...etc, but it also results in emotional and behavioral ups and downs. During this age, sex functions like a magnet, attracting men to women and vice versa. Such attraction is natural and normal because we are endowed with it and go through it during adulthood; yet a balance must be truck between the power of sexual attraction, and the demands of self-safety and socio-cultural stability. Otherwise, men and women, families and societies will be subject to all forms of decline, crimes, and moral degradation.
Among those undesirable, behavioral aspects of sex in Morocco is sexual harassment or abuse. It’s the outcome of the gap between the power of sex and the power of morality. Bridging such a gap is a special task of education, yet I am afraid that nothing serious is done to fill in this gap with the appropriate education. Who is to blame? And how can such immoral behavior be defeated?
No one has the right to harass the other, and sexual harassment is broader than what most people think of. The men intruding upon women here and there have no excuse to act so abusively, and the same thing is to be said to women harassing men. Yes, women harassing men?! Sexual harassment comes up from both sides, and everyone is to blame: the individuals (men and women), the family, school, civic associations, and the government. When men or women harass each other, it's because they didn't acquire, to say not learn, the necessary ethics to respect each other. Schools and families aren't doing their job in educating children as far as the co-sexual relationships are concerned. The government also is doing nothing special to integrate such issues into our system of education, to which the media is a part. The latter is supposed to raise people’s awareness about sexual harassment and the importance of sexual education within our frames of culture and morality; rather, mass media programs today, loaded with large, explicit or implicit sexual content, decide to play with the spectators’ sexual lusts instead of illuminate how the youth should cope with the conflicts inside them and redirect their energy and potentials toward creativity, scientific research, and the making of a knowledge society.
Men are harassing women through their constant, scanning gazes and sexually harassing words and phrases. Women, in turn, are seducing men via their daily semi-nude appearance, body language, and sexy expressions, both verbal and non-verbal. Each one has his or her own way of drawing attention, and that can be with one’s intention or no intention, conscious or unconscious. Both men and women like to be adored and respected, yet very few know that a sexy wink, a smile, or a word might lead to the most awful experience in their life: a glimpse, then a dating, then an illegal, sexual intercourse.
Within our Moroccan, Islamic context, that would be the Big Crunch of a person. Yet for girls and guys within the western culture, where most countries are celebrating the “Sexual Revolution,” such experience might be the nicest night in their life; and if not, one might feel guilty that day and go back to the drawing board the following day. Again, how can such immoral behavior be defeated?
Well, sexual harassment, if it we are to defeat it, we must define it according to a common, philosophical background. And because it has to do with sex, then the first step to illuminate the situation is to agree on a common perspective and regulation about sex and sexual relationships. Here comes the role of religion and ideology. Are we really willing to embrace Islam as a comprehensive criterion by which we understand and manage our public and private affairs? Or do we prefer to keep Islam aside and adopt the western ideology of sex and “Sexual Liberation”? Let’s first cast an eye over the two perspectives.
To start with, Islam adopts a moderate vision about sex and sets plain guidelines for safe, sexual relationships. It admits that sex, as a feeling and a mutual relationship, is a very part of human nature. Allah the Almighty says:
“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put Love and mercy between your (hearts), verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” [The Quran, Ar-Room 30:21]
So males and females are like the two wings of the same bird. They both constitute one part as they are created from the same, human self. So it’s no wonder that both men and women in Islam tend to get closer to one another, for Allah has bestowed them with love and mercy; and that is one of His signs and proves for those who negate and deny His existence and Godhead. In another words, neither men nor women can exist and live in isolation, for they were created to live together in love and tranquility, and that is a must for the survival and continuity of the human kind. Yet, the devil also exists, and Islam doesn’t deny the predisposition of Man to go astray and behave wildly like a devil or erotically like an animal; therefore, Islam has set a preventive, moderate doctrine to meet Man’s sexual needs in a way that guards his human essence, dignity, and supremacy over other creatures; and sustain his social stability, safe co-sexual relationships, and positive, societal integration. For instance, Islam prohibits and criminalizes any sexual relationship outside marriage and sets mandatory punishments, which might reach death penalty, against the adults going into that with their pure will and intention. That is why Allah warns Muslims of pursuing any step leading to adultery. Allah the Almighty says:
“And do not approach Zina (unlawful sexual intercourse). Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” [The Quran, Surat Al-'Isrā'17:32]
The steps to adultery may begin with a sexy gaze or eye-contact targeting the other’s naked or embodied sexual properties, especially those of women; it begins with sexy words and chats between boys and girls; it starts from homes equipped with dozens of media stuff such as pornographic novels, TV shows, video clips and films, the net…etc. When boys or girls are accustomed to such things, they are likely to become inside a magnetic field where adultery, sexual harassment, and any other form of sexual relationships are likely to pull them on. That is why Islam teaches us to purify our environment of any sexual, implicit or explicit, content; to avoid getting isolated with a non-mahram woman; to busy yourself doing what is good for you, now and in the hereafter; to lower your gazes and wear according to the Islamic philosophy and Shariah ; to keep pious and protect your chastity; to get married and enjoy sex legally within marriage, inside your bedroom and out of others’ sight, as the only way to meet one’s sexual needs. And if one went beyond that or chose another way instead of the way of Allah, that would a wrong way. Allah the Almighty says:
“Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves. And fear Allah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers.” [The Quran, Surat Al-Baqarah 2:223]
But, Allah the Almighty says,
“Whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.” [The Quran, Surat Al-Mu'minūn 23:7]
As for the modern, western ideology of sex, men and women are free to do whatever they want with their bodies. It’s free for a man and a woman to have sex outside marriage if they both agree and are satisfied; and no one has the right to interfere in their business. Thus, the institutions of prostitution are welcomed as far as they don’t force people to join them. Abortion is also on the way to be legalized throughout the west as it goes with the philosophy of “Sexual Freedom”. People are also free to dress the way they want, arrange their hair as they prefer, and even marry to their same sex (homosexuality), lawfully and publicly. After the “Sexual Revolution” in the west, people have substituted God with sex and money, and so you can find sex everywhere, even inside homes and public buildings, embodied in the form of nude statues and images, showing and glorifying human, sexual properties. Women in the west are therefore embracing any new fashion or makeup that can excite men and boost their sexual lusts and desires. For that reason, the western sex often turns into wildness and barbarism, killing thousands of people, both the victims and the criminals.
Unfortunately, women have not only become a subject of sexual exploitation, but also an object of adornment and decoration. A woman, a sexy and a nearly nude woman, is always present in western media , advertisements, and celebrations as a sexual stimulus for the public. Morocco, having opened the doors wide to the west, is enduring this turmoil in every corner. With the absence of a common philosophical criterion and a shared conceptual repertoire and vision, Morocco looks like a carriage driven by four horses toward four, opposite directions; the carriage can’t move anywhere, for it just ruptures and breaks into parts. That is the case of Morocco.
1. It’s very important here to note that the purpose of women’s wear in Islam according to Shariah is not to look sexy and exciting, but to cover their awrah- that is, a woman’s whole body except or with the face and the hands. Such wear shouldn’t be narrow or transparent. It should cover all her sexual ups and downs so that her whole physical portrait is not sexually touching.
2. By « the west » and « western » I refer to the whole ideology-and not the geographical location- that conflicts with religion and morality, and glorify « sexual freedom » and “liberalism” in the whole human affairs. Thus, the Arab states following the percepts of this philosophy are but western as their patrons.