Group sexual harassment, a tradition of national holidays
Egyptian girls during Sham El-Nessim - YOUM7 (Archive)
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Group sexual harassment has increased over the years in Egypt, particularly on national holidays when streets and public spaces are crowded. On Monday evening, the I Saw Harassment campaign described a sexual harassment incident that occurred in downtown Cairo around 3 p.m. during the Sham El-Nessim holiday Monday, on its Facebook page.

“We were around the area where the incident occurred, near Qasr el-Nile Bridge, when a group of young men attacked two girls and sexually harassed them,” the movement’s coordinator Fathy Farid told The Cairo Post on Monday. “Our team immediately stepped in.”

Media reports placed the number of sexual harassment incidents on Monday’s holiday at more than 100 sexual harassment cases across different governorates. The highest figures were reported by Al-Shorouk, citing the Alexandria Security Directorate reporting 120 cases.

In Giza, two people were arrested inside the Giza Zoo for sexually harassing a girl and attempting to rob her, Vetogate reported.

In 2006, one case sparked widespread controversy during Eid celebrations when several girls were encircled by a group of men and sexually harassed.

Sexual harassment has also taken brutally violent turns in Egypt, as reported by witnesses and non-governmental organizations such as Nazra for Feminist Studies, which has documented victim testimonies during protests that have erupted since 2011.

The I Saw Harassment campaign issued a report on Monday on the locations they covered, which were mainly downtown Cairo and downtown Kafr el-Sheikh from noon to 8 p.m.

The group reported nine cases in Cairo where more than 11 girls were sexually harassed in separate incidents. In Kafr el-Sheikh there were eight cases. The report said the incidents were mostly verbal sexual harassment, in addition to physical assaults.

“Once the team saves the girls we offer our assistance if they wish to pursue the matter legally, and provide the victims with psychological and moral support,” Farid said.

The I Saw Harassment campaign previously announced the launch of two operation rooms to follow up and document cases of violence against women, and is asking for volunteers.

“Our team receives training on three levels, which includes teaching them how to deal with the situation and to do field work, self-defense and other techniques to face harassers,” Farid said.

The movement has also listed a number of recommendations in fighting sexual harassment that it says should be adopted by all concerned parties such as security forces, adding that the Ministry of Interior has been cooperative on the matter.

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