Egypt to run a sexual harassment ‘hotline’ during Eid

The line will run between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. during the four days of the official Eid holiday

Shounaz Meky - Al Arabiya News
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The Egyptian State Council for Women will operate a hotline allowing members of the public to report cases of sexual assault during Saturday’s Eid al-Adha festivities, al-Ahram Online reported.

Through collaboration between the National Council for Women and the Police Department of Combating Violence against Women, officers will be expected to respond to instances of reported harassment in addition to arresting offenders, head of the council Mervat el-Talawy said.

The line will be open between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. during the four days of the official Eid holiday.

“We agreed with the Interior Ministry to report any cases regarding sexual harassment in Eid,” Talawy told Al Arabiya News. She said this would help the police officers head to the locations where cases of harassment are being reported.

Talawy said more had been done lately to combat harassment in Egypt, despite the turbulent security conditions in the country.

Although sexual harassment continues to be a pressing issue in Egypt, public festivities typically mark a surge in reported incidents.

During a gathering of supporters celebrating the inauguration of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, a video emerged of a woman, half naked and bloodied, being groped by the swarms of men surrounding her. By the time she got to an ambulance, she was completely naked and visibly bleeding.

Following the incident, and in an effort to curb abuse, Sisi issued a decree in June that made sexual harassment a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.

Talawy said the tough punishment issued against the perpetrators of the harassment incident in Tahrir Square along with the new decree had played a role in reducing harassment cases during the previous Eid.

“We found out that harassment reports collected last Eid were fewer compared to the previous one,” Talawy said.

“Also, those who were caught verbally abusing women on streets paid fines that amount to more than 1,000 Egyptian pounds [$140],” she added.

The United Nations estimates that more than 99 percent of Egyptian woman have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

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