Last year, the #MeToo movement saw a critical mass of women grow rapidly less tolerant of harassment and abuse. But what happens when women take their newly-minted expectations on tour?
“Boyfriend? Husband? I liiiike you,” hisses the young Moroccan man, shaking a menu at me. I veer around him and continue to the ATM on the other side of the square. Dirhams withdrawn, I return to my hotel the long way.
A second guy, older, sitting in the shade of a doorway, makes kissing noises to get my attention. He returns my look defiantly: There’s no heat, no lust. This isn’t about sex or intimacy. It’s about taking a jab, rattling his target and dominating the public space. It’s about power.
I’d just arrived in Chefchaouen. If this was my first outing, I think, what’s in store for the next two weeks?
Despite my jetlag, my heart had been full when I walked into the sun of this enchanting mountain town of painted-blue buildings. These encounters were a slap across my silly face. Had I conducted more pre-trip research on Morocco’s reputation for street harassment, maybe I’d have arrived with thicker skin and would already be hiking up to the Spanish mosque, getting the sun and exercise I needed after two days of flying.