Egypt: Sexual Harassment Victims, Keep your Mouth Shut!

Date posted: November 6, 2008

On November 1, Al Masry Al Youm shocked its readers with an article about two girls who went to the police station to report a sexual harassment incident but instead, they were detained for six hours and harassed by the officers on duty.

Amira Gamal, an active blogger and an administrator of Kolena Noha Group (We are All Noha) on Facebook sent out a cry for help and suggestion to the group members saying:

At this link and with the above mentioned news the mask fell off the face of the real harasser. Timing is a key factor here as Noha said "No! I will declare war against harassers. I will not leave my rights behind. I will get rid of my shame because I have nothing to be ashamed of. Harassers should be ashamed not us." Shaimaa and Heba and thousands of other girls joined Noha in her call and decided to have the courage to fight sexual harassment.

Not only were the two girls ignored at the police station, but they were also harassed, threatened, and accused of unspeakable things. All Egyptians can relate to the negative associations with "police stations" where humiliation or rather fear of humiliation first comes to mind. There, where they sought help, Shaimaa and Heba found out that the bus driver who offended them has been replaced by 100 resentful males whose memories are still fresh with what Noha did to her offender. They have decided to make every girl who dares think that she could be another Noha and get her right back regret even thinking of stepping up.

Despite the fact that the two girls did give up their right to file a report and begged to go home in peace, the officer who abused them said that he insists on taking them to court for assaulting him. This is a call for whoever is left of real men and strong women, Shaimaa and Heba got scared because they thought that they were alone. Let's show them that they are not. Let's show them that there are thousands of men and women in Egypt who are willing to support them against their offenders – the driver and the officers! Looking forward to receiving your suggestions.

Ahmed Ali Eid, a young activist posted a note on Facebook questioning the worthiness of the Egyptian citizen:

Shaimaa: Heba asked for a chair to sit down because she has rheumatic fever, but officer Mohamed Waguih hailed her with verbal assaults before he finally kicked her. Another officer pulled Heba from her hair, clicked his government-given gun, and threatened to kill us both because she objected to being beaten up.

Heba: I bled during my being held in custody for the charges of assaulting an officer; they refused giving me medication or sending me to the hospital.

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