Following the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, women have been sharing their stories of sexual harassment online using the hashtag #metoo. Here, Shaimaa Khalil writes about her first experience of harassment as a child growing up in Egypt.
There’s one particular day – soon after I turned 11 – that I can’t forget.
I was at my grandparents’ house and for the first time I’d been allowed to go out with a cousin and her friend, without any adults – three girls on our own, out on our first adventure.
Don’t go too far and don’t spend your money on stupid things,” my grandma warned us. She meant ice cream – and yes, we were planning to spend our money on that.
I was excited, but nervous. This needed to go well if I was to stand a chance of ever going out on my own!
“OK Shaimaa,” I remember thinking. “No falling, no fighting, no losing your money.” I should have added: “No getting sexually harassed by teenage boys.” But how could I know?
In the busy summer streets of Alexandria, we hadn’t realised we were being followed. But three boys walking behind started bumping into us. Then one of them groped me.
All I could do to escape our tormentors was walk ahead as fast as I could, with my cousin and her friend trying to catch up.
But they kept following us.