Sexual Harassment in Egypt: Social Taboo or Legitimate illegal act?

How far does one go to make a difference of making a social taboo to talk about into an open conversation? This was one of several questions that went through my mind while reading different articles about the rise of sexual harassment towards women in Egypt. From looking through a set of graphics about the subject matter it was a larger deal then what I presumed. At first I thought these cases of sexual harassment these women are dealing with from cat calls from strangers to men openly asking to have sex with them. But as I read more of these articles, it was more than just that. Some cases was mentioned some of these women were actually groped and other inappropriate physical contact that is only a few steps away for situations like this escalating to a full on rape attempt. That was shocking at first, but the first two articles discussed an app that could help inform, promote and communicate with others. The app that was mentioned called Harrassmap, from the reading it mentions one of the primary functions was to list helpful tips and resources for these women who have been sexual harassed. Furthermore it’s trying to established “safe zones”, general safe havens that help deter that kind of behavior and if needed stop the altercation altogether. The other article that talked about this program in more detail talked about the long term benefits, from on an individual level to a national scale. I liked when it listed some of the secondary features of the program. It uses data collecting to inform and displayed listed or potential offenders in a specific area. This program really reminds of an American website called Megan’s Law, which uses data collecting to display and inform the general public of registered sex offenders living near any said area.

So overall I found these articles made me feel more hopeful about all these issues happening in the Middle East in general from past readings. For once I think that this one digital campaign idea/concept is gaining progress and actually making a dramatic difference in people’s lives.

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Sexual Harassment in Egypt: Social Taboo or Legitimate illegal act?

2 thoughts on “Sexual Harassment in Egypt: Social Taboo or Legitimate illegal act?

  1. janakornely says:

    Thank you for mentioning Megan’s Law, a tool I haven’t heard of before, although I assumed that websites like that would exist. I believe, however, that such websites have to be regarded more carefully than HarassMap as they center on the individual attackers and can easily be used for acts of lynching and vigilantism. Of course it is never okay to harass or assault someone, but some of the offenders might have committed a single crime and learned that their actions were wrong. They might have been in prison and undergone rehabilitation programs and would be able to live a life with no further missteps and offenses, but reintegration might be made difficult if everybody in their neighborhood sees them as the criminal who will never change.
    I’d say that the purpose of HarassMap is to create awareness and support whereas Megan’s Law might be more likely to spark fear, mistrust and hatred among society.

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  2. I think using Megan’s Law as an example of a tool to help people was a great comparison. I have used the site many times and I actually feel safe being able to have access to this type of information. Harass map is just as helpful providing information and allowing for anyone to access it. As you mentioned, I was also shocked to learn about how often sexual harassment happens and the way the society views the issue. Harass map is an important movement and I hope it will continue to expand and empower people.

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