CAIRO: Egyptian grassroots initiative “I Saw Harassment” published a press release on its website Monday announcing launching a campaign during the Eid el-Fitr to secure women in streets.
The initiative’s volunteers will be on streets 17-19 July from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., especially in the downtown area of Cairo, to prevent sexual harassment and violence against women, said the statement.
The initiative called on the Ministry of Interior to deploy female policewomen on streets, especially at parks, public places and outside movie theaters, where sexual harassment mostly occurs.
It also called for “exceptional measures” to issue harassment police reports on site, without forcing women to go to a police station, which makes women not report the abuse for the fear of “social stigma,” according to the statement.
“I saw harassment ” called on women and girls to go out and enjoy the feast without any fear and encouraged them to confront offenders, insist on their rights and demand a police report in case of any harassment.
In a similar development, Catch a Harasser, an anti-sexual harassment group, has warned against five parks in Cairo as “destinations for sexual harassers” during feasts, according to a Thursday statement by the movement.
The majority of police reports filed against harassers during feasts are not referred to the prosecution, Hatem Shabaan, cofounder of the grassroots campaign said.
The volunteers of the initiative intervene in cases of sexual harassment and stalking on streets and try to hand offenders to the police.
A report released by the United Nations in June 2013 calculated that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women had been sexually harassed, either verbally or physically.
The punishment for sexual harassers was toughened under amendments adopted by former interim President Adly Mansour, and assaulters now face up to five years in prison.
Two defendants were sentenced in August 2014 to life in prison over charges of mob sexual assault and attempted murder in Tahrir Square that occurred in early June, while another was sentenced to 20 years in prison.