Tag Archives: women rights

Endless Sexual Harassment in Cairo

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It is not a secret that the level of sexual harassment in Egypt has skyrocketed after the revolution. Some people still pretend that it does not happen and claim that it is a normal practice that happens everywhere in the world. Well this faulty argument still does not make it OK.

Today I got harassed by a bunch of school girls on the streets of Cairo. It is incredibly frustrating and sad that women harass other women, hence tolerate this kind of behavior in their own country. The girls were passing by when I was sitting in the car with an open window. They saw me and started cat-calling. One of them even touched me. I simply looked different, that’s why they felt entitled to harass me.

The society does not see anything wrong with this kind of behavior. A lot of men believe that women enjoy cat-calling and groping. They consider it a nice gesture. I once was on the plain with two Egyptian guys who truly believed that women secretly enjoy being harassed.

In spite of all this madness a lot of people try tackling the issue. A lot of women get harassed on the famous Tahrir Square. As the government does not do anything about it, different activists decided to take a stand. Some volunteers organized self-defense trainings for women.

Tahrir  Bodyguard

“Women have the right to protest in the square and we are here to protect them and help them protect themselves,” representatives of Tahrir Bodyguard say.

The group’s latest initiative involves helping women to protect themselves, not only on Tahrir Square, but all over Cairo. Through Tahrir Bodyguard’s volunteers, a group of self-defense instructors and the Samia Allouba Gym and Fitness Center, women all over Cairo will have the opportunity to learn self-defense moves and techniques.

These kinds of initiatives encourage women to fight back and end the impunity of this male-dominated society. Who knows, maybe things will change soon.

Source: Egypt Independent 

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Egypt: veils and gays; nudity and women rights

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Veils around me still seem frustrating. I believe that women here don’t really have a choice and oftentimes they chose to wear a veil because it is easier and more acceptable in the society. There is a common belief that veils prevent you from being harassed on the streets- wrong assumption, even women wearing all black and covering their faced get sexually harassed here. Yet, they say it is their choice. Well let it be so.

I never really understood the whole double standard thing in most of world religions: there are more restrictions imposed on women rather than on men regarding the behavioral code, dressing standards and many other things. According to the Russian orthodoxy women are not allowed to go to a church without a headscarf or anything covering their hair. In Islam women are supposed to wear veils and cover their bodies. To be honest men are also obliged to cover themselves, but they are not supposed to wear veils. It is not nice to show your knees, that’s why shorts are not very popular here.

However, the perception is shifting, and some people (women to be precise) also do not support the idea of women wearing veils. One of the most recent online campaigns is aimed at challenging men, practically asking them: how does it feel to wear a veil? Some activists made men pose in veils and uploaded their pictures online. I personally don’t really get the message. Why should someone make men wear a veil for 5 mins just to take a picture and then take it off? I suppose the larger effect can be achieved if men [imagine!] wore it for one day and went [let’s say] to work like this! Now THAT would be a scandal!

a veiled man

Well the scandal is coming up this January. An LGBT group of Egypt [yes, there is one] is wishing to march on Tahrir on Jan 01. Apparently they have chosen this particular day since less people would be present on the square. Some of them will massive hangover after the New Year’s Eve Celebration. However, the chances of LGBTs being beaten up are pretty strong, and it is sad. LGBTs were never openly present in the society. Homosexuality is rather considered some sort of a weird disease or a sickness. Therefore a lot of people have to suppress their nature. Well LGBT community was a apart of the revolution and now they want to be present in the society – which is not surprising.

The National Egyptian Gays Day

However, it seems to me that sexual revolution in this country is inevitable. Another Muslim girl provoked online public by posing nude and uploading her nude pictures on her personal blog. Well it would not be a surprise in some other societies, but not here. Here it was a clear protest against the machism. At the same time the girl did not do anything new. And relativist judgments, such as” it is “unacceptable” and is “inappropriate” in certain societies is a total biggest crap. We all are human beings, we live in the same word. These things are universal. And there is nothing wrong in nudity.

Like one of my friends would say: “in my humble opinion “I see the biggest problem in mothers who raised lazy ass boys, who have no idea how to cook, clean the house, do their own laundry, be on their own and respect women’s freedom and independence. Mothers pass their precious sons to wives, who are supposed to do the same: clean, cook, do the laundry, plus: provide sex services and go to work, earn some money in the meantime. It is a sick vicious circle. And besides, a woman should be noble here. Unless women realize these things themselves – nothing will be changed. Us women should believe in ourselves more and not let masculinity dominate over us.