It is no secret that sexual harassment is a very dangerous phenomenon in Egypt streets. What is striking is that it is getting worse, not better. I have been suffering from street sexual harassment for years, and wrote 2 years ago that I no longer had any tolerance for it. I described how I would attack men in cars with rocks if they had stopped to harass me.
Earlier last year, the day it was announced that Mubarak had stepped down, Tahrir Square was so crowded with people celebrating, and in the middle of the crowd, my friend was harassed. Basma, the prominent actress and political activist, also mentioned that she was harassed that day also, calling it the first time for her in Tahrir Square.
During the first Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes, I was harassed three times, and only once was I able to react.
Last January, celebrating the Jan25 first anniversary, Basma was harassed again! She talked about that second incident in a recent TV interview. In fact, she was invited for that TV interview because when she and her husband former MP Amr Hamzawy joined a protest in favour of freedom of speech, she was harassed yet again, making this the third time.
Amr Hamzawy tweeted about the incident and expressed his frustration with the harassment, only to face worse reactions, blaming him for being unreasonable about it and attacking him for not being a man enough, because he tweeted about it.
When I shared Hamzawy’s tweets on my Facebook account, some of the commented actually questioned Hamzawy’s manhood. Karim Abdel-Nabi, a friend who allowed me to quote his comment, said:
“I respect that Hamzawy supported his wife and didn’t deal with the situation as if it was a scandal to hide, and what should be important for us now instead of blaming Basma and Hamzawy – because they are victims here – is to focus on the offender himself (the harasser). We have to demand solutions to prevent this crime from happening again rather than just waiting for next Eid to cry!”
Hamzawy himself tried to pass a law against harassment when he was an MP but faced resistance from Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al-Nour Party, run by Salafists; as he explains:
“I tried during the period of the parliament to push for proposing tougher sanctions to ensure law amendments to some articles in the penal code, but the majority from both of FJP and Al-Nour parties overturned it and emptied its content.”
Hamzawy continues, knowing very well his wife’s experience is just the tip of an iceberg: [Read more...]