‘Harassing harassers:’ how Egyptian activists combat abuse against women

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Egyptian activists have set up an initiative called “harassing the harassers” aimed at curbing the phenomenon of sexual assaults in the country.

The group was set up in response to the alleged killing of a young woman who was run over by her harasser after she refused his advances, an incident that occurred in the city of Mansoura last week, the campaign’s founder Shadi Hussein said on Monday.

He said his group seeks to spread the initiative to all of Egypt’s provinces, noting that they are currently engaged in awareness-raising campaigns in several cities.

Hussein explains his group’s tactics saying volunteers always divide themselves into several teams and wear a special uniform so that they can combat harassment by detaining alleged perpetrators and writing the words “I am a harasser” on their backs.

It is just one attempt to reduce the spate of sexual harassment in the country; a movement called “You Witnessed Harassment,” has also been launched. Through this forum people can take photos or videos of the apparent incident of harassment, publish the images online and expose the alleged molesters, reported Al Arabiya on Monday.

Sexual violence against women in Egypt increased during post-revolutionary Islamist rule, according to official reports and rights activists, Al Arabiya English reported in June. According to Hussein sexual harassment is a phenomenon that still pervades the daily life of many women in the country.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality said in a report published on May 23 that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual violence.

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