Saturday, October 11, 2008

More sexual harassment this Eid?

Returned from a vacation to hear about this :

Reminded me of the time when I had just come to Egypt 2 years ago and heard that some harassment had taken place downtown and the clothes had been torn off of some women. This really scared me at that time as I was new to the country, female with a husband who was working extremely long hours at his new job. It took me awhile to figure out that such an incident was an exception not the norm, although milder forms of harassment like cat calling, exposing themselves and trying to touch a woman are more commonplace.

There are people who argue that since the harassment rarely results in a rape, it means the situation isn't as bad. I say that : Anyone who has not felt the guilt/shame/rage/helplessness at being on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, is not qualified to talk about it.

We were flying out on 1st morning and passed by gamaet dawal inside a car at 4am. The roads were choked with people (not cars) milling on the streets at that early hour, that it took us as much time to pass, as though it were peak rush hour traffic.

I mentioned to my husband at that time, the warning of an Egyptian female friend - to stay away from the downtown and Gamaet dawal streets on Eid just because of the sheer numbers of men who would be gathered there. Looking at the pressing crowds at that early hour, my husband felt it was very valid advice.

Unfortunately her advise was further validated by what happened that day. These are not situations where one is happy to say "I told you so"


bee said...

wow, that's outrageous. thanks for bringing attention to this. seems like the authorities turn a blind eye to these situations. doesn't help that they are male.

vagabondblogger said...

I read the article and another regarding a trial. What they should do here, is what they started to do in the UAE before we left (2002). That is, publish the names and photos of the offenders in the local newspapers. One year in jail is minor, when you think about the fact that these guys will be back out on the streets.

Publicly announcing their behavior, names, and photos has more of a societal smack-down. They will be known to the public, they and their families will be embarrassed to even walk the streets, much less harass women.

I'm Greek, and know what trying to live down a disgrace is (not from personal experience). It's much harder than hiding a prison sentence. Much more public, wrought with a lot of scorn.

Kim said...

That's a idea VB. I can see how it would work.

But how many people in Egypt actually read a newspaper.

A friend in market research said that newspaper reading (in any language) in Egypt is lower than 10-15%

vagabondblogger said...

Perhaps they could do it on TeeVee?

Cairo Typ0 said...

Or put up a billboard somewhere a lot of people will see it. Tahrir square maybe?

Kim said...

great ideas.

Now if only someone who can do something about it, could take a look at these ideas & try to put them into practice. . .

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