Egypt: the epidemic street harassment

Bad news coming from Egypt this week. According to Morocco World News, a 19-year-old woman has jumped off a bridge into the Nile river after being constantly harassed. The incident occurred over a week ago, but it seems the authorities were trying to report it as a suicide over family issues and the Egyptian media did not report on it. Middle East Eye has also reported the case earlier in which the group I Saw Harassment informed that this is the third case documented in Egypt of a woman losing her life over the same subject: in 2012 a woman was shot by her harasser after standing up to him and in 2013 another harasser ran over the victim.

During the Arab Spring, many women reported being sexually assaulted in the demonstrations. Here’s a video about that:

The country appears in a report done in 2013 from the United Nations in which 99 percent of Egyptian women have experienced sexual harassment.The report was a powerful weapon to make authorities take action and, earlier this year, the country has issued a new anti-sexual harassment law.

It is a huge step in Egyptian society and it means that the authorities are addressing a problem that has been long ignored, but we also know that laws do not help if the mindset is still untouchable. Daily News Egypt reported that, despite the new law, sexual harassment remains as a grave problem.

Efforts to raise awareness of this problem in the country have been done through many different channels. One of the most prominent ones is the HarassMap. This initiative gives power to women themselves report the incidents, pinning the time, place and type of harassment suffered.

An interesting project called The People’s Girls had a successful crowdfunding campaign and will be producing a documentary about street harassment in the country. They caught the attention of the public with a viral video called Creepers on the Bridge:

Also, the famous social experiment of walking in the streets of New York, made by Hollaback, was replicated in Cairo. check out the results:

Our hope is to see that these activities help to change the mindset of Egyptian culture and make way for women to be respected and end this epidemic behavior.


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