Egypt varsity sexual harassment sparks outrage

2014-03-18 21:10
Egyptians read the newspaper as they line up at a polling station to vote in the country's constitutional referendum in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt. (Maya Alleruzzo, AP)

Egyptians read the newspaper as they line up at a polling station to vote in the country's constitutional referendum in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt. (Maya Alleruzzo, AP)

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

Cairo - A case of sexual harassment in one of Egypt's largest universities has sparked outrage after the dean said the women's outfit triggered the incident.

In a video that has gone viral on social networks and has been covered by local media, Cairo University security guards escort a student wearing tight black pants and a long sleeved pink top after she hid in a toilet from dozens of male students who were sexually harassing her.

More than 99% of women in Egypt have been subjected to a form of harassment, according to a study carried out in 2013 by UN Women.

Women report that they are harassed regardless of whether they are dressed in conservative Islamic veils or Western-style clothing.

University dean Gaber Nassar said the student's outfit, which he described as "a bit unconventional," led to the harassment, quickly adding that he was not justifying the incident.

"This girl entered the university wearing an abaya [loose cloak] and then took it off in the faculty, and appeared with those clothes, that caused, in reality - but this doesn't justify at all" the incident, Nassar said on private Egyptian channel ONTV.

He said university guards turn away students who show up at campus dressed inappropriately.

"The student's mistake does not justify what the [other] students did," he added.

Most of Cairo University's female students wear jeans and tops and avoid revealing clothes, and many wear the traditional Islamic headscarves, as do the majority of Egypt's women.

Nassar later wrote on Twitter that he was misunderstood and that he was not blaming the student for the incident.

Undress her

"I assure that this is not true and I apologise for the misunderstanding and I repeat that those who [harassed the girl] will be severely punished," he wrote.

Fathi Farid, with an anti-sexual harassment group, said male students had verbally attacked the woman and attempted to undress her.

"The worst is that people always find justification for the harassment and blame it on the victim," said Farid, a founding member of the "I saw harassment" campaign that documents sexual harassment against women.

The incident sparked outrage on social networks and in the media.

Nassar "should be interrogated and expelled, investigations into the incident should start immediately", women's rights activist Mariam Kirollos wrote on her Twitter account.

Several popular talk-shows covered the incident.

"A girl is naked, does it mean someone should jump on her?" television host Amr Adib asked in disbelief, during his show on the privately-owned Orbit channel.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  gender equality
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

VIDEO: 'British media were raving about Lood, Eben'
No '07 France ghosts - Foster
Boks not underestimating Wales scrum
Boks play repeat knockout at RWC
Traffic Alerts

You may find it hard to focus on the mundane routines as the greener pastures seem so tempting. It is a good time to expand more

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


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 network.


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.