She started #NotYourHabibti to shine a light on sexual harassment in the Palestinian territories

Feb 4, 2018 by

Activist Yasmeen Mjalli types out women’s stories of sexual harassment in an effort to highlight the problem in the Palestinian territories. Credit: Courtesy of Yasmeen Mjalli

By Anna Lekas Miller –

On a sunny afternoon in Ramallah, one might see Palestinian American women’s rights activist Yasmeen Mjalli perched in front of a black typewriter in the city center of the de facto capital of the West Bank.

“In Palestine, we all know the symbol of the typewriter,” the 21-year-old activist says, explaining her choice of accessory — a gift to her, from a friend.

“It’s what [the Israelis] used to give permissions so that we could enter and exit the country.”

But Mjalli isn’t granting permissions. She’s gathering women’s stories of sexual harassment and carefully typing them out on her antiquated machine. It’s part of an interactive project she’s calling #NotYourHabibti, a play on the Arabic word for “sweetheart,” a term that, all too often, is used in a denigrating way. In this case, she’s saying, “not your sweetheart.” Mjalli invites women to break the taboos surrounding sexual harassment in the Palestinian territories by sharing their experiences with her; she types up what they say, keeping their identities private. Later, she posts their anecdotes on social media to make the women feel heard, and less alone.

Source: She started #NotYourHabibti to shine a light on sexual harassment in the Palestinian territories | Public Radio International

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