Press Release about Launching "Not by Touching" Campaign
The undersigned organizations express their full solidarity and support to the Egyptian citizen, Menna Gibran, for the attack she is being subjected to as a result of her adherence to her right to a safe public space and the pursuit of her legitimate human rights in maintaining safe spaces.
The organizations confirm that Menna Gibran was subjected to sexual harassment, as documented through her personal phone camera. The event dates 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. She filmed the two incidents she was exposed to.
The first was when a private car in which two people were traveling 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 invited her to have coffee with him in a nearby café, which she strongly rejected.
According to the international definition of sexual harassment and its patterns, Menna Gibran was subjected to sexual harassment in both cases, and the same is recognized by the amendments of Article 58 of 1937 of the Egyptian Penal Code, and 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. According to the report “Study of Methods and Methods for Combating Sexual Harassment in Egypt”, issued by the United Nations Women in April 2013, the percentage of women and girls who had been harassed is 99.3%. The “Survey of Young People” of 2014 confirmed that half of the women in Egypt were subjected to repeated sexual harassment in the age group of 13 to 17 years.
Despite the struggles of women and girls for more than two decades, the societal dialogue about this incident was shocking and disappointing. Society continues to perpetuate stereotypes about women’s clothing and link them to sexual harassment, and male rhetoric hostile to women’s rights and freedoms persists.
More than four years after the adoption of a law for sexual harassment in Egypt, the law has not yet 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 and 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 by discussing new strategies for action in order to reduce the incidences of sexual harassment and open new horizons to support survivors.
- We invite all women and girls to confront the perpetrators of sexual harassment by all peaceful means, especially through legal prosecution of anyone who commits sexual harassment, whether verbally, in deed, or in any form and pattern of sexual harassment.
- We call on the Egyptian authorities to reconsider the procedures for filing sexual harassment cases and use modern techniques and methods that are actually available from the Ministry of Interior and other related parties.
- 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’s Legal Assistance
- Love Matters Initiative
- Salemah for Women’s Empowerment
- Cairo Foundation for Development and Law
- Coalition of NGOs against Female Genital Mutilation