Despite requests from the Egyptian government, Youtube has refused to remove videos of a woman stripped and bloodied being dragged out of Tahrir Square in Cairo during celebrations of President Sisi's inauguration. Whether this was because YouTube considers the video news-worthy, or if it is because of it taking a stand against censorship, it doesn't come as a surprise that Egyptian authorities want to hide an issue that is prevalent in their country. The video created much deserved international outrage, forcing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to visit the victim in hospital for a televised official apology.
A 2013 UN statistic shows that 99 percent of Egyptian women have been harassed making the country one of the worst for women to be in. But here are some steps Egyptian women and men are taking to fight sexual harassment in their country.
Walk like an Egyptian woman
Following the disturbing incident from Tahrir square, Egyptian women have decided to hold a rally called “Walk like an Egyptian woman.” An event that has already attracted over 13,000 Facebook users is one strong step by the women to showcase they are not scared to speak up for their safety.
Harass map is the oldest initiative to combat sexual harassment in Egypt. Starting with an app, the project has developed into a campaign involving a website where victims can report harassment by simply sending an SMS. The map shows the type of harassment that occurred and where it occurred to show both which areas are more vulnerable and to encourage action against them.
Expose the harassers
A victim of verbal sexual harassment has launched a Facebook page, with over 8000 members so far, titled “Expose the harasser” encouraging Egyptian women to take photos and preferably videos of the harasser so that the police can track them down. The post she created of the harasser's image and description of what he did went viral reaching nearly half a million viewers.
Harassing the harassers
Egyptian activists, led by Shadi Hussein, have set up an initiative called “harassing the harassers” in response to an incident that occurred in Mansoura, another prominent city in Egypt.
The group engaged in creating awareness has equipped volunteer teams that would detain alleged harassers and paint “I am a harasser” on their backs.
The Egyptian government is taking the following actions to curb the epidemic:
Sexual harassment act
Egypt’s outgoing interim President Adly Mansour issued a law criminalizing sexual harassment. The harasser can be punishable by any thing ranging from fines up to 5000 Egyptians pounds or 5 years in prison. These can include sexual words, signs or acts committed in public or private.
Special police unit
The government has announced the formation of a special female police unit, which will include professors of psychology and neurological diseases. These women will encourage women to feel safe about reporting the incidents of sexual harassment against them. Many Egyptian women for various reasons still feel unsafe reporting violence against them.