Moroccan activists launch anti-harassment campaign after shocking gang rape case
A number of activists and members of Morocco’s civil society recently launched a campaign on both social media and public spaces in raise awareness of what they say is a rising problem of sexual harassment against women in the North African country.
The campaign launched on Saturday called on both government officials and citizens to confront the issue by using the slogan “Do not harass me, the public transportation is for you and me”. The event was launched in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
This comes after a shocking video emerged of a gang rape attempt against disabled woman on a moving public bus by a number of men in August.
The campaign, led by the “Tahadi Association” aims to raise awareness of this phenomenon among the male and female passengers of public transportation, as one of the most prominent places where harassment commonly takes place.
Boshra Abdo, one of the center’s directors, said that women who use public transportation “suffer daily in their various movements” and that this suffering “creates many psychological disorders for them”. Women started to consider “Tteir bodies as the property of others and not theirs, where they are subjected to friction and physical, sexual and psychological violence inside the public transportation,” Abdo added.
According to a study by the association, which included a sample of 200 women, 54% of women aged between 19-39 said they were harassed in public transportation. About 5% of girls between the ages of 12 and 18 said they experienced similar incidents on public transportation. Overall, 71% who those polled said they felt uncomfortable using public transportation for several reasons, including harassment in its various forms.
“This is a good initiative, but it is not enough, especially in light of the lack of buses dedicated for citizens,” activist Said al-Murshidi commented adding that “it is the overcrowded public transportation especially at the rush hour that leads to harassment”.
Elham Belhadj, a student, suggested public buses dedicate the front parts of the vehicles to women only to reduce incidents of harassment. “This is worrying the citizens especially women. It also leads to negative repercussions to the extent of rape and revenge in some cases,” said Belhadj.
The video that shocked the nation this summer appeared to show three young men forcibly undressing the woman and forcing themselves on her while others cheered them on amid a burst of laughter and shouting. The woman could be head repeatedly resisting them while crying out loud for them to stop.