MUST SEE Video Discouraging Sexual Harassment! http://youtu.be/72RGtkwRMqU — Two thumbs up! Jazakallahu khairan to the producers Sallie Pisch and Anum Khan with the support of HarassMap.org — I like the one, “Has that ever worked for you?” ~Aishah Schwartz, Activist (sexually harassed in Cairo, Egypt’s Tahrir Square, January 2012).
Cairo, Egypt (June 13, 2012) – The image to the right of this post, while horrifically graphic, gives voice to the voiceless — those women not only in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but world-wide — who suffer the abuse of sexual harassment.
While some forms of sexual harassment, such as ‘cat-calling’ and physical groping, may appear to be lesser in degree than being physically beaten or raped, the effect is nonetheless a life-altering violation to the victim and should never be marginalized.
In fact, it was the very image referred to above, that gave me the courage to speak-out about what happened to me in Tahrir Square when I was there to photograph events surrounding the first year anniversary of Egypt’s revolution earlier this year.
As a general rule, I don’t tend to photograph protests, demonstrations or rallies after dusk, my feeling being that generally it is in the post-sunset darkness that the possibility of danger can more often be anticipated.
Noting that the sun on that particular day was beginning to set, I decided to conclude my adventures in the Square and proceeded to scout out my best exit strategy, seeking a sidewalk on the outskirts of the sea of people surrounding me.
I had observed throughout the afternoon that various groups of men had been offering what appeared to be a form of security through the formation of human shields encircling groups of female demonstrators, and also in providing assistance in clearing a path for women trying to make their way through the crowds.
Grateful I was that fateful afternoon when a bearded, thobe wearing man that I presumed to be Muslim, seemingly observed my intention to exit and he motioned for me to follow behind him, where after he earnestly set about clearing a path for me to exit. I had also observed the man not so far behind me, calling out to others around us to move, which gave me the distinct impression that he was working in association with the man in front of me — that is, to ensure that I found myself safely escorted to the outskirts of the Square.
Being a Muslim woman who trustingly felt in the moment, that she was in the care of Muslim men, made what happened next seem more than surreal. You see…what happened next was the exact same thing that is demonstrated in the photo featured in this article.
But it got worse. The offense was compounded by a secondary move — as the man’s hand slid under my arm to reach in front of me to very literally grab my breast.
There was no where to turn; no where to move. The Square had become as densely populated a metro rail car during rush hour.
I wrenched away from the creepily exploring grasp of my offender and with a burst of determination, surpassed the guide in front of me, found my way to freedom — freedom from Tahrir — ironically, the symbol of freedom itself.
My mind was reeling in disbelief mixed with utter disgust and quite simply — a combination of sadness and shame. The shame stemming from the fact that, what I had just experienced had come at the hands of someone who had represented himself as trustworthy; and Muslim.
I was physically unscathed, for all intents and purposes, but angry at the same time. How? Why? I asked myself again and again.
How. Why. Indeed.
Muslims, we can do better than this — and we must.
Join me and women across the globe, in bringing awareness to the issue of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment knows no cultural or religious boundaries. However, it has become increasingly evident as more and more women have the courage to speak out, that sexual harassment is a form of depravity threatening our communities — and worse. It is a scourge upon the Muslim community at-large.
It is our duty as Muslims to wish for others what we wish for ourselves. Freedom of movement. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Liberty. Justice. Respect.
Therefore, complacency is not an option.GET INVOLVED
Harassmap Open Call for Artists- Anti-Harassment Art (ENTRY DEADLINE 20 JUN 2012)
Harassed in Tahrir – Search results at HarassMap
ABC NEWS Egypt: Women Sexually Assaulted at March Against Sexual Harassment – HarassMap co-founder, Engy Ghozlan, “In our society,” said Ghozland, “men [need to] understand that my presence as a woman is acceptable and not an attack on them. This cannot be achieved by a president or one person. It is a very long-term process.” (14 JUN 2012)
Arab women cry for end to harassment (13 JUN 12)
Helpless (12 JUN 12)
Feeling helpless is one of the worst kinds of a feeling a human being might get. Whether a girl who feels helpless when getting harassed or a guy feeling helpless defending her.
On Tv’s episode on the #EndSH campaign (12 JUN 12)
أنا و نادية أبو المجد تعليقاً على أحداث الوقفة الإحتجاجية ضد التحرش الجنسى التى إنتهت بتحرش جماعى و بلطجة يوم 8 يونيو 2012
Arab women cry for end to harassment (12 JUN 12)
Article photo caption: By Fatma Elzahraa Yassin As part of the Nefsi (Hope) campaign, young Egyptians hold up signs that read, “I hope that you will respect me so that I may respect you.”
Egyptian Women Refuse To Be Silenced By Assaults (10 JUN 12)
Anti sexual harassment protest harassed (9 JUN 12)
VIDEO (8 JUN 12) مسيرة «لا للتحرش» تنتهي بالتحرش
A Human Chain Against Street Harassment in Egypt (20 MAR 12)
Complaints of Abuse in Army Custody (17 MAR 11)
VIDEO 100th International Women’s Day Demonstration (8 MAR 11)
التحرش الجماعي بمسيرة المرأة في ميدان التحرير
(8 MAR 11) (Viewed 2,422,705 times!)
التحرش بمسيرة المرأة في ميدان التحرير 8 مارس 2011
بدايه المسيره وطرد الفتيات والتحرش وشهاده احدي الضحايا
……من الذي استولي علي الميدان؟؟؟؟
شاهد الفيديو لتعرف من المتسبب في تلك التحرشات والاعتداء علي هؤلاء المتظاهرات في ميدان التحرير …
شهادة مريم زكي من ميدان التحرير ، والهدف من المسيرة النسائية
Sexual Harassment in Tahrir; Why now? (26 NOV 11)
Clouds in Egypt’s Sky (16 MAR 10)
Update on Egyptian Anti-Harassment Law (18 FEB 10)
New Egyptian Harassment Law? (5 FEB 09)
Egypt Puts Tougher Sex-Harassment Law on Agenda (4 FEB 2009)
UNFPA EGYPT STAFF DIRECTORY
United Nations Population Fund
(An international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.)
Address: 31 Palestine Street, intersection of 270 Street, New Maadi, Cairo.
Telephone: (202) 27067040 – 25174511/13 30 Lines
Fax: (202) 23174463 – 27067084
For specific inquiries, please contact the appointed Focal Points:
GENDER: Germaine Haddad, Programme Officer – email@example.com
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Alliance for a Democratic Egypt
Key Demands for Rebuilding Measures
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Stop Sexual Harassment in Egypt!
OTHER SMART PHONE APPS AVAILABLE
bSafe – Free mobile safety alarm developed by a women for women. With several helpful safety features, bSafe turns your smartphone into the ultimate safety device. bSafe allows you to create your own personal safety network of “Guardians” who easily can be notified in case of emergency or in situations where you feel unsafe. You can also “check-in”, let friends and family locate you or trace your movements live.
No action is too small to make a difference in working to end the problem of street harassment. Here are suggestions for what you can do in the moment of harassment.
1. Respond: If you feel safe enough to do so, assertively respond to the harassers calmly, firmly, and without insults or personal attacks to let them know that their actions are unwelcome, unacceptable, and wrong. Here is advice from Martha Langelan on dealing with drive-by harassers.
2. Hand the Harasser a Flier: If speaking feels too scary, you can also hand the harasser information about harassment. Here are some examples from Appetite for Equal Rights, Street Harassment Project, graduate student Sarah VanDenbergh, and Stop Street Harassment (Not Hey Baby, Show Respect 1 | 2, Wait a Minute 1 | 2, Picking up Women 1 | 2).
3. Step In: Intervene when someone else is being harassed to help them out of the situation and let the harasser know that their actions are not condoned by others. Men engaging in this tactic can be particularly powerful since men (majority of street harassers) look to other men for approval. Check out this great bystander campaign from the University of New Hampshire.
4. Report to Employer: If the harassers work for an identifiable company, call or write the company to let them know that their employees are harassing people on the job and why that is unacceptable. (Here are three examples submitted to this blog about how women successfully did this. Even threatening to report harassers to their company can make a difference.)
5. Report to Police or Transit Workers: Take actions that will create real consequences for the harasser, such as reporting the person to a police officer or other person of authority, like a bus driver or subway employee. [Here is a statute in New York against serial acts of public lewdness and in Independence, MO, it's illegal for drivers to harass pedestrians or cyclists]
6. Report with your Phone: If you have a smart phone and are in the U.S., download the HollaBack phone app and report your street harasser and if you are in Egypt, use HarassMap to report harassers via SMS texting.