Sexual Harassment from Muslim Men, Common In Egypt
Revolution signals new dawn for Egypt’s women
By Catriona Davies for CNN
2/24/2011/11:35 A.M. EST
A couple of days after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, 24-year-old Nawara Belal was driving in Cairo when she was verbally abused by an army officer.
“I got out of my car, opened the door of his car and slapped him in the face,” she said. “I realized he wouldn’t do anything about it, and it gave me the power to do what I wanted to do to every harasser in my past.
“I would never have been able to do that before the revolution.”
Belal and many women like her, energized by the visible part they played in the protests that led to Mubarak’s fall, feel they no longer have to suffer in silence the sexual harassment that has been part of their lives for so long.
A survey in 2008 by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights claimed that 98% of foreign women and 83% of Egyptian women in the country had been sexually harassed.
In an oppressive society, people oppress each other. Under an open society, things can be discussed.
CBS reporter Lara Logan was attacked in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after Mubarak stepped down, and other women reported incidents ranging from mild harassment to violent attacks.
But many women now feel a change in this culture is possible.
Nehad Abolkomsan, chair of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, said: “I believe sexual harassment in Egypt had a political reason. Political frustration was a big reason.
“I believe now it can be eliminated. It won’t just be like pushing a button, we have to continue to work on it, but women will not be silent anymore.”
Doaa Abdelaal, a council member with the international solidarity movement Women Living Under Muslim Law, agreed that a more open society would lead to less harassment of women in the streets.
“In an oppressive society, people oppress each other,” she said. “It’s a justification for everyone to be unjust. Under a more open society these things can be discussed, I think changes will happen.”
Belal, a project coordinator for the feminist organization Nazra, said: “Under Mubarak, it was a police-led country and police had a heavy presence in our lives.
“If you were sexually harassed, you wouldn’t have much faith that if you went to the police they would support you.” – More here
Study Says 44% of Egypt’s Females are Subjected to Sexual Harassment
By Ethar Shalaby
Gender A latest demographic study, issued by the Egyptian Information and Decision Support Center, states that 44 per cent of the females in the country are subjected to sexual harassment.
Laila Bahaa, assistant of deputy minister of interior, announced that Egypt works on applying all conventions of the United Nations that relate to human rights. This includes drafting a law to prevent sexual harassment. The law proposal will be presented to the parliament in its next scheduled session.
All Over the Region
The phenomenon of sexual harassment is not a mere issue of one Arab country. The problem is extending from Algeria to Qatar. It covers most countries of the region. In a study prepared by Nehad Abul Qomsan, head of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights, statistics of sexual harassment vary among Arab states.
About 27 per cent of the Algerian female university students assured that they have been subjected to sexual harassment from their professors. Another 44.6 per cent confirmed that they were verbally harassed, while 13.8 per cent of the girls were harassed physically.
In Qatar, the situation is relatively similar. About 21.2 per cent of the females stated that they were subjected to sexual harassment. It is worth mentioning that 30 per cent of Qatari working females were sexually abused by their bossess in their work premises.
As for the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the phenomenon is evident in children. In 2002, official statistics show that more than 9000 moral cases have been reported. 997 of those were cases of sexual harassment.
In Oman, Mariam Abuallah Al Nahway, a researcher in women and children affairs, states in one of her studies that sexual harassment is spreading in most of the Gulf countries. In her country, she elaborates saying that there are two kinds of sexual harassment: one occurs inside the families, when a male sexually abuse his female relative, and another one exists in public and working spheres.
And despite the wide scale of statistics recorded about the phenomenon, there aren’t any binding laws that criminalize the sexual harasser nor protects the rights of the female victims. – Source
Egypt’s sexual harassment ‘cancer’
7/18/2008/16:24 GMT/17:24 UK
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC News, Cairo
SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN EGYPT (STATISTICS)
Experienced by 98% of foreign women visitors
Experienced by 83% of Egyptian women
62% of Egyptian men admitted harassing women
53% of Egyptian men blame women for ‘bringing it on’
Source: Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights
Noha Ostath’s ordeal became a subject for discussion in the national press
Sexual harassment of women in Egypt is on the increase and observing Islamic dress code is no deterrent, according to a survey published this week.
The Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR) describes the problem as a social cancer and calls on the government to introduce legislation to curb it.
The findings contradict the widely held belief in Egypt that unveiled women are more likely to suffer harassment than veiled ones.
Participants in the survey were shown pictures of women wearing different kinds of dress – from the mini skirt to the niqab (full face veil) and asked which were more likely to be harassed.
More than 60% – including female respondents – suggested the scantily clad woman was most at risk. But in reality the study concluded the majority of the victims of harassment were modestly dressed women wearing Islamic headscarves.
ECWR head Nihad Abu El-Qoumsan said that even veiled women who were victims of harassment blamed themselves. – More here
CBS correspondent latest victim of sexual harassment, assault in Egypt
2/16/2011/11:33 A.M. EST
About 60 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women are harassed on a daily basis, according to a 2008 study published by the Egyptian Center for
The CBS network released a statement Tuesday saying one of its correspondents was sexually assaulted and beaten by a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square where she was covering the aftermath of the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
CBS correspondent Lara Logan and her crew and their security were surrounded by a mob of about 200 men on Friday. The mob separated Logan from the others. Logan was raped and beaten before being rescued by a group of Egyptian women and 20 Egyptian soldiers, according to the CBS statement.
Logan was flown to the United States the next day and has been hospitalized since then. – More here