Algeria Alumni Update by Meriem Bouraoui

Feeling stronger than ever in my skin, working on my dreams on a daily basis, and using my words to fight for freedom, feminism, and motivate the youth. The title may say the opposite, this is not sarcasm ladies and gentlemen, this is the truth: I am weak in this big ugly world!

Yesterday afternoon, I was going to visit the woman who will help me transfer from the university in my hometown to the capital. The day before she had asked me to get her some paperwork, and on my way to her house, I felt something following me. I first thought it was a teenager who didn’t find anything to do, or just enjoys bothering girls, I was not afraid but the thing was getting closer and closer, it walked faster when I did and slower when I slowed down, it got so close that I could see their shadow that surpassed mine, throwing fear into my heart – this is a huge human being. I slowed down until they couldn’t keep with me and the last thing I remember seeing was a huge hand hitting my upper back and a scream saying ‘Today I’ll rape your God”, and in our dialect this means “I will rape you”.

My back was hurting me so much, and I was standing there in shock; I could neither move nor speak. I usually harass back those street-monsters but at the moment I couldn’t, not because I was in shock, I kept silent because I was afraid, yes I WAS AFRAID. I looked around and I saw no one, I looked at him and I saw how big and strong he was, then I thought about how small I am and how easy it would be for him to hold me and take me somewhere then rape me.

I felt weak although he looked at me for a while and then left; I felt weak and I wanted to cry so hard. I thought of my parents first and I wanted to tell them this but I immediately got the image of my father asking me “What were you wearing?”

What was I wearing? Really? Does it make it ‘HALAL’ for these people to kill and rape women if they are showing their skin? Does it make us less human? Does it make us targets? And since everyone talks about Halal (something we can do) and Haram (something we can’t do), does showing skin means it is Halal to kill and rape us?

What has this incident done to me? Well, it made me think seriously about going out in public and trying to speak up. Although I already do this in my country, now I want to do it worldwide. I am a writer, but I write mostly in Arabic. After this experience, I have been thinking about writing something BIG in English. I have thought about writing a book where I can talk about different human issues that my country and so many other regions in the world face. It is difficult to publish these kinds of things in Algeria, so I will try my best to publish it in the USA, because it’s a big powerful country that has impact on the whole world and that’s what I want: IMPACT, POSITIVE IMPACT!

So the question is, what do YOU think?

Written by Meriem Bouraoui a Global UGRAD 2016-17 student at Saginaw Valley State University

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