Wednesday, September 12, 2012

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012
  • Elder of Ziyon
We've discussed Egypt's rampant sexual harassment many times before, but things are even sicker than has been reported:
As the new school year begins next week in Egypt, school girls and their families are preparing to face yet another year of sexual harassment, this time waiting for the children outside their schools.

Egyptian mothers worry about their young daughters, who are subjected to sexual harassment outside their gated schools and daughters only pray to go home safely after the day has ended.

The phenomena of men waiting outside girls only schools to sneak a view, harass and self-expose themselves has made even school a difficult trip to take on a daily basis. Egyptian girls must join girls-only schools after elementary school in all public education, which has turned the gates of the schools into a pervert magnet.

I went to the Kolyet al-Banat school in Zamalek, an all-girls school from elementary through high school:

Right around the corner from our school is an all boys school similar in age group to ours, so we knew what was out there waiting for us every day after school. But it wasn’t exclusive to naughty school boy behavior, we had adult men who also used to wait for the final bell to ring and the thousands of girls to come out. We had a guy who looked like a father of any one of us, a lawyer or a businessman carrying a briefcase, who used to stand there outside of our school every single day. Once the girls started to leave the school he would swiftly move his briefcase, exposing his penis to us. As children we would run away, some laughing and some crying. But he wasn’t the only one. A building guard, or bowab as they are called in Egypt, who worked in a nearby building, a 60-something old man who wore the traditional male dress and sat on his bench watching the street. Once we passed by him, he would lift up his dress and expose his naked flesh to us. We stopped walking by that building and warned other girls as well.

When the problem became overwhelming and parents started to complain to the school and the police, the authorities and the Qasr al-Nil police station sent a police car that stood there outside of our school everyday during my senior year. Problems were getting out of hand and leaving the school meant being exposed to the worst of human nature. That was in late 1999, but the problem has not improved, not even slightly, since. In fact it became widespread to the point where mothers are hiding horror stories of what happens to their girls in school, fearing the father would prevent them from having an education.

...Sexual harassment is no stranger to the experience of being a female in Egypt; in fact it became a fundamental element of being outdoors. Last week, the National Council for Women (NCW) said that Egyptian women get harassed 7 times every 200 meters, and a 2008 report by the Egyptian Center for Women Rights found that well over two-thirds of Egyptian women are harassed on daily basis. Even activists who protest the grotesque practice are also harassed, defying logic.
It is a lot easier to get a protest in Egypt to protect Mohammed's "honor" then to protect the honor of everyone's sisters and daughters.

(h/t Yoel)

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