Egyptian Women FIGHT Sexual Harassment

There is a new phenomenon in Egypt as women begin to fight back against sexual harassment by men which even occurs in the course of daily life. Dozens of women are now taking karate to learn tactics of dealing with men who like to grope a woman walking in the street. A year ago during a Muslim holiday, young men went wild in the streets feeling and touching women in an orgy of sexual harassment. Self defense classes are cropping up all over Egypt as women have come out of the closet and are ready to confront men in the open on the streets of their nation. Even the government which ordinarily does not even wish to admit there is such a thing as harassment of women on the streets of Cairo is finally discussing the possibility of passing new legislation.

A recent report indicates that 83% of egyptian women and 98% of foreign women said they have been sexually harassed. In an even more startling result of the survey, 62.4% of men admitted they sexually assaulted women! Ironically, the survey reveals even women dressed in traditional clothes are subject to harassment.

Egyptian women rarely report this harassment but the emergence of Facebook and MySpace has provided women a venue to share their complaints and to organize women to fight back. A campaign on Facebook to fight back is called, “Respect Yourself” and now has 48,000 members.

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