“The same people who are supposed to PROTECT you [the army], are HARASSING you!!”

I was on my way home, after a light evening with some friends in a pub in Beirut.

There was a checkpoint on the karantina bridge, right off mar mkhael area (this became very usual these days). Usually, if you’re a girl, soldiers let you go very easily. This time was different.

The soldier on the checkpoint did a move with his head, signifying: you can go. but in a fraction of second, he changed his mind and asked me to park on the right. I realized my shirt (even if it was more or less decent) might be the cause of this sudden change of mind.

Another soldier on the right asked for my papers, which I gave him. everything seemed fine to him, so he asked me: “why did he (the 1st soldier) asked you to park?”. I had no answer… To my amazement, I see the 1st soldier leaving his checkpoint (yes leaving it), and coming my direction. He stopped by my car and observed me.

2nd soldier: why did u ask her to park?

1st soldier, smiling in connivance : “mashi khayye, I wanted to check if her papers were in order”.

2nd soldier: (smiles). She doesn’t have her mecanique papers (As if I was supposed to have them… he could have looked on the stickers of my front glass!). What shall we do?

1st soldier: (gives me a loooong look, with a dirty smile) yalla let her go!

For the 1st time in my life, I felt completely: amazed, shocked, insulted, naked, and infuriated! The same people who are supposed to PROTECT you, are HARASSING you, directly or indirectly!

Submitted by Anonymous

Location: Karantina, Beirut

Time of harassment:  20-2: Night / الليل

Do you have a personal experience with sexual harassment or assault you would like to share? Please click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

هل لديك تجربة شخصية مع التحرش الجنسي أو الاعتداء تريد مشاركته ؟ الرجاء الضغط هنا وملء استمارة التقديم على الانترنت. وتنشر جميع التقارير مجهول ما لم تحدد

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5 responses to ““The same people who are supposed to PROTECT you [the army], are HARASSING you!!”

  1. Great Post!!! I’m feeling the same about the 2 soldiers standing permanently down my building.. I cannot leave my house or come back to it without hearing toltish!! It makes me feel really uncomfortable!!

  2. Ok. Ok! Let us not panic or generalize here. This clearly is an incident that stems from the soldier in question. I don’t even consider it harassment. Young soldiers in the Lebanese army are mostly recruited from rural areas with very little exposure to city life. I am sure he meant no harm, And trust me, next time you are in danger this dude will be among the first to protect you. I think the website’s admin should modify some of the comments or stories left. There is sadly a trend towards generalizing in Lebanon, which makes it unfair in the rest, thanks : D

  3. qawemeharassment

    I agree that generalization is an issue we need to be aware of in discussing harassment (and harassers)- however we try to leave stories as unedited as possible to allow contributors the ability to express themselves as they wish, except in explicitly discriminatory or offensive terms.

    That said, I think there are a great deal of tales of harassment and abuse at the hands of those who have been entrusted to “protect” us for us, and it is not unfair to hypothesize about the kind of masculinity the military cultivates (and jobs entrusted to many soldiers- typified by groups of men, holding guns, standing on street corners watching passerby) and how that affects our experiences of the street.

  4. in fact i had a problem myself with the police office gemmayzeh (i do not know exactly if this is the name of the street !) i went there to check the phone number of an anonyme that damaged my car while it was parked . honestly the building inside has no order and it is a chaos i was handled there for an hour waiting that three of them doing their ‘calls’ till i ended in on room ‘office’ for the excuse that they have an air condition in that one ! and not in other ones and i was shocked to find there are also their beds there !
    how an official office meant to receive citizens and protect them and provide them information and their right to get informed on what procedures they should do . but instead there is a permanent insecurity and i guess this is not a generalization , do you feel safe they are wearing their military suits all the time ?? is this meant to make us feel safe and protect us ? this point alone is psychologicaly treating in a CIVIL society !!!!!!!!!

  5. There is a big difference between the police and army in this country. The police are disrespectful and rude, and its very rare to find a decent one. The soldiers on the other hand are very respectful. Surely there will be odd one outs here and there, but that is found everywhere and no just in Lebanon. In the end what they did wasn’t real harassment, nor did it pose any threat to you. Please do not generalize when it comes to the Lebanese army, their image should not be tainted by infrequent stories such as these. Am sure other girls might not have really cared bout it, or they might have taken it lightly.

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