READ­ERS TELL OF BE­ING HA­RASSED IN STREET

Dubai Po­lice this week urged mem­bers of the public to re­port ha­rass­ment in the street after a univer­sity study found three-quar­ters of res­i­dents have been sub­jected to it. Here, we speak to 7DAYS read­ers about their ex­pe­ri­ences

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Shab­nam Bashiri @Shab­namBashiri

TOLD TO GET INTO A CAR

Laven­der Sheshe, 21, a tech firm ex­ec­u­tive from Tan­za­nia, said: “I was walk­ing to Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre metro and a car started honk­ing while I was cross­ing the traf­fic light.

“I thought it was some­one I knew so I looked but it was an old Arab man.

“The car fol­lowed me into the ser­vice road.

“He pulled down the win­dow and told me to get in­side his car. I was car­ry­ing my books – he knew I was a stu­dent. I en­tered a store and pre­tended I was buy­ing glasses and I stayed there for 20 min­utes un­til he was gone.

“When­ever I walk alone I al­ways have to look around now.”

HA­RASSED ON THE HIGH­WAY

Zoubiya Ahmed, a Bri­tish IT train­ing firm worker, said: “Driv­ing along Al Ain road, I had a group of guys tail­gate me and drive above 100km try­ing to get my at­ten­tion.

“They were shout­ing ‘give me your num­ber’ and yelling their num­bers at me.

“They’d drive in front of me and break sharply, that was shock­ing.

“I ended up hav­ing to pull over the side of the road be­cause they could’ve caused an ac­ci­dent.

“The amount of street ha­rass­ment in Dubai is a lot less com­pared to Western coun­tries; how­ever the in­ci­dents are just al­ways shock­ing here.”

CON­FRONTED IN A CAR PARK

Mayasa Aziz, 21, a univer­sity stu­dent from Iraq, said: “A few months ago I was in the mall car park at 10.30pm and I saw a guy fol­low­ing me.

“He started ask­ing my name and why I’m here alone. He pulled on the plas­tic bag I was hold­ing and I kind of froze be­cause I was so shocked.

“Then he stood in front of my car door – re­fus­ing to leave un­less I gave him my num­ber. It con­tin­ued for 10 min­utes un­til I threat­ened to call the po­lice, which fi­nally got him to leave me alone.”

PESTERED BY OTHER MEN

James Ssem­pala Nam­pala, 39, a se­cu­rity man­ager from Uganda, said it is not just women that are ha­rassed.

He said: “It hap­pens of­ten, es­pe­cially in Deira.

“Both men and women ap­proach me and some­times ask me if I’d like to get in their cars, or say­ing they’ll buy me drinks. I tell them to back off and nor­mally they do. Some­times I have to threaten to call the po­lice to get them to leave me alone.”

CHASED BY A GANG OF 15

Elv­ina El­iz­a­beth, 21, an In­dian stu­dent, said: “Two of my friends and I were walk­ing from tu­ition classes in Karama and a group of 10 to 15 boys about our age started hoot­ing at us.

“One of my friends was an­noyed so she started whistling back at them.

“All of them started fol­low­ing. We were freak­ing out, they were lit­er­ally be­hind us.

“We split up and thought they had stopped fol­low­ing us.

“But my friend later told me they caught up to her, sur­rounded her and bad­gered her. She cried in the end and they let her go so she ran home.”

STALKED ON THE WALK

Nadiya Yousef Fties, 24, an Amer­i­can who works in re­tail, said: “On JBR Walk, I had one guy who kept honk­ing at me and ask­ing for my phone num­ber.

“He fol­lowed me around and wouldn’t leave me alone un­til I con­fronted him and told him to go away. It was scary that they’d ac­tu­ally fol­low some­one to get what they want.

“The same thing hap­pened in Mirdif, where the guy was per­sis­tent and wouldn’t leave – I lit­er­ally had to scream to scare him off.”

PROPOSITIONED IN THE STREET

Lea Donguines, 34, an ad­min as­sis­tant from the Philip­pines, said: “I stay in Dubai In­vest­ment Park and ev­ery time I go to work in the morn­ing some­one pass­ing in their car shouts at me.

“An­other time near Nasser Square one per­son ap­proached me and asked ‘How much? I have money’ think­ing I’m a pros­ti­tute.

“I threat­ened to call the po­lice if he didn’t leave, he quickly ran away. Such an em­bar­rass­ment. I read in your ar­ti­cle that these peo­ple can go to jail or get fined, I will re­port them now. Next time I will snap a picture of them or their car.”

NO MEANS NO: But women said it can take yelling or threats to call po­lice for ha­rassers to lis­ten

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