The Epidemic We Call Sexual Harassment
It happened again, and it will keep happening. It happens every day to almost every lady. It keeps getting worse, it keeps spreading. Sexual harassment has changed in the past 20 years from an individual act to a social phenomenon to a social epidemic.
There is no one reason why sexual harassment is very widespread in Egypt, but no one can claim it's merely sexual. It's not just sexual because it's practiced by people of all ages from young children to old men, married and unmarried, rich and poor, those who have a normal sexual life and those who don't. It's more of a violent act from those who think themselves strong to those whom they feel are weaker.
A few days ago, ex-president Adly Mansour issued a pack of laws that punishes sexual harassers. The laws that were one of the strongest in the country's history punishes those who plead guilty with a fine or imprisonment between 1000 to 50,000 pounds and 6 months to 5 years in prison. Back then I could not help wondering if the application of this law will improve the disastrous situation we're living, if it's applied that is. Now yesterday in Tahrir Square a catastrophe has taken place during the celebrations of President Abd El Fattah El Sisi's inauguration. It wasn't just sexual harassment, or even sexual assault, it could not be called anything but mass rape! What will the law do to this lady? Give her vengeance? Maybe it will, but it will never make her forget this awful experience, she will never be the person she was before.
I'm not trying to say the new laws are useless, in fact I'm glad there are finally some good laws and I'm also glad that people were arrested and will supposedly be punished, if they are the ones who assaulted the woman that is. My question is: is this enough? I understand that if these laws were really applied they would probably deter some from doing these acts, but the intensity of sexual harassment make me think that it's a social psychological problem that needs more than just laws to fix. In fact, I feel that the whole society needs to be treated to solve this problem, that what we need is a "social rehabilitation". Bottom line is that sexual harassment is one of Egypt's worst problems, and it keeps worsening and if we don't all do much about it, it will never come close to ending.