One more step in the fight against sexual harassment in Egypt

I have now completed my article and it will soon be published by Fair Observer, once the editors edit it and the web designers format it to look neat and pretty. Woohoo!

I have also been able to complete my MA unexpectedly in the past 2 weeks. I never imagined I’d be able to complete it this year after my attack forced me to abandon the unfinished documentary. I will admit, I am rather proud of myself.

It was quite a challenge to fit so many moving stories and viewpoints into such a tight word count. I soon came to realise that sexual harassment in Egypt needs much more extensive coverage, which has inspired my decision to create some kind of web resource for women to share their experiences of sexual harassment, and their ideas about tackling the problem. This will also provide me with room to share the stories I have already featured in my article in greater depth. The idea is in its infancy at the moment, but I’ll keep you updated.

It’s deeply satisfying to be connected to the cause of fighting sexual harassment. It’s raised my awareness of the plight of women in so many regions of the world who suffer in different ways every single day simply because they are women, which makes them vulnerable. I feel the plight of women in the Congo (who I will be running 10K for on Sunday), Egypt, India, Honduras and many other regions demands much greater media coverage in order to capture the attention of women in Britain and elsewhere. As cliched as it may sound, I have begun to feel a much deeper bond to womankind – a kind of sisterhood that motivates me to do much more to defend women’s rights globally.

I’ve now got a 10K run on Sunday that I am nowhere near physically fit enough to complete with ease; I anticipate that I’ll be crawling across the finish line. But the cause is so incredibly worthwhile and I’m very glad to be part of it.

Then I’m off to Oxford for my 2-week internship with Unreported World. I cannot wait. It’s going to be a fantastic experience – I’m sure of it. I’m so happy to be interning for a programme that I feel so genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about. I hope I can bring oodles of positive energy to the team without being annoying.

Today is a good day!

New beginnings

Things are starting to look brighter. After a month of recuperation and reorganisation of my plans, I’m feeling more optimistic about taking on new challenges and reaching different goals.

Until this summer, I’d been hurtling through life, always feeling I needed to work harder, be stronger, and push myself to the limit with bigger and bigger challenges. My mind never stopped fretting and stressing about whether I was good enough, clever enough, strong enough; whether I could really make my big ambitions a reality. I was overambitious. I was also cursed with ‘Invincibility of Youth’ syndrome, with symptoms including naivety, impulsiveness, recklessness, carelessness, idealism and underestimating danger and difficulty.

Since the attack, I’ve calmed down. I’ve slowed my mind down. I have a different perspective on life, and am rebuilding my life from the ground up. I live in the present, not the past or the future. I see things much more simply, and am enjoying a level of inner peace that I had never experienced until now. I’m much more content just to be alive. I am becoming a happier, healthier, and better person.

I have a lot to organise. I feel passionately about helping to combat the abuse of women both in Egypt and across the world – including the UK – and am trying to find ways to channel that passion into a workable strategy. This project will take time, and a great deal of planning, and I’m not sure exactly what form it will take. Only time will tell.

In September, I am due to undertake a 2-week placement with Unreported World. Undertaking this placement is a really big step for me, having struggled with symptoms of PTSD. But this is a step in the right direction. I’ll gain an insight into what it really takes to become a documentary filmmaker and to work on professional documentaries, from pre- to post-production. I’m very excited, if a little nervous.

Prior to this, I’ll be participating in the ‘Run for Congo Women’ 10K event organised by Women for Women International, who help Congo women survivors of rape to rebuild their lives. This will be my first fundraising event, and I’m so proud and excited to be taking part. Women and children in the Congo are in desperate need of such support, with thousands of women being raped every week; 2011 statistics showed 48 Congo women were being raped every hour. So again, this is a step in the right direction, a chance for me to do something to support women plagued with sexual violence on a daily basis.

This is only the beginning, but it’s a good start. After watching my world come crashing down 6 weeks ago, I’m now feeling better about what I can achieve if I set my mind to it. I have a new direction, a new sense of purpose, and a commitment to furthering the cause of women’s rights and freedom from violence and discrimination across the world.

As the old saying goes: when life gives you lemons…