The sexual harassment of women issue in Egypt has reached a peak, placing it on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s agenda since his first day in office, according to non-governmental initiative “I Saw Harassment”.
In a recent report on harassment cases between June 2014 and June 2015, “I Saw Harassment” counted at least 1,964 reported incidents across Egypt. The report also added that the number is likely to be higher due to the number of unreported cases.
Alexandria ranked in top spot with 33% of the cases, followed by Cairo with 31%, then Giza with 7%, followed by Kafr El-Sheikh with 6%.
“This is a period that was marked by the amendment to the laws which finally added the term “sexual harassment”, after nine years of civil society’s demands to do so,” the report added.
The group said sexual harassment happens mostly in schools and universities, with incidents and complaints increasing in the last quarter of Al-Sisi’s first year.
“Police staff have also been accused of sexual violence against female citizens,” the report added. The report tried to examine cases of sexual harassment and the influence of new law.
“I Saw Harassment” followed different media reports on the issue. One of November’s most infamous incidents involved two police officers, who beat and injured a third one. In this instance, a street fight occurred over the verbal sexual assault of the latter’s wife verbal by the two officers at a security check.
The report cited a statement by unnamed sources at the Ministry of Education reporting that the ministry received 120 complaints of sexual harassment against school teachers in December 2014.
However, students’ harassment also takes place in front of their schools. For instance, there were 16 complaints against young men harassing girls in Kafr El-Sheikh in October 2014.
During the same month, prosecution authorities opened investigations into seven complaints from parents accusing a 40-year-old teacher of sexually harassing their daughters in third, fourth and fifth grades in a school in the Omraneya district of Giza.
The report also highlighted sexual harassment of tourists in Egypt. It concluded with recommendations such as the role of the state, Ministry of Interior and civil society in the rehabilitation of sexual offenders, in addition to implement Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s decision to establish a specialised committee in violence against women reporting directly to the presidency.