CAIRO: Monday’s celebration of the traditional Egyptian spring holiday Sham el-Nessim witnessed a “significant decrease” in sexual harassment incidents, which were mostly limited to catcalling, according to an I Saw Harassment report.
I Saw Harassment noted that although women police were not available in downtown Cairo, a hotbed for sexual harassment during feasts, rapid intervention forces and other police departments were present.
“The team of volunteers noticed eagerness by girls and women to listen to awareness messages, as well as boys and men to listen to awareness messages [targeted at them,]” I Saw Harassment said.
Compared to recent years, the percentage of harassment has “significantly weakened,” Colonel Manal Atef, a member of combating anti-women violence at the Ministry of interior, told Ten TV Monday.
Youm7 reported that women police were present outside movie theaters and parks in Cairo and Giza, which are often frequented by harassers.
The group intervened in 28 incidents of verbal harassment by raising the awareness of boys and girls, and in two incidents of physical harassment by rescuing the girls.
Six boys formed a circle around two girls and sexually harassed them on Qasr al-Nil Bridge, and the group’s volunteers managed to get the girls out and escort them to the nearest safe location.
I Saw Harassment noted that women and girls who face sexual harassment mostly refuse any legal claim in fear of social stigma. In the morning, the presence of females to males on streets was 3:5, and 1:5 after sunset.
More than 97 percent of women who have been sexually harassed do not report the incident to authorities to avoid a scandal, according to a 2014 study by HarassMap.
The Ministry of Interior should follow a new policy of registering police reports at the location of the incident, rather that escorting the victim and the offender to police stations, the pressure group recommended.
It also called for establishing a unified prison for sex offenders to rehabilitate them, and conceptualize alternative sanctions that would improve their behavior after they are reintegrated into the society.
A report released by the United Nations in June 2013 calculated that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women had been sexually harassed.