El-Sisi visits Tahrir sexual assault victim, apologises to Egypt's women

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Jun 2014

The newly inaugurated president apologises to the victim during the hospital visit, as well as to all Egyptian women, vowing maximum measures against sexual harassment in Egypt

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visits Tahrir sexual harassment victim
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visits Tahrir sexual harassment victim (Photo: Snapshot of Egyptian State TV)

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi paid a visit early on Wednesday to one of the Tahrir Square victims of mass sexual assault.

The newly inaugurated president, along with Minister of Defence Sedky Sobhy and the chief of staff, General Mahmoud Hegazy, visited the victim at Al-Helmiya Military Hospital.

During celebrations held by supporters of El-Sisi over the past week for his victory in the presidential elections and up until his inauguration on Sunday, Tahrir Square witnessed a series of mass sexual harassment and assault incidents against ladies. 

In a video report aired Wednesday morning on national TV, El-Sisi was shown apologising to the victim, as well as to all Egyptian women subjected to sexual abuse, and promising her a spiritual voyage to Mecca at the state's expense to help her convalesce. 

He also vowed to implement tougher measures against the crime. 

Shortly afterwards, a statement from Egypt's presidency declared the intended formation of a committee comprised of government officials as well as Muslim and Christian spiritual leaders to devise a strategy to combat the growing phenomenon of sexual harassment. 

On Tuesday El-Sisi issued a statement denouncing the mass sexual assault incidents that took place in Tahrir Square during his inaugural celebrations and awarded the officer who rescued one of the victims. 

Describing sexual harassment as an alien behaviour to Egyptian culture, El-Sisi called on the Egyptian people to restore "the moral spirit" of society. 

The prosecutor-general is currently investigating the sexual assault cases. Security forces also arrested a number of suspects from Tahrir Square on Sunday for their possible involvement in one of the mass assault incidents. 

Women's rights organisations report that no less than eight women were sexually harassed and assaulted the past few days in Tahrir Square and were transferred to hospitals in critical conditions.

Sexual harassment has also been a growing problem outside of Tahrir Square and in protests in the last decade.

More than 99 percent of women surveyed across 27 governorates said they'd experienced some form of harassment, from minor incidents to rape, according to a 2013 report by the United Nations and Egypt's Demographic Centre and the National Planning Institute.

Last week, former interim president Adly Mansour issued a sexual harassment law that activists praised for stipulating tougher penalties and jail terms for offenders.

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