Monday, October 29, 2012
Egypt starts struggle against sexual harassment in the streets
Volunteers in yellow vests with the words 'against harassment' on them patrol the streets of Cairo (AP).
An Egyptian movement started to thwart sexual harassment during Eid Al-Adha has recorded 300 attempted attacks during the first two days of the holiday. The initiative, dubbed 'Catch the Harasser', began on the first day of Eid, with volunteers working across central Cairo in a bid to prevent lewd attacks on women.
Also the Ministry of the Interior announced a few days earlier that surveillance cameras will be installed in streets and squares in Cairo to detect incidents of sexual harassment. The cameras will be used to catch the harassers and display their photos on public television and the Internet, according to a ministry representative.
Both steps came after the National Women Council started a national campaign, "Patrols Against Sexual Harassment," in August 2012 to combat sexual harassment in Cairo, specifically during Eid. Sexual harassment of women has been steadily on the increase in recent years in the Egyptian streets. And during the Eid, when crowds makes it easier for culprits to act unpunished, it is usually at its worst. .According to a survey issued in 2008 by the Egyptian Centre for Women Rights, 83 per cent of women in Egypt and 98 per cent of foreign women have been exposed to sexual harassment at least once.
Prime Minister Hisham Qandil stated on 21 October using his official Facebook page that his cabinet, along with the National Council for Women, are working on finding ways to wipe out sexual harassment in Egypt. Qandil revealed in the statement that a law is currently being drafted to combat harassment on the streets through imposing harsh penalties.