Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Man Jailed for Sexual Harassment

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is not a topic I've never covered in this blog before. I have written posts with tips on how to avoid harassment in the street, as well as documented cases of women being attacked. In the post-Revolution Egypt, harassment has been on the rise. For a while it seemed that there was little effort made to stem this growing problem, so women themselves responded.

Small groups of activists banded together and decided to do something about the problem. HarassMap became one of the more popular methods of disseminating stories of harassment, where women were able to anonymously post their experiences, where it happened, and speak with women who had similar experiences.

The increasing media and societal pressure seems to be starting to pay off. Yesterday, Ahram Online ran a story reporting on the case of a man who has been sentenced to 2 years in prison, and a 2,000 LE (just over 300$ fine) for sexual harassment. Certainly a step in the right direction, and I hope an acknowledgement by the government that this is an issue that needs to be resolved swiftly. Find the report below.

A Cairo court sentenced a man on Monday to a two-year prison term as well as a LE2,000 ($330) fine for sexually harassing a woman in an incident which occurred several months earlier.

Local rights group El-Nadeem which was handling the case announced that the 42-year-old man was arrested in July for sexually harassing a woman in the southern Cairo district of Maadi.

Sexual harassment of women is a growing problem on Egyptian streets. Since Egypt's January 25 Revolution, the number of the different initiatives that work on combating sexual harassment has significantly increased.

The first sexual harassment lawsuit in Egypt that led to the harasser being imprisoned was in 2008, when a young woman named Noha Roshdy took legal action against a man who harassed her.
Sexual harassment lawsuits receive particular media attention because of the difficulty of convicting harassers amid unclear legal punishments for the crime.

In Late October, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil stated that the Cabinet, along with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the National Council for Women, are working on a law to combat harassment on the streets through imposing harsh penalties.

A 2008 survey by the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights found that 83 per cent of local women in Egypt and 98 per cent of foreign women had been subjected to harassment at least once.

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