It was ironic, as well as frustrating, to read headlines as “Egyptian women sexually harassed at anti-harassment march” last Saturday, June 7, about the shameful attacks on women’s march that took place the day before in Tahrir.
A group of unknown assailants sexually harassed the women who were participating in the march on Friday. The march was part of a larger rally against the old regime’s long-time Civil and Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik reaching the presidential elections run-offs.
Yet the parliament and legislative forces went largely missing in taking stricter actions against sexual harassment.
I was reading the tweets of girls who were being harassed in the most demeaning ways and my head was going to explode, I could feel everything they were going through. It isn’t enough that we can’t walk through the streets of this country without feeling we are being stripped naked just by the looks and comments we get.
One would think this would have changed in new Egypt, but of course this was proven wrong once the supposedly “revolutionary” parliament discussed Female Genital Mutilation at a time when people were asking for their rights and the revolution’s demands.
But then again, this “revolutionary” parliament has minimal representation of women.
If, for instance, there is a LE 1000 fine or a three-months imprisonment on those who harass women, harassers would certainly think twice before attempting to come near a woman. If a woman feels confident that she will have justice served to her harassers, maybe women will not shy away from reporting harassment incidents like most of us do now.
But where are the decision makers? Where are those who implement the law to begin with? An Egyptian woman will probably get laughed at if she goes to the police station and reports such an incident — soldiers often verbally harass women on the streets to begin with.
The decision makers of this country are the only ones capable of determining the fate of women’s rights, whether at this point or later on.
No matter how much women resisted, stood in frontlines at protests and risked their lives, unfortunately, they’ll still need something of more impact to be done. This isn’t by any means undermining the women’s efforts to prove they’re equal citizens. But actions need to be taken on a much bigger scale. I have no doubt that the women of Egypt will remain relentless in obtaining this basic right.
Leave a Comment