Muslim Sexual Harassment in Yemen

Yemen veil

In my article The Myth that Veiling Protects Women from Assault I reported that Muslim women who dress modestly to prevent unwanted advances from men are deluding themselves. Covering oneself from head to toe does not change how Muslim men view or treat women.

Take Yemen for example: almost every woman in Yemen is covered from head to toe and yet 90 percent of them report being sexually harassed. (1) Some Yemeni Newspapers report the harassment to be as high as 99% (2).

So much for the silly Muslim notion that modestly dressed women are protected against unwanted advances from men.

But in America where infidel women go around dressed nearly naked like harem harlots there is nowhere near such a high percentage of sexual harassment. The difference in the way women are treated in America compared to Yemen is directly related to the fact that American woman actually have rights while women in Islam are told they have rights but certainly do not. Women in America have the right to dress how they wish and they are treated with greater respect than in Yemen where they are forced to hide their beauty, their personality, their very femininity.

The image at top right is from a photo essay by photojournalist Catalina Martin-Chico who photographed four sisters in Sana, the capital of Yemen. One of the more poignant observations by Ms Martin-Chico:

The last time she saw the sisters, about a year ago, Fatima had just started working at a large clothing store where she was allowed to remove her niqab. She and her sisters dream of walking to the store for milk and feeling the wind on their faces — a sensation they remember from childhood.

"They cannot laugh," Ms. Martin-Chico said. "They cannot, of course, dance or listen to music in the streets."

That's what these women are: sad prisoners of their religion - unable to enjoy even such a simple thing as the wind on their face.

This is post # 6 in the category called Muslim Sexual Harassment. I started this series of articles to investigate country by country a claim made by a reader that women choose to wear the hijab in Muslim countries and that Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are the only countries that enforce a dress code. For the premier article please read Muslim Sexual Harassment in the Jordan.


(1):, Sexual harassment forces Arab women to stay at home

Where segregation between the sexes is the norm and women are sheltered by religious or tribal customs, cases of sexual harassment are still common at homes and in the times when women must venture out, whether to markets, hospitals or government offices. In Yemen, where nearly all women are covered from head to toe, activist Amal Basha said 90 percent of women in a published study reported harassment, specifically pinching. "The religious leaders are always blaming the women, making them live in a constant state of fear because out there, someone is following them," she said. If a harassment case is reported in Yemen, Basha added, traditional leaders interfere to cover it up, remove the evidence or terrorize the victim.


Yemen Observer, 3 Feb 2010, Many women in Yemen don’t know about regulations against harassment

Harassment against women study conducted by Athar Foundation

A recent study showed %99 of women in Sana’a undergoes sexual harassment from males in the streets. The study covered the range of sexual offensive behaviors in the streets only which are found threatening or disturbing by most of the study respondents.

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