Egyptian Action Group Reports Less Physical, More Verbal Sexual Abuse As Eid Ends

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An Egyptian anti-harassment action group said on Sunday that it has noted a relative decrease in incidents of physical harassment on the second day of Eid holidays.

In a statement reporting on the events of Saturday, which marked the second day of Eid Al-Fitr, Shoft Taharosh (“I Saw Harassment”) said that verbal sexual harassment prevailed while physical and collective sexual harassment incidents subsided in comparison to Friday.

The initiative said that the level of verbal abuse was “unprecedented,” saying it contained “sexual words and phrases… and detailed descriptions of women’s genitals.”

Volunteers from the group, who mainly cover downtown Cairo, said they “intervened” in 77 cases of verbal harassment on Saturday and 28 cases of physical harassment.

On the first day of Eid, Shoft Taharosh reported that it had prevented two incidents of mass physical sexual harassment in downtown Cairo and intervened in 44 incidents of physical harassment and 33 instances of verbal harassment.

Their report also noted that less women were present on their own than those in the company of men.

On Saturday, Ahram Arabic news website said that police have arrested 29 men for sexual harassment since the beginning of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

Female police officers have been deployed on the streets to confront sexual harassment during Eid.

During the three-day Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, families and young people often celebrate with outings to parks, cinemas, fairs and other public spaces.

Reports of sexual harassment and assault in crowded areas increase during the holiday.

Sexual harassment, which affects 99 percent of Egyptian women according to a 2013 UN study, usually increases in crowded areas during holidays.

Sexual harassment was criminalised in 2014. The law imposes jail terms of no less than six months, and/or fines of LE3,000 to LE5,000 ($419 to $700) for those who are found guilty of sexual harassment in public or private areas.

Source : Ahram online

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