MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, JAKARTA – The high number of cases of sexual harassment against women stems from men’s inability to control their sexual desires and men’s unconscious view of women as objects.
Sexual harassment has levels. The lowest level is catcalling (teasing through looks, whistles, or flirting), while the highest is rape.
A member of the Muhammadiyah Council for Tarjih and Tajdid Prof. Alimatul Qibtiyah mentioned that, although the primary issue of sexual harassment lies within men, women are also seen to contribute to the problem.
“The indicators of harassment are coercion and humiliation making a person uncomfortable. For example, a woman is flirtatiously greeted with ‘Assalamualaikum, beautiful’, but sometimes she is fine with that. It is because of patriarchal culture, and she considers it’s common. Thus, the problems basically lie on both men and women,” said Prof. Alimatul Qibtiyah at the International Conference on Human Rights Issues and Religious Education at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta on Wednesday (3/5).
According to Prof. Alimatul Qibtiyah, the sexual objectification of women is the root of violence against women.
Since the objectification of women has become deeply ingrained in the subconscious, education and great parenting are the answer to shift the way of thinking.
Men’s and Women’s Roles in Sexual Harassment Prevention
Besides, women’s intelligence can reduce sexual harassment in how to dress and men’s obedience in lowering their gaze to honor fellow human beings.
“Now the question is how to avoid it, so we don’t become victims or perpetrators. First, we have to be smart in choosing how and what to wear, so we won’t be victims of the sexual harassment. A study revealed that 70% of Indonesians blamed victims. Many of them catcall when seeing women with a mini dress. Therefore, being smart in choosing what we wear is essential,” said Alimatul.
Indeed, Muslims need to properly comprehend and practice Al-Qur’an teaching, particularly regarding relations between women and men.
“Second, we may not respond to women in mini dress, so we won’t be perpetrators. Remember that none of verse or hadith mentions to harass women in mini dress, get their phone number, or rape them. There is none! Instead, there is a command to lower our gaze, ghadul bashar, get home soon, or fast,” said Alimatul.
“Hence, whatever people wear, we should honor fellow human beings, al karomah al insaniyah,” said Alimatul.