With the Eid upon us, we must face the unfortunate reality of disproportionately high rates of high sexual harassment that will surely take place in the streets of Cairo. While we are all celebrating Eid, let us not forget that this will surely happen, as it has been happening every other Eid for the past couple of years.
Indeed, let’s remember that the harassment will not merely be verbal, it will also be physical. How do I know? Well, it is not really hard to predict that it will happen this Eid, given that it has been happening every other Eid.
Consider, for example, the fact that an increased number of police officers are stationed in areas like Corniche El Nile, just for the purposes of monitoring the ongoing Egyptian activity that is sexual harassment.
This activity – especially during Eid – is not merely limited to verbal harassment it also takes forms like physical harassment. A woman or young girl could be passing by peacefully, only to have a group of men touching them as they walk. Sexual harassment is for some reason an especially disturbing problem during Eid.
Some may argue that this is because young Egyptian men are usually intaking insane amounts of drugs and alcohol during Eid. This is not an excuse. Even if drugs and alcohol make someone more likely to behave recklessly in general, we still strongly punish drunk drivers. We do not just say “oh he was drunk when he decided to drive so it is okay.” May I just add here that regardless of Eid – or its infamous slew of drugs and alcohol – sexual harassment is Egyptian streets’ biggest problem.
The second crazy argument is that these men harass because these women are asking for it. These people do not merely point to the fact that women’s clothes are provocative, rather they also point to the fact that these women are aware that they will get harassed because its Eid, so why do said women leave their houses in the first place?
Yes, I kid you not that is a genuine argument being made in the 21st century, and here is my response to it. Firstly, if harassment ought to stop Egyptian women – or rather could have the power to stop Egyptian women – from hitting the streets than Egyptian women should have considered doing that long ago, disregarding the circumstance of Eid.
Just so we are clear that is a large portion of the country’s labor force, and approximately 50% of a society being asked to simply stay home. You tell me which country’s economy would survive this, and which historical record would forgive Egyptians if they did so. Safely walking in the street is a basic human right, not an advantage of one’s gender.
Comparatively, which other crime’s solution revolves around the victim being locked away?
WE SAID THIS: Good luck to all the Egyptian women hitting the streets of Cairo today, and during any other national celebration.