CAIRO – Sexual harassment has become a more explicit phenomenon afflicting the Egyptian society after the country's 2011 upheaval due to constant protests and deteriorating security.
Women are deemed inferior to men in Egypt's male-dominated culture, said feminists and human rights activists, stressing that the state is responsible for sexual harassment due to general passivity toward the issue and the lack of security, lack of awareness of women's rights and lack of deterrent laws against harassers. Mervat al-Tallawi, chairwoman of the National Council for Women said at a press conference on Sunday that the state was responsible for the phenomenon, particularly the prevailing group sexual harassment and rape. She noted that the Council has filed a lawsuit against such an "organized crime" against Egyptian women, adding that the law alone is not enough to combat such an issue. "If all forces unite, including the people, the interior ministry, the education ministry, the Muslim mosques and Christian churches, the phenomenon can be minimized," Tallawi told Xinhua, adding that change need time.
Tallawi criticized the country's political leadership in this regard, urging executive institutions, schools and the media to cooperate in enhancing awareness and changing cultural blemishes that led to such "a dangerous phenomenon." Feminists and activists said the phenomenon of sexual harassment was always there even before the uprising in 2011, but it shamelessly prevailed afterward and led to a new phenomenon - the group sexual harassment.
"We do not have accurate statistic about sexual harassments in Egypt, but we made a survey during the previous Muslim feast and we found out that two out of each three girls are sexually harassed," Azza Kamel, head of Appropriate Communication Techniques (ACT) Center for Development, told Xinhua, warning it was an extremely high rate.