A Useful Timeline to Navigate Egypt's Sexual Harassment Minefield

Published January 29th, 2012 - 08:23 GMT
The streets of Cairo are fraught with potential danger for women.
The streets of Cairo are fraught with potential danger for women.


October 2006

Shocking sexual attacks during Muslim feast of Eid

National and international public awareness about sexual attacks in Egypt more or less started October 24, 2006, during the Muslim feast of Eid, when online activists posted videos of gangs of men rampaged through downtown Cairo, assaulting any woman who came near them, whether veiled or not.

Since this accident, Egypt is deploying additional police to a number of locations every year in order to combat any possible outbreaks of mass sexual attacks during these holidays.

NOTE: Every Eid holiday since the October 2006 incident has seen a massive number of attacks against women, in 2007 and beyond.

June 2008

Noha Rushdi’s successful story of breaking the silence

Noha Rushdi, a 27-year-old filmmaker, has been sexually assaulted, by 28-year-old van driver Sharif Gomaa as he drove alongside her, grapping her breasts so forcefully she had to fell. Instead of keeping silence, Noha gave a great interview with the weekly Egyptian independent Al-Yom Al-Saba’a and managed to drag him into the police station.

The man was sentenced to three years in prison under the current sexual harassment laws and fined nearly $900.

June 2009

Video: Sexual harassment in Egypt 

Women News Network published portions of videos, aiming to emphasize the horrific situation facing many women on Egypt’s busy streets.

July 2009

Egyptian gets 45 years in prison for assaulting women 

The “butcher” of Maadi – an upscale Cairo suburb – was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Tuesday in a rare display of punishment over crimes against women in Egypt. According to reports, Mohamed El Sayyed received the sentence after prosecutors argued successfully that he had sexually assaulted at least 9 women in the area, which earned him the nickname in the Maadi area where a majority of his attacks took place.

August 2009 

Egyptian women’s group launches “game booklet” to fight harassment against children 

The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) has launched a new campaign as part of their “Making Our Streets Safer for Everyone” that uses a games booklet to fight sexual harassment against children. The new campaign, titled “Very Important” aims to combat rising sexual harassment toward children in the country.

October 2009

Sexual harassment campaign for Egypt’s streets

When women walk the streets of Cairo, the near constant verbal and physical attacks take its toll. For Mona Hanafi el-Siofi it was simply too much, so she gathered some friends and decided they needed to take some action. She decided that one way of bringing attention to this growing problem in the country was to hand out pamphlets to perpetrators that listed a series of statements and questions.

Challenging Sexual Harassment on Cairo’s Streets

A new project aimed at combating sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo will soon be launched. The project, called HarassMap, aims to create a map of the ‘hotspots’ of harassment in Cairo – that is, the places where harassment most frequently occurs.

November 2009

Salma Hayek tells of being sexual harassed in Egypt

Salma Hayek told a symposium in Cairo that she was sexually harassed in Egypt when she was visiting the country when she was only 17-years-old. Her comments are likely to strike home for the millions of Egyptian women who complain daily of their poor treatment on Egyptian streets.

December 2009

Egypt: Demands for sexual harassment law

Egyptian human rights and legal activists for women’s rights called on the Egyptian government to issue severe penalties and the criminalization of sexual harassment of women in the street and in the workplace.

They demanded that the labor and penal codes should include more “visible and deterrent penalties to whomever harasses a woman,” expressing their dissatisfaction with the continued worsening of the phenomenon of sexual harassment of girls and women in public parks and streets during holidays.

February 2010

Egypt: Efforts to combat sexual harassment look promising

Egyptian member of Parliament Georgette Kellini of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), submitted a proposal of a draft law to address sexual harassment through the amendment of the Penal Code to the Egyptian Parliament last week.

The move is being welcomed by Egyptian women’s activists, who have long called on the government to take a more proactive stance on the rising problem of sexual harassment in the country.

May 2010

Interview: Police turned me away after sexual assault

Reem is a 21-year-old Egyptian woman who recently graduated from university and is looking forward to the future. Like the vast majority of women in Egypt, she was the victim of a sexual assault that took place in Egypt’s many public spaces: on the bus.

She told Bikya Masr the story of the incident, and more shockingly, what the police did – rather did not do – in response.

November 2010

Egypt reports massive sexual harassment during holiday

Egyptian police stations reported at least 600 incidents of sexual harassment during the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday last week.

December 2010

Safe Cities … Making Cairo safe for all

ECWR launched a public campaign with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in cooperation with Cairo University and a number of partners of research centers, civil society organizations and governmental and UN institutions to develop and enhance women’s status in Egypt through a world free of violence.

January 2011

4 girls assaulted with acid in Egypt’s delta region

Two masked men threw acid on five female 11th graders after the girls left their school on Tuesday, in Bahareya Governate in the Nile Delta region.

February 2011

Sexual assault of US reporter Lara Logan

CBS US correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaultet last Friday in Egypt’s Tahrir Square in the midst of celebrations at the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. It had happened before, during the same revolution. The only difference was Ms. Logan was a foreigner.

March 2011

Sexual violence returns to Egypt’s spotlight

The sexual assaults against CBS US correspondent Lara Logan sheds light again on the problem of sexual violence and the denial of the problem in Egyptian society, being discussed in the following articles.

June 2011

Stories of harassment on Egypt’s streets

Bikya Masr has compiled some horrifying experiences from women in Egypt and what they face on a daily basis on the streets in order to publicize this growing problem in Egyptian society.

July 2011

Egypt teenager attempts to kill herself after being harassed

A 15-year-old girl jumped out of her second floor apartment in Marsa Matroh on Egypt’s northwest coast after she was sexually harassed by the son of the building’s owner.

August 2011

Egyptian women continue to struggle with the daily sexual violence against them

In a new indication that sexual violence is not restricted to how one dresses in Egypt, a fully-veiled woman was kidnapped and gang-raped for an entire day in Giza. Police arrested five men and have charged them with kidnapping, rape and robbery.

Egypt women launch a new facebook anti-harassment-campaign

An anti-sexual harassment page on Facebook launched an invitation to Egyptian women to go out during Eid, the holiday that follows the month of Ramadan, without worry of being harassed as this is the time of year where sexual harassment intensifies.

November 2011

Two new iPhone apps launched to combat sexual assault

November 2011, two new iPhone apps were lauched to combat violence and sexual abuse.

Harassmap launches new sms aid for reporting sexual harassment

In the same month, Harassmap, a Cairo-based website that monitors and archives all acts of sexual harassment in the greater Cairo area, launched a new SMS short code system aid for reporting sexual harassment.

Egypt man killed after sexually harassing girls

An Egyptian teenager was killed in the city of Mansoura, in the Nile Delta region, on Wednesday after sexually harassing two girls in a public park. The victim, a 16 year-old student, had harrassed two young girls while they were on a walk in a public park, using an electric tazer, which made the girls scream in horror.

Writer Mona el-Tahawy details horrific sexual assault by Egypt police

Award-winning Egyptian columnist Mona el-Tahawy has recounted on her personal Twitter account the sexual assault at the hands of the Egyptian police after she was detained for nearly 12 hours on Thursday morning in Cairo.

French journalist’s assault puts female reporting in Egypt in perspective

After Caroline Sinz, a French reporter for public TV station France 3, became the third women sexual assaulted while reporting from Egypt’s Tahrir Square on Thursday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) advised the media on Thursday night that “there is no other solution” but to hold off on sending female journalists.

January 25, 2012

Women attacked, assaulted in Tahrir on uprising anniversary

At least four women are reportedly attacked by mobs of men in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, having their clothes ripped from them and assaulted in horrific fashion. One Arab-American woman spoke out to Bikyamasr.com on the attack.

Activists on Twitter condemned the attacks, demanding the demonstrators take action to end assaults against women.

© 2019 Bikya News

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