A Press Release about Launching "Not by Touching" Campaign
The undersigned organizations express their full solidarity and support for the Egyptian citizen, Menna Gibran, due to the attack she is being subjected to as a result of her adherence to her right to a safe public space and her pursuit of her legitimate human rights in maintaining safe spaces.
The organizations confirm that what Menna Gibran was subjected to and documented through her personal phone camera is sexual harassment, and its events date back to last week when she was waiting for a bus to take her to her workplace in a street in the New Cairo area, and then filmed two incidents that she was exposed to.
The first was when a private car in which two people were travelling stopped in front of her, and one of them verbally harassed her, then got out of the car and headed towards her to continue the verbal harassment. As for the second incident, a person appeared to come forward to invite her to have coffee with him in a nearby café, which she strongly rejected.
According to the international definitions related to the definition of sexual harassment and its patterns, Menna Gibran was subjected to sexual harassment in both cases, and the same description recognizes the amendments to Article 58 of 1937 of the Egyptian Penal Code, in which it is stated in Article 306 bis (a): punishable by imprisonment for a period of no less than six months and a fine of not less than three thousand pounds and not more than five thousand pounds, or either of these two penalties, whoever exposes others in a public, private or public place by making sexual or pornographic things, insinuations or innuendos, whether by gesture, word or deed by any means, including means wired or wireless communications.
Despite the cumulative efforts made by both governmental and non-governmental organizations since 2005 to combat sexual violence crimes, Egypt is still on the list of countries with the highest rates of sexual harassment, based on what was stated in the report “Study of Methods and Methods for Combating Sexual Harassment in Egypt” issued According to the United Nations Women, in April of 2013, the percentage of women and girls who had been harassed reached 99.3%. Then came the “Survey of Young People” for the year 2014, confirming that half of the women in Egypt were subjected to repeated sexual harassment in the age group (13-17).
Despite the struggles of women and girls over two decades, the societal dialogue about this incident was shocking and disappointing, and society continues to perpetuate stereotypes about women’s clothing and link them to sexual harassment, as well as the persistence of male rhetoric hostile to women’s rights and freedoms.
More than four years after the adoption of the Law on sexual harassment in Egypt, the Law has not been able to tighten its control over the incidents of harassment, which prompts women and girls to adopt other defensive methods to confront the law’s impotence, including the use of modern technology methods, advocacy campaigns, mobilization, advocacy and lobbying with the aim of achieving enforcement, or access to their rights.
Accordingly, the signatory organizations and institutions demand the following:
- The necessity of holding a community dialogue between women’s organizations and national mechanisms concerned with combating sexual violence to discuss new strategies for action that would reduce the incidence of sexual harassment and open new horizons to support and support survivors.
- We invite all women and girls to confront the perpetrators of sexual harassment by all peaceful means, specially through legal prosecution of anyone who commits sexual harassment, whether verbally, deed, or any form and pattern of sexual harassment.
- We call on the Egyptian authorities to reconsider the procedures for filing sexual harassment incidents cases and to use modern techniques and methods that are actually available at the Ministry of Interior and other parties concerned with the same case.
Tadwein for Gender Studies
The Egyptian Women Lawyers Initiative
Wa Laha Wogouh Okhra Platform
Hrdo Center for Supporting Digital Expression
The New Woman Foundation
Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness
Center for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance
Love Matters Initiative.
Salemah for Women’s Empowerment
Cairo Foundation for Development and Law.
Coalition of NGOs against Female Genital Mutilation.