Special report: Making harassment history

 
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This Chronikler special report examines, through personal testimonies and analyses, the causes and consequences of sexual harassment and what can be done about it.

Some blame women for sexual harassment, saying the way they dress and act "invites" unwanted male attention. Both statistical and anecdotal evidence show this to be a myth.   Photo: ©Khaled Diab

Some blame women for sexual harassment, saying the way they dress and act “invites” unwanted male attention. Both statistical and anecdotal evidence show this to be a myth.
Photo: ©Khaled Diab

This special focus section was launched on 20 June 2011, which Egyptian activists had declared as a day for blogging against sexual harassment. Since then, The Chronikler has sought to shed light on this troubling social phenomenon, its causes and consequences, the pain and distress it causes women, the insult it represents for men who do not harass, and its ramifications for society as a whole.

Though many of those who harass and humiliate women in this way dismiss sexual harassment 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.

In Egypt, the situation has gone from crisis to catastrophe since the Egyptian revolution. Some blame the victims, saying the way women dress and act “invites” unwanted male attention. Both statistical and anecdotal evidence show this to be a myth. This intensifying of the situation is partly due to the breakdown in law and order, the deployment of sexual harassment as a political weapon, the increasing assertiveness of women and the accompanying backlash from the threatened male order.

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.

Sexual harassment and the medina

November 2014 – In Egypt, sexual harassment is a largely urban phenomenon fuelled by a sense of male powerlessness, insecurity and unrealistic gender ideals.

The antidote to Egypt’s sexual harassment epidemic

March 2014 – The cure for Egypt’s sexual harassment crisis is to liberate society from outdated and toxic gender ideals and to rethink notions of “honour”.

Sexual harassment: Undressing naked prejudice

March 2014 – To those who believe the way a woman dresses invites harassment, hear this: she is not to blame – her harassers are, reiterates Nadine Marroushi.

I was harassed and I’m stupefied!

June 2011- Until the revolution in social attitudes comes, women should face their harassers with a loud voice and a shebsheb (a slipper), insists Yosra Zoghby.

No online way out

June 2011 – 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.

18-day social revolutions do not exist

June 2011 – 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.

Dreaming of a harassment-free Egypt

June 2011 – 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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  • Sonia Randhawa

    And as I read this, the sidebar shows an ad for AsianDating.com, replete with scantily clad women and little else….

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  • KhaledDiab

    Yes, up to a point, but the Cairo version would be PG-rated.

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  • Eva Demuynck

    I wonder: would it (already) be possible to do a slut walk in cairo?

    Via Facebook

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