'I witnessed harassment' volunteers catch 8-10 yr olds in the act

Ahram Online, Friday 9 Aug 2013

With sexual harassment usually exploding during Eid holiday, an anti-sexual harassment campaign reports perpetrators as young as 8 years old

sexual harassment campaign
Campaigners documenting harassment cases in downtown Cairo (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)

The anti-sexual harassment campaign "I witnessed harassment" confirms several cases of sexual harassment over the holiday weekend these past two days - including perpetrators as young as 8 and 10 years old.

The campaign deployed more volunteers around downtown Cairo during Eid El-Fitr, the holiday that ends the Ramadan month of fasting, when sexual harassment is known to explode.

Reports described everything from verbal to physical assault and mob sexual attacks.

Volunteers raise passersby's awareness and intervene when they see harassment. The group says they increased volunteers around cinemas when films start playing, when crowds are larger in number and harassment cases likewise increase.

Security forces on the ground were cooperative and assisted the group with its campaign.

The group complained, however, that the cinemas’ security and employees were generally uncooperative and in many times made the campaign’s work difficult.

Sexual harassment has been a growing problem in Egypt. More than 99 percent of hundreds of women surveyed in seven of the country's 27 governorates reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment, ranging from minor harassment to rape, says the UN, Egypt's Demographic Centre and the National Planning Institute in a report in April.

Last January, during demonstrations on the second anniversary of the 2011 uprising, at least 19 women were sexually assaulted by groups of men in Tahrir Square. Seven required intensive immediate medical attention.

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