Sexual harasser to stand trial for Cairo bridge attack

Aswat Masriya, Tuesday 11 Jun 2013

Bystanders said they thought attacker was my husband because he seemed so confident while beating me, victim says

A 2006 demonstration against sexual harassment in front of the Egyptian Press Syndicate (Photo: Hossam El-Hamalawy)

A man will stand trial next week for allegedly attacking a woman in Cairo after she told him to stop making sexual comments and gestures towards her, Aswat Masriya reported.

Sexual harassment is a serious problem in Egypt but perpetrators are rarely tried. 

Lyla El-Gueretly, 30, said she was walking on 6 October Bridge in April when a bus passenger started catcalling her.

When she ignored him, he started making obscene gestures, which only stopped when she said, "Shame on your beard."

Devout Muslims often grow their beards pursuant to the teachings of the Prophet Mohamed.

"He then started shouting and calling me names," El-Gueretly said, before adding that she confronted him when he jumped off the bus and physically attacked her.

El-Gueretly, a politically active teacher, said she learned later that people had thought the harasser was her husband because "he seemed so confident" while beating her.

Only when she started screaming “harasser!” did people support her and help her take the perpetrator to a police station.

El-Gueretly, who sustained minor injuries during the attack, persuaded several witnesses to accompany her to the prosecutor to testify.

The prosecutor suggested I may have encouraged the attack when he discovered from my identification card that I used to wear a headscarf, El-Gueretly said.

The alleged attacker, who was released but will stand trial on 16 June, faces three to seven years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.

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