Former Lebanese television host Nataly Restokian trying to start “Me Too” Movement in the Middle East
Me Too stories of sexual assault have dominated the headlines in the western world, but across the water, in the Arab world, the issue remains an elusive one.
“I wrote this story because I wanted to face my own demons. I had to face myself and the things that happened to me. I am not a hero and I’m not a victim. I dreamed of fame and power and I gave up a lot of things for that,” said the former Lebanese actress and television and radio host.
Masks is a dark fictional tale based on the author’s true-life events. The protagonist, Ana, is an Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the seventies. She achieves fame and fortune as a prominent television host in the Middle East, but at an incredible cost.
Restokian says Ana’s story is not unique, but in the Middle East, it’s one rarely told.
“Masks that women are obliged to wear inspired me to write this novel, based partly on real events in my life and partially to include the pain of so many other women that I witnessed along the way,” said Restokian.
“I decided to become their voice because they do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that, behind closed doors, have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of their lives.”
Restokian, who now lives in Montreal with her husband, says she wants to start the #metoo movement in Lebanon, opening up about her own sexual harassment.