99.3% of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed

A new report by the United Nations shows that sexual harassment against women in Egypt is not only on the increase, but that 83 percent of women do not feel safe in public

by The Commentator on 5 June 2013 00:30

Egypt-woman-protest

A new report from the United Nations Women organisation has revealed that 99.3 percent of women in Egypt have suffered some form of sexual harassment, while 91.5 percent say they have experienced unwanted physical contact.

The research, entitled, "Study on Ways and Methods to Eliminate Sexual Harassment in Egypt" was released last week and states that harassment and assault occurs regardless of a woman's physical appearance, conduct, or manner of dress.

Nearly 50 percent of women reported an increase in harassment after the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the country, while 44 percent said the level of harassment remained the same before and after the revolution. Meanwhile, more than 58 percent of men surveyed said harassment increased after the revolution.

Manal Abdul Aziz Ali, a Cairo-based journalist said, “Today, neither a foreigner nor an Egyptian can enjoy a sense of safety... because of the noticeable rise in the rate of crime and harassment against women.”

The reported rise of sexual violence against women is often attributed to security deterioration and the rise of radical Islamists who seek to frighten women away from public places where anti-Islamist protests take place.

Salafist preacher Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah said earlier this year that women protesting in Tahrir Square are “no red line” because they “have no shame and want to be raped,” a statement which was perceived as a sanctioning of violence against women.

The U.N. study found that only 19 percent of women actually report sexual violence against them to the police. It said 32.2 percent keep quiet and move away from the scene, while 26.9 choose to insult or hit back the assailant.

One initiative, named "Harassmap" allows women to send a text message reporting an incident. It is then mapped on a public website. The tool informs the authorities and citizens in order to facilitate community empowerment. It also provides women with information on victim resources.

The study revealed that 44 percent of women felt "frightened and deeply hurt" after such incidents, while 36 percent said they were "angry and screamed". A staggering 22.8 percent said they "did not care".

Most also reported that those who were in the vicinity of incidents either "did not notice" or "did nothing".

The research also seem to suggest that those wearing less 'conservative' clothes were not attacked as often as women who dressed 'conservatively' i.e. not revealing their figures or showing much skin.

82.6 percent of the total female respondents announced that they neither felt secure nor safe in the street. 

 

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