Video: Tunisian women share insults they’ve received on the street


“Why are you so nervous? Do you have your period?” “You’re ugly, go home!” “You’re a girl, you can’t drive.” These are just a couple of examples from a video project in which filmmakers asked 60 Tunisian women to give examples of verbal sexual harassment they’ve faced on the street.

On March 20, Tunisia celebrated 60 years of independence. For the occasion, two women’s rights NGOs created this video, which they titled “60 years of independence and our bodies are still colonised.” It is full of insults, sexist comments and unwelcome propositions. Several of the women are famous in Tunisia, including journalist Lina Ben Mhenni, actress Amira Chebli, and MP Bochra Belhaj Hmida.

In Tunisia, sexual harassment is defined by law in the following manner: “Sexual harassment means persistently bothering another person through repeated acts or words or movements that can insult their dignity or their sense of modesty, with the goal of subjecting them to your sexual desires or those of others, or by exerting pressure that would weaken their ability to resist your desires.” It is punishable by one year in prison and a fine of 3000 dinars (1,300 euros).

For the NGO Chouf, who participated in the video’s making, this law is far from sufficient: “The law demands repetition, but street harassment is not repetitive in nature, and this gives harassers a sentiment of impunity”, one of its activists, Senda Ben Jebara, told HuffPost Maghreb.