Egypt is starting to take sexual harassment seriously

Baher Ibrahim writes: Sexual harassment of women is not new to Egypt. Almost every woman in the country has experienced some form of harassment, whether verbal or physical.

What is new, though, is a slow but steady change in the tide of public opinion. It began with Eid in 2006, where a crowd of women fell prey to sexual predators, some having their clothes ripped off.

Until recently, the Arabic word for harassment (tahharush) was not used in this context. It was previously known as muakssa – implying playful behaviour by young men having a good time. It was simply accepted as part of a “boys will be boys” attitude, with women and girls having to embrace it because that’s just how boys are.

Finally, this social cancer has come to be referred to as “harassment” and the media have begun to pay attention rather than turn a blind eye. [Continue reading…]

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