Egypt’s Sexual Harassment Protection Law: Snatch It if you Lack It

Date posted: January 9, 2011

Marwa Rakha for Think Africa Press:

Egypt’s Sexual Harassment Protection Law: Snatch It if you Lack It!

January 2011



I am no stranger to sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo; I still remember when I was eighteen and I had to use public transportation to go to college. I was a veiled freshman with loss and lack of experience written all over my face. Looking back at the image I projected at the time, I could clearly see that I was an open invitation for sexual harassment – I was that girl who would never scream, fight back, or hit the harasser for fear of a scandal. That day I took the bus home after a very long day. There were no available seats and I had to stand on my feet all the way (about an hour and half). Exhaustion numbed my senses and my face drooped into dullness. Suddenly people sitting near me on the bus began talking to me; one asking me to move to the left, another wanted me to get off, and there was this woman who just kept glaring at me the same way my mother would glare at me when I did something wrong or inappropriate in the presence of guests. Finally a man got up and asked me to take his seat. I was totally oblivious to what was going on until I came face to face with my harasser who was touching his privates as he looked at me! He was a man in his twenties wearing a “galabeya” with blood stains scattered randomly; I think he was a butcher or a butcher’s apprentice. When I arrived home and took off my skirt, I was unpleasantly surprised – It was wet and dirtied with semen!



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