CAIRO: In a first, a Cairo criminal court sentenced a man to three years in prison for sexually harassing a woman. Although in legal proceedings the charge was “sexual assault, the victim, Noha Roushdy, has become the center of media attention for taking the case to court, as opposed to the customary attitude of keeping such incidents a secret.
Roushdy was seen mainly as a “hero and a role model by many of the people Daily News Egypt interviewed. Most of those interviewed, however, were not yet aware of the incident and only heard about it through these interviews, which were conducted Thursday, two days after the court ruling. For a woman in her late 20s, who preferred to remain anonymous, the verdict was a surprise. “I never knew that some one can get jailed for harassing us [Egyptian women], she told Daily News Egypt.
“Maybe if a female foreigner was harassed a court might rule in her favor . but for an Egyptian woman, I never thought it would be possible, she added.
Nadine Al-Hussieny, a 19-year-old university student, said, “I do believe that this court verdict will help a lot to minimize sexual harassment on the Egyptian streets . [I usually get] verbal harassment but she has never been physically harassed.
Also Nada Adly, a 20-year-old student agreed with Al-Hussieny adding that, “the verdict will for sure make a lot of change.
On the other hand, a 20-year-old student Mohamed Al-Sherif, told Daily News Egypt that the court verdict is “surely a positive step in that regard yet no real change will take place unless more and more legislation was made to stop sexual harassment in Egypt.
Al-Sherif also added that Roushdy’s behavior was “very right and encourages any woman who gets harassed to copy Roushdy and take the case “as far as she can.
On the other hand, Mustapha Ajbarli, a librarian in his late 20s, said that this case won t end the harassment issue in Egypt, because “the government is not actually doing anything to the people who are harassing women.
“I consider what happened to be a sort of cosmetic act . the government is trying to appease public opinion through this verdict.
Two construction workers in their 40s refused to comment on this particular incident.
“There is no sexual harassment in Egypt, they explained. “Men are just paying sweet compliments to pretty young women in the streets to cheer them up.