The Sad Reality of This Society: A Reaction To Nicole Assaf’s Tragic Death

The tragic news of the death of Nicole Assaf, a fourth year Civil Engineering student at the American University of Beirut, has shaken us all badly.

Photo from AUB’s Facebook page

I mean, of course it would. An accomplished 21 year old a few months away from graduation was found in a pool of blood in Hamra without a definite reason. Was it a murder? Was it a suicide? What exactly happened?

It’s a scene straight out of a thriller film: sad, horrifying, and makes you think, what really went on?

Speculations will fly, however. Here is an example of a conversation that happened between my fiance Ahmad and one of his coworkers. Let’s call him X.

X: Did you hear about the girl who was raped and found dead in Hamra?

Ahmad: Wait a minute, we don’t know if she was raped. All the story said was that she was found dead.

X: Of course she was raped. She was an AUB student.

Here I interjected…

Me: What? He actually said that? So he’s implying AUB students deserve to be raped? I wonder what he thinks about me then.

Ahmad: Oh sweetie, you’d definitely be way past that point (said jokingly).

I haven’t stopped thinking about what X said. Mainly because X represents a good chunk of our society that think a woman brings rape upon herself because she’s dressed in a certain way or acts in a way that doesn’t conform with specific expectations.

It’s always the woman’s fault, unfortunately. Poor her, they’ll say, should a tragedy occur, but she played a a part in this too.

We don’t even know the full story yet and already she has been accused of being raped (like it is her fault) because she is a female student at one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

Mind you, this inflammatory comment was coming from someone fairly young who interacts with people (females too) on a daily basis.

Then again, nothing scares that chunk of people like an educated woman. A woman who is empowered and stands up and says no.

I wish people would wait until the results of the investigation come out before they start jumping to conclusions on what happened. And I also wish that people would respect Nicole’s memory and her family’s right to privacy before speculating.

Rest in peace Nicole and may God grant your family the patience to overcome this period. We can only hope the investigations will reveal what truly happened and that the right actions will take place.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. ranu802 says:

    I also hope they’d find the cause of this horrific crime.

  2. Mark Rodgers says:

    I am sad to hear of Nicole’s death and my thoughts are with her family and friends. Your essay brings sharpley into focus the attitudes that exist in certain minds not only in your country but throughout a certain chunk of the male population in this world today.

    Today Ireland is griefing over the loss of Karen Buckley, a 24 yrs old nursing student who disappeared on a night out with friends in Glasgow, Scotland last Sunday. In this case the police have made an arrest and murder is clearly the reason for her death but nothing will bring Karen back. The murderer did try to tarnish her name with a false story of intimacy in his flat before, he claimed, she left on her own at 4.00am to walk a considerable distance home to her flat. This was before her body was found today and he changed, in police eyes, from an interested person to a murderer. Another instance of a male acting without respect to and for his female companion.

    1. Aloosh1996 says:

      Horrible stories, very indicative of a serious problem in a significant chunk of the population of Lebanon and other countries. But that’s where I have to add: It’s not just men who think this way. There are actually some women in our society (probably fewer than men) who also agree with this notion that women bring rape upon themselves. It’s so simple for many young men and women to think this way, since many of them grow up in households where strict rules are enforced to control how they view their own bodies. They’re taught to be ashamed of their natural sexual inclinations. Basically, I think that this archaic notion has to be fought regardless of gender, as ironic as that may sound (since it’s women that are almost always the target of this ridiculous accusation that the clothes justify the rape).

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