That is where I think we as a society are trapped. In this small, gloomy dark box. No one is trapping us (well, you could say some policies are), but we play the biggest part. Our own ‘norms’ and ‘cultural habits’ have gotten way out of hand and I say this now without doubt, we functioned better 30 years or more ago. Nowadays, we just think we have developed, you know with our cool digital gadgets, international companies all around the capital city of our country, shopping malls which have ‘international’ outlets (OMG!), food franchise (OMG we can now eat what they eat in the USA!)….etc. This is all good and beneficial for tourism, the country’s economy and stuff (maybe, I don’t know how that is going for us), but that does NOT mean at all that we are now a developed society and most importantly a ‘civilised’ one. You can build commercial buildings which are up-to-date with the latest technology in every neighbourhood, and still that does not mean we are the city that never sleeps, or that we are the country which is blooming midst an erupting volcano. We, and I emphasise WE (because I sometimes fall in the same trap of thinking) need a reality check. We NEED to wake up and realise that we have still not changed, our public policies are still the same, our ‘traditions’ (& I use that word with a lot of care because I am very proud of my traditions as an Arab but believe we are misusing them) still enforce taboos on us as an effective community and our judgemental selves still serve as an obstacle to many many aspiring citizens. The reason I write about this, is that each week, and by every seminar I attend while I study at uni, I am reminded of how many steps, or rather miles, we have to go forward before we even reach that stage where we can START by calling ourselves a developING society. Today, my two seminars were about sexual violence and the importance of children’s views. The former was a rough topic with so many grim stories about women who were sexually abused and did not report it to the police. But then, you can see a hopeful increase in women reporting and the fact that marital rape is illegal in the UK. This made me think. How many women would dare to go to a police station in your country and report an allegation of rape against her husband? Law 308 in Jordan allows a rapist to escape a conviction when he resorts to marrying the victim..how would then marital rape be taken seriously?…The class went on discussing ‘touching’ and ‘groping’ of women in pubs/clubs, and how it is really a neglected issue, and that if it happens at a place of work, it is then taken seriously, but when it happens in a place at night, it goes unreported and ignored. Here I thought, what a funny thing..they are fighting to increase reports of sexual harassment in clubs, and to decrease the victim blaming(where was the victim and what was she/he doing), while we only focus on asking the victim what did you wear, why were you there, what did you say, how did you act?. I remember I was 13 years old once and walking with my sister in a public place when one guy threw his other guy friend on my sister so he would bump right into her, she was maybe 11 at that time. There were a lot of people around us, and I never forgot what they did. They stared at HER, what she wearing, or what she was doing. Not him, they did not blame him. I guarantee you that that boy grew up to believe that publicly verbally harassing females is OKAY, and that it is not his fault if a girl walks past him. When child law’s turn came up, I was really surprised as to how much detail they are researching and putting into application in the UK to give the child his/her own rights, and how they are trying step by step to lessen the abuse children might be facing. How many cases have we heard of child abuse in schools? in homes? in neighbourhoods? the bullying, the cyber-bullying ( new NEGLECTED issue), smoking, hookah serving..etc. (don’t get me started at how the smoking laws are STILL not applied in Jordan, and I am starting to get really furious at the MPs, who legislated the law, but do NOT abide by it). A short discussion also went around about sex education and how it needs to be implemented in cirriculums even more. I thought about that, and concluded that this ‘taboo’ perspective we have towards the topic ruins the basic relationship between males and females from a young age. Younger adults end up being ‘educated’ about it through the television or the internet (which can definitely be misused, especially by hormonal teenagers), and that is one of the most dangerous things. It would not be wrong if doctors visit all schools and explain the biological perspective, and then a child psychologist/expert would explain the social aspects of it. It is better than leaving a child confused and resorting to other sources. A ‘conservative’ society does not mean that children (who grow up to build the next generation) should be left in the dark, at an age where they want to know everything, and the only route is google, or talks with their friends. I hate comparing between countries, nevertheless comparing societies. I understand that societies have been constructed differently, and I told you at the beginning of this blogpost, I wouldn’t trade the cultural traditions and norms of my country with any other. But I want to say this, because I do not want to keep living in the bubble that my country has developed and is blooming just because we pride ourselves with having Dominos Pizza or a Starbucks drive-through. I want to be proud of my country because it progressed with time, is able to change unfair laws that are outdated, is consciously aware of the dangerous situation that primary/secondary schools are going through, serious about community reform and capable of tackling and improving the huger obstacles which face cities & villages, and not only the capital city.