Egyptian Harassers Shamed on Facebook

According to www.albawaba.com, a Facebook page was created 5 days ago to expose sexual harassers in Egypt and has attracted more than 9,000 followers so far. The Arabic-language page called “Embarrass a Harasser, The Public Record of Harassers,” calls on women to post photos or videos of men caught in the act.

The idea for the page started when “the administrator and creator of the page was bothered by an elderly driver while she was stuck in traffic. The driver verbally harassed her for some time and she decided to expose him by taking his picture and uploading his photo on Facebook… The man’s photo went viral and reached around half a million viewers.” The man then contacted her threatening to file a slander case against her if she did not remove his photo which is why the site encourages video recording of harassers, as opposed to photos, so there is better proof of their behavior and the women will be better protected legally.

One photo, uploaded on March 15, shows a man on a female only subway carriage “annoying women with his stares”, according to the caption. In another photo posted a man is shown innapropriately grabbing a veiled woman with a caption refuting the misconception that a women’s clothing has anything to do her being harassed or not.

Exposing these men not only exposes the fight against harassment in egypt, but “may make women feel better seeing their harassers named and shamed on the internet.” “One girl told me she feels safer going out on streets after I started the page,” said M, the page’s creator, who asked to remain anonymous. It is diffiult for Egyptian women to prove harassment because Egyptian law states that any harassment report must be accompanied by at least two witnesses.

“The presence of Security Forces must be reinforced especially during rush hours and in crowded places; effective surveillance systems should exist to keep an eye on harassers and the amendment of the law is essential to guarantee suitable deterrent and punishment for those who pester women,” M said.

Back in 2010, a website called “Harassmap” was set up to chart country wide incidents “from catcalls to ogling, stalking and rape.” Then, in August 2012, the “anti-harassment movement” Facebook page was set up aiming to have sexual harassment made a criminal offense and now has more than 32,000 followers. The government backed National Council for Women began drafting a law after at least 29 women were assaulted by a mob on January 25th. This Facebook page is yet another effort to raise awareness of what women are subjected to daily and unites women in the fight against harassment.

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