Egypt: Sexual Harassment Epidemic
Monday, September 10, 2012 4:20 PM

Sexual harassment of women in Egypt has increased to epidemic proportions during the last three months, becoming a daily fact of life for many Egyptian women. For some women the harassment becomes violent mob-style attacks. In one of the most extreme cases, a woman was assaulted by a mob last winter in the city of Alexandria. Women report being afraid to go out on the street, worried that they will be groped or verbally harassed. 

 A 2008 study by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights found that 80% of Egyptian women have experienced sexual harassment and that most of the victims wore Islamic headscarves. Said Sadek, a sociologist from the American University in Cairo, said that the problem is rooted in religious fundamentalism. A combination of religious conservatism and patriarchal attitudes has led to the targeting of women. According to male patriarchal culture, women should stay home and not work. Sadek and women’s rights advocates say that a lack of security enforcement is also to blame. The new government has said that it is taking the problem seriously, although advocates say it is not yet a priority.

 Compiled from: “Egypt’s sexual harassment of women ‘epidemic,’” BBC News Middle East (September 3, 2012).