File Photo: High school students going to their classes (Mai Shaheen)
Egyptian NGO the New Woman Foundation condemned on Monday an alleged sexual assault of a female teacher in Daqahliya governorate by high school students, and called for measures to protect female teachers.
The 23-year-old teacher spoke about her experience via a phone call to 90 Minutes, broadcast on private channel Mehwar TV, without giving her name.
She said she was supervising the mid-year exams of school pupils in their second year of high school on Sunday, along with another female colleague, when chaos erupted in the exam room, with students attempting to wreak havoc and take selfies.
The teacher started withdrawing the exam papers when some of the boys sexually harassed her, while others were videotaping the incident using their mobile phones.
“They started harassing me, and touching my body; I started to scream but no one came to help, my [female] colleague ran outside the room and started to scream too,” she stated.
The teacher said one of the boys began hitting her when she scratched him with her nails.
A male colleague finally rescued the teacher, who filed a police report against the students.
She said she could only identify the faces of three of her attackers, including the one who was photographing her and the one who hit her, as she did not teach that group of pupils regularly.
The deputy education minister assigned to the governorate transferred her to another school in the same village, Talkha High School for Girls, after the incident. The police investigations are still ongoing.
A medical examination was performed on the teacher, and showed heavy bruises from being hit.
The New Woman Foundation stated that this is not the first time that a female teacher has been sexually harassed or beaten up by a mob of students inside a classroom.
Sexual harassment was criminalised in 2014. The new law imposes jail terms of six months, and/or fines of LE3,000 to LE5,000 ($380 to $630) on those who are found guilty.
Outside the classroom, more than 99 percent of women surveyed across seven of the country's 27 governorates reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and assault, ranging from minor harassment to rape, according to an April 2013 report by the United Nations along with Egypt's Demographic Centre and the National Planning Institute.