CAIRO: Cairo’s downtown area witnessed mass sexual harassment Saturday on the Nile Corniche, Cairo Center for Development (CCD)’s Director Entsar el-Saeed told Youm7 Sunday.
“Sexual harassment has become a catastrophic phenomenon, especially in feasts,” Saeed said, adding that harassers, most of whom are 15 or younger, have grown more violent.
She added that when police forced intervene in an incident, the boys “attack the policemen.” She noted that most of the harassed girls refuse reporting such incidents in fear of stigma and their families.
“Security initiatives that aim to secure girls from harassment seem to be insufficient; also it seems that the number of policemen deployed for security is not sufficient either,” said Saeed.
Eleven sexual harassment incidents were reported at public parks in Cairo during the first day of Eid Al-Fitr holiday, Catch a Harasser group said Friday.
“Out of the 11 incidents, five occurred in public parks in downtown Cairo,” the anti-sexual harassment group said on its Facebook page.
On July 10, the group named six parks in Cairo; Al Azhar, Al Orman, Fustat, Merryland, Giza Zoo, and Gabalaya as “sexual harassment hotspots.”
Egyptian grassroots initiative “I Saw Harassment” published a press release on its website on July 13 announcing launching a campaign during the Eid el-Fitr to secure women in streets.
The initiative announced that its volunteers will be present on streets on17-19 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.
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.
According to a 2014 report issued by Egypt’s Population Council, sexual harassment among girls aged 13-17 hiked from 46.4 percent in 2009 to 49.5 percent in 2014.
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.