But I can't be silent not so much about whats happened, but what I discovered about myself in the process.
The thing that happened:
I usually offer my services in digital marketing for free for fundraisers and people who do community work. So when a local religious (sheigh) leader asked to meet me to discuss a project. I thought nothing of it. I've met with plenty of them to know how to conduct myself.
Side Note: as someone who has recently embraced Hijab, I understand there is additional scrutiny on how I conduct myself in muslim restaurants, especially with local scholars/leaders
Flag 1: said sheigh pitched up in casual clothes and I could smell the cologne on him and could see he had recently shaved and groomed. This made me nervous because the first thing he remarked on was how pretty I was.
Flag 2: he kept asking me, how long I was prepared to stay there with him and once we were done with the meeting, would I take a drive with him to get dessert [ I have met many local Shuyook and have NEVER ever had this experience before]
At this point of the day, I was pretty uncomfortable, but stayed because I thought I was reading to much into things. because you know why should fat girls in abayas in scarves ever think that they'd be hit on ( my self worth is up for discussion on another day)
at this point, the way this man is looking at me, I am suddenly under no illussion about what this meeting was about. Offering me free trips and other payments/
I wait for him to leave the restaurant first and hide out in the loo until I think the coast is clear (This bit of paranoia was after him asking me what kind of car I drove and where I would be going to next)
I then make a hasty exit and go to a good friend.
Later that night, he messaged me to say, he'd like to meet again and hopefully won't be so "toe-gestiek" less conservatively dressed and that he owes me dessert (this last line actually made me vom)
I am usually pretty forceful and quick to call out bullshit. So why was this so different for me? Why didn't I stand up and walk out as soon as I was uncomfortable?
Where my head is at
For someone a local politician called belligerent, I could barely string a few sentences togethter to even explain what I felt.
I was violated, I was made to feel like a piece of meat and worse I couldn't udnertand WHAT I HAD DONE to make this man think he could treat me this way.
I was so mad at myself, for a being in that situation and for not speaking up about it. In my mind I was exempt from this kind of behaviour because of my size. FUCK ME was I wrong.
Im still pretty screwed up about this, and still dealing with it. But does this qualify as sexual abuse?because nothing actually happened aside from a married muslim sheigh hitting on me and assuming I was ok with it.
I won't be doing anything right now about this, except that I have blocked said guy from contacting me.
What the fuck do I do now?
disclaimer: I have had the honour of meeting some amazing scholars, sheighs and Imams and enjoy great relationships with them. and by no means do I assume that they're all the same