Egypt sexual harrasment spikes over Eid

2012-10-31 08:32
Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt.(Amr Nabil, AP)

Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt.(Amr Nabil, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt's president acknowledged the widespread problem of sexual harassment in his country Tuesday, ordering his interior minister to investigate a rash of assaults during a just-completed Muslim holiday.

Mohammed Morsi acted after his government reported 735 police complaints about sexual harassment over the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, which ended on Monday.

Morsi stressed the need to fight "all phenomena of moral chaos and abuses, especially harassment in Egyptian streets," spokesperson Yasser Ali said in a statement.

The holiday features celebrations, crowded public squares - and widespread harassment of women by men.

Rights activists have faulted Morsi's Islamist government for failing to take action against the wave of sexual assaults. Earlier this month, around 200 activists gathered outside the presidential palace, chanting slogans against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood pressing for a law to criminalize harassment.

Morsi's order on Tuesday appeared to be an attempt to counter the charges of activists.

Complaints about the problem, which has long been a feature of Egypt's society, gained prominence during last year's popular uprising that unseated long serving President Hosni Mubarak. Women activists and reporters told of severe assaults by men in Tahrir Square, the focus of the mass protests.

Activists say little, if anything, has changed.

A prominent activist, Azza Suleiman, told the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper on Tuesday that her two sons were assaulted in downtown Cairo during the holiday while trying to protect a group of foreigners, while police stood by watching the incident. 

Blame the victim

She criticized the police and the Interior Ministry for failing to secure the crowded streets.

Tahrir Square, the centre of last year's uprising, has been the scene of a number of assaults against women - both protesters and journalists - in the aftermath of the revolution. Earlier this month, a correspondent for France 24 TV was "savagely attacked" near Tahrir after being seized by a crowd, the network said.

Last week, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil condemned sexual harassment in remarks on his Facebook page, calling it a "catastrophe" that threatens society. Qandil said the Cabinet was preparing a law to impose harsher penalties for sexual harassment.

Rights activists have been campaigning for such legislation for years.

Dr Hani Henry, a psychology professor at the American University in Cairo, said that the widespread notion that women should dress more conservatively in order to reduce sexual harassment on Egypt's streets is one of the biggest impediments to addressing the issue.

"There's a 'blaming the victim' mentality," Hany said. He predicted that addressing sexual harassment in Egypt's could be more difficult now that Islamists have emerged as the strongest political power in post-revolutionary Egypt.

- SAPA
Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  human rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Africa
 

Hottie of the day: Charlotte

Meet our hottie of the day, Charlotte. She feels sexiest after a good workout at the gym!

 
 

Men24.com

This is why guys shouldn’t be in photos
BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike
Want to start talking dirty?
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You have the ability to lead and take up campaigns that can sway the crowd and make things happen. There can be a slightly...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.