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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Eid: The festival of sexual harassment

From the Daily News Egypt:
More than 50 men were arrested on Monday, the first day of Eid Al-Adha, in downtown Cairo for alleged acts of sexual harassment targeting women in the street.

Fearing a repeat of acts that tend to happen on the first day every Eid, the Interior Ministry ordered a campaign to crack down on any further incidents, which led to the arrests.

The 50 were taken in and police reports filed against them for various offences including verbal harassment and catcalling, according to the local press. The men are currently in custody and will soon be referred to the prosecutor’s office.

Apparently, 15 of the men arrested are from governorates outside Cairo, including Menufia and Kafr El Sheikh, and had come to Cairo for the holidays.

On the first day of Eid El Fitr in October in Mohandiseen, 150 young men aged 15-22, physically attacked female pedestrians, tearing off some of their clothes. Thirty-eight of them were arrested; last month a teenager was sentenced to a year in prison for assaulting two women.

Two years ago the first case of organized sexual harassment occurred Downtown after a film premier, triggering a public debate over women’s safety on Egyptian streets and the inaction of police.

According to a survey conducted and released by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women in Egypt have been subjected to some form of sexual harassment.

Previous stories:
Hijab women get harassed more in Egypt
Honor/shame and sexual harassment in Egypt
40% of Egyptian women have been sexually abused