Kuwaiti fashion blogger Ascia Al Faraj, who has more than 2.5 million social media followers, sparked an online campaign against women harassment through her Twitter handle after a vehicle sped up to scare her while she was walking to her car last week.
According to her through an emotionally explosive video uploaded, “there is a problem in the country. Every time I go out, there is someone who harasses me or harasses another woman in the street, do you have no shame? We have a problem of harassment in this country, and I have had enough.”
Dozens of testimonies about being stalked, harassed, or assaulted have emerged online afterward mainly from the Instagram account “Lan Asket”, Arabic for “I will not be silent”. Statements came from Kuwaiti citizens as well as expatriates, who make up a large sum of the total population.
Women in Kuwait are defying conservative norms and a culture of shame to speak out against harassment for the first time, in a social media campaign sparked by the popular fashion blogger.
A 27-year-old doctor Shayma Shamo, who studied abroad and moved back to Kuwait last year also launched the “Lan Asket” platform after seeing Faraj’s video.
“As soon as I opened the account, the messages started to pour in … from women and girls that have experienced verbal, physical and sexual harassment. Silence is no longer an option. We must speak up, unite and defend each other because what is happening is unacceptable.