The ‘I Saw Harassment’ Initiative accused security personnel of sexually harassing females during the Eid Al-Adha celebrations, reporting two incidents involving policemen and conscripts.
“In both cases, the security men committed verbal harassment, and our team members spoke to them regarding their behaviour in an attempt to increase their awareness,” official coordinator of the group Fathi Farid said in Monday comments to Daily News Egypt.
Farid explained that it was not within the initiative’s tasks to take further measures against harassers, except for providing assistance to victims who wish to report incidents, or of course in case “she is being assaulted”.
However, Farid accused the state of “cracking down” on the group, among others, a trend that has been ongoing for “almost a year” as there is an obvious lack of cooperation from the security side.
‘I Saw Harassment’ was present mostly in Downtown areas known to be hotspots for public celebrations, such as Qasr Al-Nil Bridge. The initiative has been covering those areas regularly, often reporting a fair security presence.
Nonetheless, figures for harassment cases during the four days of Eid celebrations came relatively high. Farid said they observed two phenomena that could have contributed to increased sexual harassment cases.
“On one hand, teenage harassers are becoming more violent, which we noted when they assaulted our own team members,” Farid said.
Another noteworthy aspect that characterised this Eid holiday is the combination of girls and boys performing sexual harassment. More and more teenage girls were seen harassing other girls and women, mostly verbally.
In order for a legal case to go to court for sexual harassment, the victim must provide eyewitnesses to the incident. It is worth mentioning that it is a cultural belief that men would not flirt with or harass women if they themselves are accompanied by women.
“I believe this is a new way to manipulate laws. Maybe the harassers are accompanied by girls to counter any testimonies against them, if confronted by victims,” Farid explained.
I Saw Harassment Initiative’s report on sexual harassment cases during Eid Al-Adha 2015