The National Council for Women (NCW) announced on Friday that the hotline dedicated to receiving sexual harassment complaints did not receive any calls during Eid Al-Fitr. However, officials in the council asserted that some verbal harassment cases were observed in the streets.
The council said in a statement that it coordinated with the Ministry of Interior and the Unit of Combating Violence Against Women in Cairo’s security directorate during Eid Al-Fitr, in order to follow up on harassment cases in Cairo.
During the field surveillance, lawyers of the council’s complaints bureau took to the streets to document harassment cases. Around seven verbal harassment occurrences were documented in Al-Azhar Park during the first day of Eid Al-Fitr.
In Giza governorate, around 48 verbal harassment cases occurred in the Giza Zoo. In Qaliubiya, 16 verbal harassment cases were documented. The numbers were provided to the lawyers by the security directorates. Those cases only account for women who had actually filed reports.
HarassMap, an Egyptian initiative to combat violence against women, told Daily News Egypt that the initiative does not document specific numbers during Eid Al-Fitr or any other celebrations. However, it is safe to say that harassment until now is not “on the decline”.
Member of parliament Emad Mahrous said earlier that Egyptian society is witnessing several phenomena over the past few years, including sexual harassment. In a press statement, he said that this phenomenon appeared in the past few years and criticised women’s clothing, saying: “Is it acceptable for a girl to wear ripped trousers? This is sad.”
The NCW documents a low number of sexual violence cases against women, unlike non-governmental initiatives that document far more cases of sexual violence.
According to Egypt’s penal code, sexual harassment is a crime. However, the law is not effectively implemented due to the less than cooperative attitude towards harassment victims. Many initiatives and non-governmental organisations have called for stricter and more comprehensive laws to combat sexual violence against women.