Anti-harassment initiatives to support women on June 30 anniversary
Egyptian women protest against sexual harassment while raising signs of “I’m not afraid” and “Be a man and protect her instead of harassing her” near Cairo Opera House – Photo/ Rym M. AlSheikh for The Cairo Post

CAIRO: I Saw Harassment and Dignity without Borders initiatives announced Friday they will be present at the vicinity of Itahadiya Palace during June 30 events to support women who could be subject to sexual assaults, a statement said.

“We are not body protectors but we all, women and men, are sharing together the right to live for decent life and safe streets. We fight for these rights and always seek to maintain them,” the statement read.

The two initiatives also mentioned in the same statement that they will have groups of volunteers to spot and document sexual assault incidents. They will also have other groups to save victims.

The precautions taken by the initiatives come amid the preparations of political parties, movements, and citizens to celebrate the day of the ousting of the former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi after the June 30 demonstrations.

Gatherings and crowded places, especially on such events in public squares, raise the probability of sexual assaults to take place. Many participating women become vulnerable to mob harassment incidents.

The most recent incidents of such pervasive assaults also occurred during the crowded atmosphere in Tahrir Square to celebrate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s win in presidential elections and his inauguration on June 4 and 8 respectively.

A video of a mob harassing and stripping a woman naked in Tahrir on June 4 went viral on social media and sparked public outrage against such assaults. In response, Sisi visited the victim at the hospital.

Former interim President Adly Mansour amended articles in the 1937 Criminal Code to include criminalizing sexual harassment, which would send harassers not less than one year in prison and a fine of at least 3,000 EGP ($422.)

Under the new amendments, there were a number of harassers arrested, sent to trial, and received different sentences in prison. This move was welcomed by many women organizations even though some demanded an independent law addressing the phenomenon and detailed mechanism to overcome it.

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