CAIRO: The city is abuzz with rumors and speculation concerning the alleged sexual harassment of women by a horde of men downtown on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. Everyone seems to have something to say about it.
So The Daily Star Egypt posed the question: Is it still safe for a young woman to walk on the capital’s streets?
There is no problem hanging out on Cairo streets at all. There is a lot of verbal flirting but we’ve gotten used to that. There are some impolite and disrespectful guys; this is true. But they cannot cause us any harm while we are walking in the streets.Randa Mohamed, student.
I used to flirt with girls but believe me they feel happy about that. I had a friend who told me once that she was sad because no one flirted with her on the street. But the usual light flirting is all we can accept. To harass a girl by any means is not acceptable at all. We usually come to the aid of any girl who asks for help on the street, although it rarely happens.Mahmoud El-Shemy, salesman.
I always blame the girl for being harassed because no one would bother a respectable girl. But many girls now expose themselves in tight clothes. Even the veiled girls wear tight attire. What can I do to a guy who flirts with a girl who buys cigarettes from me? But if anybody tried to touch a girl on the street people would beat him.Ragab, kiosk owner.
I remember a few years ago a very young boy about 10 or 11 years old touched my body and ran away. I couldn’t believe that I had been abused by a kid. I didn’t know what to do. Should I shout and make a scandal or just keep quiet and act as if nothing happened? I chose the second option. I was paranoid for a couple of months. I was very irritated and over conscious to the extent that many times it was too tiring for me to walk down the street. I have regained my trust in the people of Cairo but I can’t forget this incident at all.Saneya Mansour, housewife.
I believe the problem is economical in the first place. Young people don’t have money to marry. Many girls also sell themselves on the streets for a few pounds. Look at the main streets during summertime. People from the Arab Gulf countries are everywhere trying to hunt up a girl to spend the night with. Surprisingly, they find these girls. This makes Egyptian guys think that most of the girls on the streets are the same.Khaled Ezz El-Din, lawyer.
During my high school years some of my colleagues walked on the street in a way as if they were asking guys to flirt with them. But no one was ever abused or harassed. When I got older I found out that the abused girls never talk about it. It happens, but not regularly. It is there. I always carry pepper spray in my handbag when I go out.Salma Ateya, student.
I have no excuse for what guys do on the streets. But there are many factors that contribute to the fact that harassment has become a habit on Egyptian streets especially in the summer. Girls wear tight provocative clothes; young people don’t have studies or work to keep them busy and also the movies and TV channels use females as a good background for most of the shows. As if their bodies are the only good they have.Mahmoud Gamal, officer.