Anti harassment initiative Shoft Taharosh (I Saw Harassment), praised in a statement on Friday interim President Adly Mansour’s decision to amend sections of Article 58 in the penal law, to include the term “sexual harassment”.
The group congratulated Egyptian women and girls on this step and attributed to their fearlessness and continuous calls for their right to safety and a better life as the reason behind this positive step.
The group added that this amendment would not have happened except for the efforts of the different feminist groups that have been calling for years for legislative reform to put an end for violence against women.
The group described the amended law as a step in the right direction and anticipates more legislation from the upcoming parliament. The group added that despite its celebration of the law in its new form, the interim president’s amendments overlooked the recommendations that were mentioned by a number of feminist organisations on the required legislative reform.
Last April a group of 11 feminist organisations and anti-sexual harassment groups issued recommendations to put an end to sexual harassment and demanded the president to pose the issue for societal discussion.
The amended law punishes “sexual harassers” who verbally or physically engage in any sexual or obscene sign, in public or in private, or through wireless media. Offenders are to serve a minimum of six months in prison and will be fined between EGP 3,000 and 5,000. The amendment also includes a punishment that is twice as severe in the case the action is repeated.
Sexual harassment has come to the attention of a number of human rights groups in recent years after several cases have been reported. A number of feminist activists and organisations have called for harsher punishments to deter such a phenomenon. Feminist groups began using the term “sexual harassment” since 2005.