Egyptian and Arab bloggers have dedicated 20 June to blogging against sexual harrasment. This Chronikler special report examines, through personal testimonies and analyses, the causes of this troubling social phenomenon and examines various creative solutions.
20 June 2011
Though those who perpetrate it dismiss it as little more than a bit of fun and harmless ‘teasing’ (mua’kasa), sexual harrasment, despite being a universal phenonmenon, has reached crisis proportion in Egypt and some other parts of the Arab world, making going out in public a living hell for millions of women: conservative or liberal, young or old, educated or uneducated, rich or poor.
Some statistics from a 2008 survey by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights illustrate how endemic the problem has become in Egypt.
83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign residents report being harassed.
Around half of women in Egypt report being harassed on a daily basis.
Nearly three-quarters of women who are harassed wear a headscarf or veil.
The men who most commonly harass women are aged between 19 and 40, with the most common groups being drivers, schoolchildren and students.
Only 2.4% of Egyptian women reported the crime to the police.
62.4% of Egyptian men admitted that they have perpetrated and/or continue to perpetrate one or more of the forms of harassment, mostly ogling women’s bodies (49.8%).
53.8% of men blame the phenomenon of sexual harassment on women.
The vast majority of men and women agree that sexual harassment has grown a lot in recent years.
The articles below relate the personal trauma and humilation harassment causes, the socio-economic and cultural factors behind it, and what can be done to combat it.
Until the revolution in social attitudes comes, women should face their harassers with a loud voice and a shebsheb (a slipper), insists Yosra Zoghby.
Blogging won’t raise awareness about sexual harassment more than it already has. We must focus our efforts on lobbying the government to do more, argues Osama Diab.
Tackling harassment requires much more than a political revolution: it needs a social movement that restores people’s dignity and promotes equality, says Kholoud Khalifa.
Efforts to break the silence and taboo surrounding sexual harassment will eventually lead to a harassment-free Egypt, believes Rasha Dewedar.
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Tags: arab, arab world, egypt, equality, gender issues, harassment, headscarf, revolution, sex, women's rights