Name: Jaylan Salman

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Egypt


Artist Title: Poet
Jaylan Salah Salman is an Egyptian writer, translator, and poet, who won literary awards for her collection of short stories, "Thus Spoke La Loba" and her debut novel, "Bogart, Play Me a Classical Melody". She had her BSc in pharmacy in 2011, and has published film criticism articles, short stories, poems, and translations in many websites and offline publications such as "Al Ahram", "Vagues Visages", "Synchronized Chaos", “The Gay Gaze”, "Cinema Femme Magazine", " Eye on Cinema" and "Guardian Liberty Voice". Her first short story collection, “Thus Spoke La Loba”, was published in 2016 by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Culture. She has also published a poetry collection in English, “Work Station Blues”, by PoetsIN, a British publishing house with the purpose of destigmatizing mental illness and supporting international artists. Her debut novel "Bogart Play me a Classic Melody" has made wide critical acclaim and was recently chosen as one of the 32 novels in the "Arab Voices" initiative at the virtual Frankfurt Book fair in 2020, which introduced popular Arab novels to an international audience. Her second poetry book "Bury my Womb on the West Bank", is published with Third Eye Butterfly Press and available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats.

I Stalk The Men Who Assault Me on Facebook
Poem by Jaylan Salman, Artwork by Amaranthia Sepia
© Copyright
I stalk the men who assaulted me on facebook by Amaranthia Sepia - Corresponding Art Piece
Trigger warning: sexual assault and sexual content, may be disturbing to those who have been through assault or exposed to sexual trauma. 
The Man who assaulted me on my way to the restrooms at my workplace
Has a Facebook
That he constantly updates
With Hails to Jesus
Accomplishments in Candy Crush
And songs about “being the perfect man”
I stalk him on his social media
At night he’s at a bar 
Drinking tequila
Spiking the drinks of unseen girls
Whose bad luck puts them -drunkenly- in his way
He spiked my drink
But didn’t get near
My foreboding stature
My hectic brain and trimmed armpit hair stopped him
I stood ahead of my time
Madly in love with a predator
Unaware that his claws
As he clapped my back
Were leaving marks of undeniable hunger
The Man who threw himself at me
Before the morning meeting
Updates his Facebook regularly
Writing verses from the Bible
Stalking younger girls
The Man who recruits victims to recruit younger preys
Like me
Vanishes into thin air
When someone asks on Messenger what he’s doing
The Man who prays in the morning
And drinks himself to blindness at night
Comes to work hungover
And pulls the strap of my bra
The Man whose voice sends shivers in my spine
Left a laughing emoji
Under a cute post that a cute girl wrote
About college humor
I stalk men who assault me on social media
And block them if they tweet about social issues, feminism, or freeing countries under occupation
If he shares the pride flag
I know he is closeted and frustrated at his own body
If he stands in solidarity with oppressed minorities
I slam my door in his face
I send a report to Facebook
What do you call impostors who support Causes while forming clauses with the pussies of girls;
they silently probe?
There’s no definition for chaotic wisdom
Commonly appreciated assholes
Shiny men in shiny suits
Smiling to the world
While keeping naked girls and gay boys locked in their basements
To feed on them after long hours in the air-conditioned offices
And air-freshened halls
I stalk the Men who slowly left my soul to wither
In the aftermath of the darkness, they gifted me
This poem is about a part of me that I've learned to bury for a very long time. I was sexually assaulted in the workplace and manipulated by the man who assaulted me to think that it was my fault, that he did it because I was a slut and deserved this. I kept it a secret for a very long time, then realized as I reread my poems, that it found its way through different forms of expression. This poem is a blatant way of saying it out loud, showing how my road to cope with assault will never end. It will be a part of me forever, and that thought sometimes overwhelms me and makes me wish I was born a fish or a tree, not a woman whose body is desired and exploited by men in power. I had to overcome feelings of being in denial and write a poem about it.

The artwork represents what the poem is about; the inability of a sexual assault victim to forgive or forget. The idea is about how social media create a toxic masculine environment, one that sometimes connotes abusers and pats them on the shoulder, not out of encouragement but almost provides a haven for them to create a fake persona where they can pretend to be anything; religious, sophisticated, sensitive, even romantic to lure in other girls. The art piece has various tools of technology surrounding the girl with profanities shooting out from red demonic incels in business suits, representing male toxicity. Think Dracula on Facebook, setting up fake accounts and luring naive girls to sink his teeth into their veins. I particularly mentioned stalking the man who harassed me on Facebook to show the psychological trauma of having to deal on a daily, regular basis with the fact that someone who hurt you got away with it and is living a normal, socially accepted life.
Mental Health Questions
How had the pandemic affected your mental health as a woman/femme creative? Have certain things improved for you or have gotten worse?

Things have improved, strangely, because I was able to get out of a bad job, and let go of toxic people in my life. I was almost laid off work, and had to submit my resignation to get rid of a job that I hated, and was kind of forced to do so, but in letting go of this position in corporate, I said goodbye to corporate land. And that improved my mental health and wellness instantly.

What is your power word or phrase that helps you overcome mental struggles?

This shall not last forever. 

I am always hopeful that the world has better things to offer. I try to surround myself with like-minded people whose souls are not twisted and sinister after being broken. I also try to read and watch films by people who have been through a lot and were able to express themselves authentically through art.

How do you think mental health/mental illness has affect you as a girl/woman/femme and how you’re perceived? How do your creative outlets help you manage your mental health?

My major mental health issues have been depression and anxiety. They made me shape my experiences on certain issues that might not have been real. I must also say that they set me back, prevented me from pursuing my dream or standing up to bullies. Now that I've acknowledged them and refused to be defined by them, I reached peace and became more capable of taking matters into my own hands. I won't say that creative outlets heal me nor manage my mental health, but they make it seem like it's worth it. All the suffering and the distress I mean.

What is something you wish people were more aware of that disproportionately affects women’s mental wellbeing? Do you use your art to raise awareness about this issue? If you have statistics/resources for this issue please share any!

That women suffer in silence. 

Before I was diagnosed with PCOs (polycystic ovaries) I never thought that women would be ashamed of admitting such a minor ailment, but turns out they do. PCOs has been associated with anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. In my case, it made me feel less of a woman until recently. I wish I had known the diagnosis earlier though, it would have made a greater difference in the way I saw the world.
You can learn more about PCOs and mental health here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17044949/#:~:text=This%20review%20of%20medical%20and%20psychological%20literature%20indicates,sexual%20satisfaction%2C%20and%20lowered%20health-related%20quality%20of%20life

My poetry collection where I expressed about my disease extensively: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B095NBRNF6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0