A report conducted by the ‘I Saw Harassment’ group demonstrates several cases of gender-based violence against teenage girls and children perpetrated by teachers at public or private schools. The report also documents cases occurring inside university campuses across the country.
‘I Saw Harassment’ is a civil pressure group that emerged from the Appropriate Communication Techniques (ACT) independent organisation. It works on observing and documenting crimes of sexual harassment against women and girls, raising awareness and denouncing violence.
The report entitled “Decline in reports of sexual harassment and an increase in the frequency of violations in schools and universities” covers the period between 25 December 2014 and 18 April 2015, the third 100 days of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s rule.
The report’s findings indicate the spread of sexual harassment across Egypt. Statistics based on reported incidents of sexual harassment show that Beheira governorate comes first with a figure of 28%, followed by Cairo with 24%. Governorates with the least amount of sexual harassment cases are Giza, Port Said, Aswan, Daqahleya and Gharbeya.
Incidents of sexual harassment reported by newspapers include cases at Cairo University and Assiut University. As for schools, there were cases in New Valley governorate, the Red Sea governorate and Alexandria.
The report relies on sexual harassment cases documented by private and state newspapers, and some digital news websites. It attempts to measure the effect of the law in limiting the spread of sexual harassment, and to assess the methods and mechanisms adopted by the government to combat sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment in universities has become ‘endemic’ as described by the report, as female students are harassed by male students, individuals from the administrative security, and some faculty members.
Cairo University recently announced a set of policies and measures to contain the spread of sexual harassment on campus. Among those measures, the Anti-Harassment and Combating Violence Against Women Unit was formed. Headed by Cairo University President Gaber Nassar, the Unit was formed by a number of faculty members, student union leaders and with the assistance of some civil society organisations and anti-harassment movements.
‘I Saw Harassment’ concluded its report with a series of demands related to reducing violence against women. It specifically addressed those who intend to run as candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections to include human rights and gender equality in their programmes.
‘I Saw Harassment’ further demanded the Ministry of Interior provides training for police forces, in collaboration with civil society organisations, on gender equality and methods to combat all forms of violence against women.
At least 1,191 cases of sexual assault and harassment took place across Egypt during the second “100 days of Al-Sisi’s rule”, covering a time frame between 17 September and 25 December 2014. The figures came as part of a year-end report prepared by the same group.
Sexual harassment is a significant social problem in Egypt. In April 2013, the United Nations (UN) issued a report of a survey conducted of women in seven Egyptian governorates, suggesting that 99.3% of women have experienced it.