Egypt: Policewoman Tells Women Not to Worry About Harassment During Eid

The policewoman, Colonel Nashwa Mahmoud, tasked with combating crimes of violence against women in Cairo Security Directorate called on women to live their lives “normally and celebrate” the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Eid al-Fitr celebrations, which mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, often witness a surge in sexual harassment level on the streets. Accordingly, female police officers have been deployed to confront the rising phenomenon during Eid.

Families and young people gather in public spaces and celebrate with outings to parks, cinemas and fairs. Reports of sexual harassment and assault in crowded areas tend to increase during the holiday.

Mahmoud however told state-run news agency MENA that girls should live their lives, within the “limits of our authentic Egyptian values and habits”.

According to head of the Egyptian organisation Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development Azza Kamel, sexual harassment still happens every where especially during public holidays and celebrations.

ACT launched the campaign “I Saw Harassment” to counter the widespread sexual harassment phenomenon.

She added that she does not expect harassment to decrease despite the law criminalising the act.

Egypt criminalized sexual harassment for the first time in 2014 during the term of interim president Adly Mansour.

The law imposes jail terms of no less than six months, and/or fines of LE3,000 to LE5,000 on those who are found guilty of sexual harassment in public or private areas

An Egyptian Labor Union study in 2014 showed that 30 percent of women in Egypt are subjected to verbal harassment in the workplace.

In 2013, UN women said that 99 percent of Egyptian women have been subjected to harassment. The National Council for Human Rights in November 2012 said that 70 percent of women are harassed in the streets, public spaces and transportation.

Source: Aswat Masriya