With the recent political revolutions in the Middle East, its now time for a sexual revolution also.
We need to strike while the iron is hot!!
Although some Middle Eastern countries may give their citizens freedoms in regard to their sexuality, I would be in denial if I didn't say that Middle Eastern/Arab countries as a whole need to have major reforms in the areas of personal sexuality.
The revolutions must not only take place in Arab institutions but also within the Arab culture, and this is a challenge to say the least. As challenging as this may be, it is not impossible. Need I remind you how many people said the current revolutions were impossible? What is possible is defined by what our minds allow us to believe is possible.
The Arab Sexual Revolution must take place in homes, workplaces, streets and especially IN THE MIND.
Women in the region must begin to non-violently disobey all the rules and restrictions, placed on them by their governments or families, to have a chance at a dignified life.
The Arab governments have proven that our rights will never be given to us, they must be TAKEN.
There are many areas in which reforms must be made, but I will mention some of the most essential ones:
- Women must become masters of their own destiny; ITS ALL ABOUT CHOICES, NO COMPULSION. This is in regards to all issues affecting women's personal lives. Women must be able to choose whether or not to wear the hijab (veil), who to marry and where and with whom to live and work.
- Women and Men must begin to tear down the wall of stigma when it comes to being raped or sexually assaulted. Currently, most women in the Middle East do not report cases of rape because of fears of being blamed for the assault, being labeled as "damaged goods", being convicted of prostitution and bringing shame upon their families. This must stop. Eman Al-Obeidi is currently tearing down these walls.
- Women must NOT be subjected to any form of genital mutilation, such as female circumcision and "virginity tests".
- Sexual harassment of women has become a cultural norm. Women who are groped or harrased in public are usually blamed for it because they are not veiled. This must stop! Men must take responsibility for controlling their "temptations".
- Homosexuality must become a private personal matter and not a criminal offense punishable by law. The mentality towards homosexuality must be changed first with legislature and then through culture. I know for a fact that homosexuality exists in the Arab world just as much as it does in the Western world, it is just swept under the rug. Homosexuals are citizens too and should be given the same rights as heterosexuals. To follow a brave Arab homosexual on Twitter, its @TheHomoEdition. This tweep is a brave man from Egypt who found his voice during the revolutions.
- Another issue is the ability for single Arab women to live alone. I remember telling my mother that if I was still single by the age of 30, I would definitely move out of our home and get an apartment or something. She was shocked at the idea and said, "This is Kuwait not America, women don't do that here. And if you do, you will remain single until you die". She meant it as a threat, yet I saw it as being liberating to be single until I died. This issue is more cultural that legal, as in many Arab nations women can own land. The issue lies in women's fears of becoming stigmatized as "whores" or "loose women" just because they are independent.
- Women must have access to birth control even if they are not married. The stigma surrounding premarital sex must be done away with.
My final point is that all of these advances cannot be made with a political separation of "Mosque and State". A secular government must be established to ensure that religion does not impede on personal rights.