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Inside the Middle East
November 1, 2010
Posted: 1311 GMT
Leaflets from a campaign to end sexual harassment being run by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights.
Leaflets from a campaign to end sexual harassment being run by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights.

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) – Young, old, foreign, Egyptian, poor, middleclass, or wealthy, it doesn't matter.  Dressed in hijab, niqab, or western wear, it doesn't matter. 

If you are a woman living in Cairo, chances are you have been sexually harassed.  It happens on the streets, on crowded buses, in the workplace, in schools, and even in a doctor's office. 

According to a 2008 survey of 1,010 women conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women's rights, 98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed.

I know, it has happened to me.  Last week, I was walking home from dinner when a carload of young men raced by me and screamed out "Sharmouta" (whore in Arabic.)

Before I could respond, they were gone, but I noticed policemen nearby bursting with laughter.  I am old enough to be those boys' mother, I thought.

This incident was minor compared to what happened in 1994, shortly after I moved here.  It was winter, and I was walking home from the office, dressed in a big, baggy sweater, and jacket.  A  man walked up to me, reached out, and casually grabbed my breast.

In a flash, I understood what the expression to "see red" meant.  I grabbed him by the collar and punched him hard in the face. I held on to him, and let out a stream of expletives. His face grew pale, and he started to shake. "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry," he whispered.

But the satisfaction of striking back quickly dissipated.  By the time I walked away, I was feeling dirty and humiliated.  After a couple of years enduring this kind harassment, I pretty much stopped walking to and from work.

Of course, harassment  comes in many forms.  It can be nasty words, groping, being followed or stalked, lewd, lascivious looks, and indecent exposure.

At times it can be dangerous.  This is what a friend told me happened to her:  "I remember I was walking on the street, when a car came hurtling towards me.  Aiming for me!  At the last minute he swerved, then stopped, and finally laughed at me.  I learned later that  it was a form of flirting."

Why is sexual harassment in Egypt so rampant?  There could be any number of reasons, but many point to disregard for human rights. 

"Egypt is more interested in political security, than public security," said Nehad Abu el Komsan, the Director for the Center for Women's Rights.  She says that often means officials focus more on preventing political unrest than addressing social ills.

Some also blame the spread of more conservative interpretations of Islam from the Gulf over the past 30 years.  They say such interpretations demand more restrictive roles for women and condemn women who step outside of those prescribed roles.

"Four million Egyptians went to the Gulf," el Komsan says.  "They returned with oil money, and oil culture, which is not very open, related to the status of women.  All of this changed the original culture of the Egyptian," she adds, "which included high respect for women.”

"The concept of respect for some reason doesn't exist anymore," says Sara, a young Egyptian activist. "I think Egypt has lived a very long time in denial. Something happened in Egyptian society in the last 30 or 40 years.  It feels like the whole social diagram has collapsed."

What is being done to raise awareness and combat Sexual harassment? Currently Egypt has no law that specifically deals with the problem, but that could change. The government is drafting legislation that would give a clear definition for sexual harassment.

In the past, women who have been sexually harassed here have been too afraid or ashamed to speak up.  That too is changing slowly.  In 2008, in a landmark court case, a man was sentenced to three years of hard labor for grabbing the breast of Noha Rushdi Saleh, a brave woman determined to seek justice.

The trial was covered extensively in the Egyptian press, and brought the problem of sexual harassment out in the open.

The latest campaign to combat sexual harassment is a joint Egyptian and American website called Harassmap, due to go online in December.

Rebecca Chiao, co-founder of Harassmap explains how it will work: " We can receive reports by SMS, by Twitter, by e-mail, or by phone. When an incident happens, they will send us their location.  The computer will receive this, and we will look at the reports coming in and map them on a Google map of Egypt.  It will show the hotspots.  When the hotspots emerge, we have planned community outreach that will occur around these hotspots.”

Downtown Cairo is one of these hotspots.  In 2008, during the Eid holiday, which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, gangs of young men went on a rampage, groping women and, in some cases, ripping off womens' shirts.

This incident also got a lot of attention in the media here.  Police arrested dozens of men.  With the renewed efforts to raise awareness about the issue, and the government's move toward putting a new law in place, there is hope that women will be able to feel safer on the streets.

But the only real protection women can have is when the attitudes of men change.

Watch Ben Wedeman's report on the subject

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Filed under: Egypt •Women


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Lee   November 1st, 2010 1:58 pm ET

My girlfriend and I holidayed in Sharm El Sheikh this year and we had similar experiences. My girlfriend felt incredibly uncomfortable even in a holiday destination, and even more so in Cairo, with the random outbursts of expletives from the locals toward her and other women in the group.

It's painfully obvious the men have zero respect for women over there, and are generally not very nice people. We definitely won't be going back.

YB   November 1st, 2010 1:58 pm ET

I really think there must be an end to this disgusting violence thats going on. Egypt once had laws and respect and religion but as time goes on sadly the laws and respect to one another has decreased majorly in Egypt. I am a 17 year old Egyptian boy living in Cairo and i have many friends my age who address woman in the most horrific manner and at such a young age. Someone must stop this and tell the present and coming generations that isn't the way of life and we will face the consequences for it

H   November 1st, 2010 2:00 pm ET

it totally NON-TRUE,

98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed.
ARE YOU kiddin me, ask 2 Million tourists come all the time if they had harassment or not,

the way its written make me feel angry because its full of lies

Weiser   November 1st, 2010 2:00 pm ET

ok this type of people u will find everywhere its not they r only in egypt
so this conversation is meaningless

karim   November 1st, 2010 2:09 pm ET

I think these numbers are not true
I live in Cairo .. and yes there might be some cases .. but they are not everywhere as mentioned

karam   November 1st, 2010 2:10 pm ET

you overestimating ! these surveys of the so-called "human rights" centers are deceiving.they gain money from such surveys because the west loves to hear such news about Islamic countries. here you may find what we are calling "mua'ksa". it's something oral more than anything else .it is often being done without any offensive words. It's a kind of courtship!

H   November 1st, 2010 2:11 pm ET

@Lee ::::men have zero respect for women:::::: how did u knu that, from very few days,,,,,how many Egyptians u knu

American   November 1st, 2010 2:12 pm ET

Every 2 and half minutes a woman is raped in America...

YP   November 1st, 2010 2:14 pm ET

hey H, i bet you're a man?
I spent a few weeks in Egypt this summer and this article is completely true. i dressed very conservatively and was with guy friends and was CONSTANTLY harassed. men would cross the street to try to talk to me, would yell out their car windows, etc. something happened probably about once an hour, every day. eventually i had to start wearing a head scarf and sunglasses in Cairo because it got so bad. I loved the city but the way i felt there made me never want to leave the safety of my hotel room :-(. I hope it changes soon.

Lee   November 1st, 2010 2:14 pm ET

I wouldn't say the conversation is meaningless. I've never seen this sort of behaviour anywhere else I've been, and certainly not in the UK where I live.

It's symptomatic of most religions (especially Islam) where women are systemically de-valued. At least in more developed societies the countries laws and general attitude overrides this. Clearly not the case in Egypt.

mariana   November 1st, 2010 2:16 pm ET

Good job! I am a tourist and I felt extremely uncomfortable in tourist hotspots. There's a lot of sexual harassment going on, be it subtle or obvious. Not all Egyptians are like this, but when even a minority acts this way, it tarnishes the reputation of the country. I enjoyed my stay, but I felt that I had to stick to my dad and brother all the time to feel safe from harassment.

Bulgarian Girl   November 1st, 2010 2:17 pm ET

It's the exact same in my home country – Bulgaria.
Each of the stories above happened to me or friends of mine. Constantly. Every year.

H   November 1st, 2010 2:21 pm ET

the analysis is totally wrong and from only one side; from an angry woman who faced it before,
1- Gulf Culture, totally wrong analysis
it has negative effects but not like that one,

how you say No-law, and in the same story u say one man been jailed for 3yrs, because of grabbing breasts,
and u saying a story from 2 years, at 2008, that accident happen after a famous dancer dance in the main street, with almost no clothes, the young boys with no control start the harassment,

i agree only on one point, that the Political security is more important than the social security.

the rest is totally Contradiction

Gdsgirl   November 1st, 2010 2:23 pm ET

It's beyond interesting, it's motivating to think that these women are finding support with each other and working to change the status of women in Egypt!

KinNYC   November 1st, 2010 2:24 pm ET

I was in Cairo as a tourist and I was blown away by the disrespect the locals had for their own country let alone women. Dead or dying animals in the street. So much garbage in the canals you can walk across it. I saw a young boy punch his donkey because the reins fell to the ground. I'm glad I saw the pyramids then because I would never step foot in that country again.

Wambattu   November 1st, 2010 2:27 pm ET

This is the culture and society created by this so called authoritarian regime. Mubarak has made Egypt one of the worst country in the world.

Dan   November 1st, 2010 2:28 pm ET

It could be argued that THIS behaviour is the REAL reason for the full-body covering of women in Islamic countries. Nothing to do with 'Honour', 'Modesty' etc. on a woman's part – just to save her from these kinds of problems.

Justina   November 1st, 2010 2:42 pm ET

Coptic Christians who consist 10% of the population are harrased all the time as well. This country needs major operation.

EnnBee   November 1st, 2010 2:50 pm ET

Well I can't say that tourism wasn't the first thing that came up to my mind after immediately finishing reading the article. But let us please look at the bigger picture and consider the facts.

Sexual Harassment does NOT ONLY happen in Egypt. Yes, I am an Egyptian citizen and have been living in Cairo for 20 years now. I have witnessed AND experienced sexual harassment myself. But I think what remains a problem among Egyptian women in our society is the definition of "Sexual Harassment".
Like Ms. Al-Komsan mentioned in her article, the terminology itself is hard to be determined. I believe this is true as many of my girl friends would turn up to me to complain about some random guy in the street who was just "flirting" with them the other day, for instance. I think the distinction between sexual harassment and flirting should be made clear. I appreciate Ms. Al-Komsan for raising that point as many women aren't able to distinguish between the two.

"The government is drafting legislation that would give a clear definition for sexual harassment."
Yes, I do understand the Egyptian Government's "real, fruitful efforts" in helping "drafting a legislation" to make the issue a legal case, but I think thats what the Egyptian Government has been really doing for the past 30 years: "Drafting legislation", and "considering" prominent issues such as this that affects the society at large.

Again, political stability, like Ms. Al-Komsan stated, is a priority especially nowadays with the coming parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt 2010-2011. It has been a mess!
And oh please, if the government is now trying to shut media outlets from being aired on TV to prevent any possible "hatred speeches", sedition and incitement to rebellion prior to the upcoming elections, wouldn't it just do the same with the Egyptian women and suppress their opinions, and just ignore the rest of its humiliated society? yes yes, the cases in the article could be true, but how many have really spoken up? and how many times did the government really ever encourage its people to speak up and voice their concerns publicly?

And lets not forget, cultures are different from one to another. I remember being asked out on dates every day of last summer when I decided to study abroad in The United States. I would have reported tens of cases of sexual harassment, but I didn't. The culture is just different from that of Egypt's and so are the people. Any Egyptian woman who would have went there would have definitely felt the same way.

But going back to my point: I really have hope in my country. Yes, my country's society worries me. Sexual harassment bothers me all the time whenever I go out, poverty is everywhere but I try to donate money every now and then. And as far as I am concerned, tourism in Egypt has been ever so flourishing year after year. SO NO. Tourism doesn't concern me. Sexual Harassment DOES.
" Look at the BIGGER picture"

Egyptian Woman   November 1st, 2010 2:53 pm ET

This is so true. I am an Egyptian Woman living this on a daily basis. To all the men who claim this isnt true, please go in street with your mother or sister. Walk 2meters behind her and just observe what is going on. We must put an end to this.

abby   November 1st, 2010 3:03 pm ET

Many thanks for writing this story. Cairo is a very interesting city, but the sexual harassment I faced every day on the street was souring and humiliating. It is unfortunate in the extreme, for both Egypt and its visitors. I know that not all people in Cairo are as awful as the people who harassed me, but I still left the country thinking, "I like Egypt, but I'd like it better without the Egyptians." Cairo, for all its beauty, is a shameful face to represent Egypt.

soha   November 1st, 2010 3:08 pm ET

for people who thought those statistics are not real !! I'd like to tell them that even words are regarded sexual haressement ,so 98% and 83% are even a low percentage ! I would say 100% of both foreign and native women are continually exposed to all this !

ashraf habashy   November 1st, 2010 3:16 pm ET

it is a complex discharge , they have to solve it first in there manners and ethics to curbe it down .

SD   November 1st, 2010 3:19 pm ET

For those saying these numbers are not true and this doesn't happen, you are just as bad as Suzanne Mubarak who says this is not a problem in Egypt.

I am an Egyptian American living here and there is not ONE day that goes by that I don't get harrassed by men here, whether it is in the form of taxi drivers trying to touch me while I'm in the back seat, cars swerving at me to "flirt" and coming just a few inches from hitting or the many, many comments I recieve while walking down the streets. I've even had police officers say things and try to touch me.

I dress modestly and frequent a lot of different areas, such as Nasr City, Dokki, Faisal, Downtown, Garden City, and Heliopolis. It doesn't matter.

I will say that it is scary that these men and even boys as young as 12 think it is ok to touch and grab random women, say indecent things as well as make women feel low and scared to walk around. This is not what men should be doing. They should be watching out for women because just as easily as they do it to random women on the streets, other men are doing the same to their mothers, sisters, cousins, wives, etc.

Lastly, just because people deny how HUGE this problem is does not mean it doesn't happen. It is something that needs to be fixed ASAP and enforced by the government.

M R.   November 1st, 2010 3:23 pm ET

American:"Every 2 1/2 minutes a woman is raped in America" ????

And what does this imply, if it happens in America it must be OK?

The vast majority of men are fearful of women and that is why they treat them with such disrespect.

Fear is the reason 50% of the muslim population is oppressed. Muslim men cannot tolerate seeing a powerful woman and so she must be concealed in hijab , not for her safety but for the safeguard of men, their uncontrolable sexual appetite and their twisted honor.

It really disgusts me and liberated, educated men and women everywhere must speak up and end this outrage.

Moataz   November 1st, 2010 3:28 pm ET

I am an Egyptian and I am saying THIS IS NOT TRUE! I KNOW BETTER THAN YOU DO

mohsalah   November 1st, 2010 3:31 pm ET

These numbers are definitely TRUE... Could be more even....

DC   November 1st, 2010 3:31 pm ET

Stayed in Sharm-El-S. Can tell you it was a first and the last time I visited this dirty place. They treat visitors horribly especially when you have a pretty lady with you. (Interesting, if you a guy and by yourself you have any problems)Rude comments, rude people, HORRIBLE. They don't care that they say, because they are on their own turf. I want to see how this stuff passes in Europe or US. All this is sad because this country poses probably one of the greatest historical heritages. Please learn from your neighbors like Tunis, for example.

Abdullah   November 1st, 2010 3:32 pm ET

this article is politicaly motivated ....
i doubt the intention ...
the western culture and pornography are one the main reasons why the men are too horny while they cant afford to get married
they have no money ... and they see pornography
they wanna empty their energy
and ofcourse egyptians are not like americans
who sleep with each other since 12 years old
i blame the western culture and the industory of pornography
and the economic status of youth
Have a nice day ... Victory for Islam

vinny   November 1st, 2010 3:33 pm ET

the day they stop making women wear that ridiculous black thing around the face.

Egyptian guy   November 1st, 2010 3:34 pm ET

according to the independant "It is possible to extrapolate from the recorded rape and sexual assault figures to provide an incidence figure of between 118,000 and 295,000 for England and Wales," said the report. In the United states every two minutes a girl or a boy get rapped . So whoever this rebecca is please find a solution for people getting rapped in your own country instead of displaying a country like egypt as the ' the world number one harrassment country'. Trying to be famous through posting a site that will never be used is not very smart. This site has to be in coordination with the police station and we still lack such a technology.

Nigel Kenny   November 1st, 2010 3:36 pm ET

I would love to visit Egypt but have avoided it for years because of the way women are treated there. These scum should be beat within an inch of their lives.

sam   November 1st, 2010 3:41 pm ET

As long as men exist, women will be tortured–and we all know this. Women are the biggest abused majority. The weird thing is that they put up with it.

H   November 1st, 2010 3:41 pm ET

my sister go to university, and go outside all the time, for 10 yrs, as a grown up, and she never complain about what u r saying,
may be some bothering from a driver, or another women in traffic jam at Metro, but never like stated in the article,
although my sis is a very nervous woman,
im sure only ppl faced tough times they have commented to out their rage, i can understand that, BUT u cant judge from two days

dumbeldore3000   November 1st, 2010 3:42 pm ET

I vacationed in many muslim countries. Beautiful culture, architecture, great food, and friendly people (especially if you reside with natives - arab/persian culture is one of the most welcoming)... if you're a man.

But I just stopped. The annoyances have outweighed the positive aspects. These people treat women, locals and tourists, like possessions, making them uncomfortable. Even when they don't do anything, they stare at your female family members and friends as if they were Ferraris and Bugattis at a car show. I can deal with annoying carpet salesmen, it's kind of fun. But all these little annoyances and the negative sentiment that has risen against the west in recent years have all added up (to deciding to book that next trip to South East Asia).

Two thumbs up for punching that idiot in the face, Mary. If all women did that, these guys would think twice.

sam   November 1st, 2010 3:46 pm ET

Arab men are the worst abusers of women–this is a given, not a matter of opinion. Women should start carrying guns and using them. Let's turn the tables.

Maajid Nawaz   November 1st, 2010 3:46 pm ET

This is so sexist. Harrassmap should be ashamed of themselves.

What about the sexual harrassment of MEN that goes on on Cairo. As a MAN I was on holiday in Cairo in 2009, I was propositioned, groped, followed, stalked and subjected to lewd, lascivious looks and indecent exposure by MEN.

I hope Harrassmap changes their sexist stance and also includes men in their campaign.

dumbeldore3000   November 1st, 2010 3:46 pm ET

And by the way, "a carload of young men raced by me and screamed out "Sharmouta" (whore in Arabic.)" ... I've seen that happened in the US, except that took place in the middle of an Ivy League campus on a Saturday night, and the car was a Cadillac SUV full of waspy kids.

D   November 1st, 2010 3:55 pm ET

I lived in various different countries in my life and Egypt definitely takes the cake for sexual harassment. I lived there for 5 years and harassment is so rampant that I would see cases 2 maybe 3 times a day. I once caught a couple of men harassing at a girl from the door step of a mosque. Don't get me wrong, Egypt is a great place filed with great people but sexual harassment in Egypt is an ENORMOUS problem.

Lee   November 1st, 2010 3:55 pm ET

Can people please understand...no one here is saying harassment of women only happens in Egypt. Of course it happens everywhere. The problem is, however, infinitely more pronounced in Egypt from what I've seen, and infinitely more tolerated by the authorities.

And please don't play the culture card. Just because disrespect for women is widespread enough to be counted as a national pastime, it doesn't make it right.

Shirl   November 1st, 2010 3:57 pm ET

I have been living in Cairo for five years and the harassment from young males is rampant. Sometimes I think they don't even know they are doing it. They stare, make lewd comments, and generally make fools of themselves. I learned very quickly to ignore them. I believe the only way they will learn is in the home–their mothers and fathers must teach them from a young age to have manners, including treating women with respect. On a more serious note, I asked my students what happens to young women who are unmarried and become pregnant–the Egyptian males very calmly said, "they're killed by their family." What is happening to this society?

Alex   November 1st, 2010 3:58 pm ET

It is true! On my holiday trip to Hurghada last year I had to help one girl from Germany who was being stalked and sexually harrassed every day by the room service man (Egyptian). I then complained to the hotel manager immediately about this severe incident, the result was that they got rid of the room service guy immediately! I also heard many other horrible stories related to sexual harrassment from different people who had similar incidents during their holiday trip in Egypt.

THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED.

EnnBee   November 1st, 2010 3:58 pm ET

Guys,

please consider other countries as well.
One commented that this happens in Bulgaria, and some said it happens everywhere they go. Sexual harassment is a WORLDWIDE SHAME, and there's no running away from it. But since the article targets Egypt, please let us deal with Egypt alone, first.

For those of you who are denying the author's article and her featured stories, I strongly advise you to do MORE research and fetch more articles on the case. I also think FIELD STUDY is a good way to START.

To those of you who want to remain in their deniel bubble: please don't try to convince me that you don't think twice before sending out your wife/daughter/sister to walk out on the street ALONE.
Non of us, Egyptian women, can walk out alone on the street without tilting our heads to the back just to make sure no one is coming for us!
Ignoring what HAPPENS is one thing, but DENYING it, is another! This is not a problem where eye witnessing should only be included to prove a harassing man guilty or innocent. This is an issue AFFECTING A SOCIETY AT LARGE, and affecting countries worldwide, as well! Therefore, please please consider others' experiences, reflections and comments with special regards to those women who have experienced and eye witnessed sexual harassment before.

Thank you.

BG Girl   November 1st, 2010 3:59 pm ET

I agree with "Bulgarian Girl." This also happens to a lot of girls in Bulgaria, but I have never seen it happen to foreign women. It's that "Middle Eastern" mentality that a lot of men still have towards women there.

I am a Bulgarian woman but I am glad I live in the US now. Men are such gentlemen here!

MCS   November 1st, 2010 4:00 pm ET

That is not harassment. I am from Turkey and I know what the Egpytians are doing. The examples give in here are familiar to me because they also take place in Turkey. Shouting from an open window or screaming I love you! or some other word when encountered with a female is not harassment. At least these actions do no take place with the intent of harassing. It is more of a courtship really. And I am sorry to say, what was said here about western countries loving to hear about such news concerning Islamic culture is True.

TKHAN   November 1st, 2010 4:01 pm ET

It isn't only in Egypt that this is a problem. Most Egyptian men here in Qatar are the same. They are vile rude and have no respect for women...
They beat their girlfriends and treat women even the women they work with like slaves. It seems that something serious happened in the way fathers taught their sons how to treat ladies.... So SAD. :(

kleczerx   November 1st, 2010 4:06 pm ET

This holds true to most Islamic countries. My 24-year old niece went to Damascus, Syria, for a 6-week course in the Arabic language, this August 2010, only to return one week earlier because she was constantly harassed during her walk between the apartment and school location. They verbally taunted her by calling her a ‘Russian prostitute’, slapping her behind and grabbing her breast.

I personally spent over two decades working in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia and on occasions, while escorting my wife and daughter of 12, they were called 'whores' and but mostly 'prostitutes'. Some was so vial that my male ego took over attempting to retaliate.

But, the article’s comment that this type of male behaviour has most recently changed because of the new interpretations of their religion seems to coincide with my families decision in 2002 to no longer continue our contractual work in the middle-east and have since have returned to Toronto, Canada. Generally, the people in these countries have changed attitudes and aggression towards women, and foreigners, such that new generations will be hard-pressed to calm down and realize the coming internal repercussions on their society. But, they’ve been told in the past and years since has shown their unwillingness to help themselves.

Kikokoki   November 1st, 2010 4:12 pm ET

While i tend to agree with the article as a whole, i strongly disagree with your false statements towards Islam.
In the Islamic religion, women are most respected, very well treated and have all the rights men do have, it is forbidden in the islamic laws that a man grab a woman from her breast as you said, or even have an extended look towards her body in a way that will make her uncomfortable, this is totally against islamic teaching.
so simply before miss judging others and saying things you are not sure of, please make sure to ask and read carefully before you start judging others for things that is not related to their beliefs.
Other than that, yes you are right, but it is not the culture mainly that is the reason, it is the low educational level and the very poor standard of living for a big portion of the egyptian population that led to such unwanted and disgusting behavior.

EnnBee   November 1st, 2010 4:29 pm ET

MC S: That is EXACTLY what I referred to in my first comment. People still don't recognize the differences in meaning between sexual harassment, and what we refer to today as "flirting", or as you mentioned "courtship". However, I believe that flirting could be a trigger that could lead to more than just "flirting", in that case result in harassment. However, it is NOT the cause of harassment.

TKHAN: I have personally lived in Qatar for 18 years, and allow me to tell you that what you're addressing here is a COMPLETELY different problem. Your story addresses DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/SEXUAL ABUSE in marriages. And there's no denying that this doesn't happen in countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Recently, the UAE has actually announced a new policy stating that physical abuse is not to be reported unless there are physical marks on the child/person. As shocking as it is, but its true. However, your story there is completely irrelevant to our discussion. The author meant to tackle the issue of sexual harassment in the streets on Egypt, nothing more.

tenwang   November 1st, 2010 4:31 pm ET

here in India, it is the same.... and i don't see it improving.

Barbara_Oregon   November 1st, 2010 4:33 pm ET

"Lee"

Thanks for taking the time to speak up on our behalf.

I'm happy for your girlfriend that she has you on her side! May you have many more trips together in the years to come . . .

B   November 1st, 2010 4:37 pm ET

I applaud the efforts that these rights groups are taking. I also do not see this article as a commentary on Egypt (or the middle east) as a whole. I cannot say if the statistics are right or not, but the fact that there is no real explicative definition of sexual harassment on the books shows that perhaps the system does need a change. Every country deals with problems like these. I don't believe this article is trying to make westerners think badly of Egypt, but just this one problem which it seems should be addressed. You should read all the stuff debated about with sexual harassment in the US.

Lee   November 1st, 2010 4:39 pm ET

Kikokoki – this IS a religious problem. Islam is widely open to interpretation, and in this case it's been interpreted in a manner that ensures women are treated like garbage. Either all of these people are terrible Muslims, or they're exercising their religious beliefs as they see fit.

MCS – I'd love to be able to say that Islam is a good thing, but sadly I'm constantly given ammunition to the contrary. To be fair, all religions do the same thing not just Islam.

And...courtship?? it's not charming. It's disgusting.

z   November 1st, 2010 4:39 pm ET

When I lived in one of the best neighbourhoods in Alexandria, I was leered at or harassed every time I stepped outside of the house to go to the market or whatever. Men or young boys, as young as twelve or possibly even younger, would follow me and whisper obscenities. Men would holler at me out of cars. Once I walked out the front door at about 11 am and a man is his twenties had his penis out and was standing out under a palm tree and masturbating. These things were commonplace when I was alone or w another woman.

Of course, when I was w my husband, in day or night, men or boys did not even look at me out of respect for him.

LF   November 1st, 2010 4:40 pm ET

Women all over the world ought to stand up for their rights and not be taken for granted, run over, and abused.

chris   November 1st, 2010 4:42 pm ET

We see the "middle east mentality" here in Sweden in the fact that immigrants from this area is strongly over represented in the crime statistics when it comes to rape and abuse against women.

Soya Bean   November 1st, 2010 4:46 pm ET

Honestly as an Egyptian.. yes it is TRUE and the start of a solution is to recognize it..... B U T women should take action.. a friend of mine experienced harassement in public, pressed charge and the guy was sentenced for 11 years... We can only fight this trend by using the appropriate ways and the law... This trend is recent, it shows a deterioration in education and values.. sorry to ealize we are as usual closing our eyes or blaming others....

elbrince   November 1st, 2010 4:55 pm ET

this issue is way blown out of size. Harrsement occurs in Egypt but not more than the USA or any other country. Ive lived in both.

desertpat   November 1st, 2010 4:58 pm ET

I visited Cairo with my wife, 14 year old daughter and younger son a few years ago.
There was a time where about 10 youths harassed all of us walking along the Nile and away from a populated area.
At 1 point I gathered rocks for protection and the youths backed off when they realized I was serious.
I have lived overseas for many decades and this was one time where I felt seriously and truely threatened, and had to resort to a plan for defence.

donewithegypt   November 1st, 2010 5:02 pm ET

So, Moataz, H – I suppose you consider a taxi driver masturbating while driving two women from point A to point B in full daylight perfectly acceptable? I see. I've lived here for four years, and, yes, these things do happen every day. The fact that you and countless others insist on living in denial isn't helping matters.

Lynn   November 1st, 2010 5:07 pm ET

The display of disrespect is what comes from Sharia law being condoned. I would suggest that all Egyptian women take courses in the martial arts and learn how to defend themselves against these affronts. I would suggest to the men of Egypt that Allah calls them to a very high standard...to be His representative on earth and to love others even as Allah loves them. In and through that love is respect for each other...we see Allah in those we meet on the street, even in women.

Josh   November 1st, 2010 5:40 pm ET

Oh yes. Sexual harassment in Cairo.

As witnessed by many of the comments on this page, the majority local men do not think it's a problem. That's not to say that a majority in engage in sexual harassment, it's to say that a majority ignore it.

I attended the American University in Cairo for 4 years. Around the University, all of my women friends were treated fine. Yet go downtown at night or to Khan Al-Khalili market, and they could not go 50 meters without some form of harassment. I would often have to escort good women friends of mine around certain parts of town as only when accompanied side-by-side with another man is a woman safe from sexual harassment or worse.

Whenever I spoke to my Arab male friends about this, they didn't see the problem. Their argument was yes, it's rude, but "Surely this kind of behavior happens everywhere. There's nothing to be done about it."

Yet, they have no idea that the level and persistence of harassment in Cairo far exceeds that of nearly everywhere else in the world. I've traveled extensively and if men were to act this way in, say, Berlin, other Berlin men would confront and berate them; it's simply not an acceptable form of behavior.

The only way to stop this degrading harassment is if the community at-large makes it clear that it's unacceptable.

RightTurnClyde   November 1st, 2010 5:42 pm ET

Excuse me? Sexual harassment in Egypt? WHen did Egypt abandon Islam and adopt the U.S. Constitution? They don't believe in anyone equality. They SOLD slaves.. remember. They believe in a Burka. Get it? They view women as goats. They trade them like goats. Build another mosque at ground zero.

Cairo girl   November 1st, 2010 5:43 pm ET

This is 100 percent true and it's disheartening that so many Egyptian men are in denial. It won't get better until they recognize this problem and commit to making it better – rather than denying it exists because it hurts their national pride.

You can be proud of your country and culture and, at the same time, recognize that there is something that's wrong and needs to be changed.

The harrassment is out of control. Even modestly dressed women are constantly bothered with lewd, unwelcome and obnoxious comments and actions. Egyptians and tourists both. This isn't 'flirting' or 'courtship.' It's disrepectful, bordering on criminal, and counter to Islam.

And I hate that so many practices that harm women are cloaked in the protective category of 'cultural.'

Emma   November 1st, 2010 5:51 pm ET

It's soooooooooooooooo true. I'm Egyptian and I know it. Whoever says anything else is lying through his teeth.

JC   November 1st, 2010 5:54 pm ET

I live hear (a man) and everyday I see women get harassed on the streets, in taxis, and even in the office. It's beyond ridiculous, and with some of the younger groups of men that are hanging around it borders on a situation that is unsafe.

However, it has nothing to do with Gulf culture or oil culture – it's been this way for as long as anyone can remember. Women here are things, not full people.

a moslem woman   November 1st, 2010 5:56 pm ET

That is true! it is NOT Islam. Please, don't judge a religion by its sinner.
I am a moslem woman living in a moslem country and sexual harrasment seldom happen here. As for me, maybe less than 10 times all my life. If a man committed sexual harrasment towards a woman in public, he will be condemned publicly by others, men and women (only verbally, to save the woman and scare the man away and humilliate him as well). So, sexual harrasment rarely happen publicly in my country as far as I know (I don't know if it's behind closed doors). Women are free to dress up the way they want (no hijab, just plain modest western clothes) and women can go where ever they please, alone.

About severe sexual harrasment in Egypt, I am so surprised by this that I just cancelled my bookings to cairo as I travel alone as tourist. Thank you all for the article and testimonies of women who live or had ever been to Egypt. Since I am a big fan of Egyptian historical sites, I probably will go there someday with bodyguards :(

Recently, I travelled to Qatar for tourism purpose and I experienced verbal sexual harrasments. It was awful awful awful. Then I travelled to Turkey. The people are very nice, the food was great and the city is beautiful, but there I also experienced verbal sexual harrasments and lots and lots of flirts. I was wearing my oversized overcoat. They are simply mentally ill.
One of the most annoying act was when a man walked to me and asked me if I was interested in group sex and he said that in front of public. I was really upset and tried to hold my tears.

I am very sorry for what happen to the women in Egypt as they have to bare it every single day. I hope it will end soon. May the change begin now.

Emma   November 1st, 2010 6:06 pm ET

Well, the numbers are not blown up or anything. Ever since I was 13 years old I got harrassed and sometimes even raped in broad day light, while walking through the streets of Cairo. It happened every single day, at least 5 times a day. I'm now 30 and I don't live in Egypt any more. Before you accuse me of wearing revealing clothes, I'd like to tell you that I wear an Abaya (full cover).
If you still think that the numbers are not correct, then you are lying to yourself.

sameel   November 1st, 2010 6:15 pm ET

it is so sad this happens but it is equally sad some people try to sneek in their "Islam is the problem" theory in here because this happened in a Muslim majority country. as some one quote here if you go to FBI website or researches in England also shows surprisingly high number or rape and sexual harrasement. Yet we try to see the speck in our brothers eye. how true what Jesus said "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye. In Islam it is considered to be a sin to even look at a man or women needlessly, let alone verbal or physical harrasment. So if egyptians do it then its their short coming not Islam. so please if you dont know do not speak

Barbara   November 1st, 2010 6:21 pm ET

"MCS"

"Shouting from an open window or screaming I love you! or some other word when encountered with a female is not harassment. At least these actions do no take place with the intent of harassing. It is more of a courtship really."

Really? And this is why you will always be among the group of boys who are screaming at women, not actually with a woman.

drar   November 1st, 2010 6:51 pm ET

true and the reason is people here started to ignore Islam and started to worship money and physical things

kimberly   November 1st, 2010 6:57 pm ET

thats sad

whoathere   November 1st, 2010 7:03 pm ET

people are definitely missing the big picture here. you have to understand the political and social climate of egypt at least a little bit before judging how people are placed within society, and let me just say they are not the best. egyptian society in general has massively deteriorated in the last 20 years due to governmental structure and corrupt bureaucracy. the public education system is a joke and as far as poverty is concerned 80% of the 17 million permanent residents of cairo are poor. very poor. on top of that the gap between the poor and rich is expansive. needless to say the sentiment, especially of the urban population, is dire frustration as to the very real and tangible state of their nation due to governmental stagnation and corruption over the last 30 years. over the decades egypt has literally gone backwards in meeting social needs. as a visitor you wouldn't get this. and as a tourist you also don't understand that though you are welcome to the tourist sites and egypt is such a hotspot for tourism you also embody a huge conflict between east and west and another manifestation of frustration. also know that often times tourists (esp females) come to the resort areas of egypt literally hunting out egyptian men. this serves as a huge misrepresentation of foreigners as a whole and does not contribute anything positive to egyptian (esp males) treatment of women. these are just some general examples of the reality of egyptian society. though men on the street say things, targeting some women over others, i have never had a fear of violent assault living here as i did living in america or traveling in other countries, specifically india. i actually feel safer here. i support this organization 100%, but if you don't actually understand the true goings on of a nation or society please don't make accusations out of ignorance.

Lorina   November 1st, 2010 7:07 pm ET

i know that egyptians are not liking this situation and me as a very big fan of egypt too... but everyone knows that this situation happens in egypt. maybe not so much because not everyone is hearing or looking around something like this, but this IS a big problem, compared to the other countries. and everyone that is making it be even more bige deal is because egypt is an AMASING country and this is so sad that people are drifting apart because they hear this storys.
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT BAD STORIES CAN BE ALWAYS REMEBER EASILY THAN GOOD ONES. so who ever hears this: please invest on changing this problem egypt may have. show to everyone how good egypt can be!!!!! YALLA!

Hans   November 1st, 2010 7:10 pm ET

Firtst of all: you are right. Never, ever, under no circumstances, a men has the right of sexually approaching a women against her will. Secondly: learn. Learn about people. Learn about culture. Learn about what humans are. About the drive of sexuality, Try not to be right, because you are. In this culture, there is almost no possibility for men and women to discover eachother's sexuality, by meeting, playing, enjoying oneothers body in a respectfull, loving way. Innocence is killed upon removal of the foreskinn and for some women in the south: removal of her most intimate sexual parts. Terrible. The sexual revolution did not involve this country. Read about its history and ask yourselve the question " what happened?", Read the human development report from the UN. Read. And understand what it boils down to. This is the future for the population of a state that does not recognize the separtion between religion(s) and state.
The attitude of young men towards women is fuelled by the hypocryt sexual moral of the Islam and their Imans. These young men have access to all the porn on internet. Next thing is they see foreign women dressed in shorts and T shirts, showing parts of the body which are carefully covered by local women. It drives them to a sexual boil-off. As a former expat in Egypt, working for an Egyptian company, I dare to say I have an authority to judge. Try to understand that a sweated jogging outfit might not look sexy in your perception, but it does in the country of women dressed like letterboxes. Now please read the 1st scentence of my comment again. Repeat when you doubt my opinion. But do not close your eyes for reality. Accept the world is not like the US. And strive for women's rights, absolutely. Make it a work of a lifetime. They deserve.

Mohamed   November 1st, 2010 7:19 pm ET

um Egyptian ,living in Egypt and i totally agree , this problem begins from childhood , it became a part of our culture ,but i think the solution will start from childhood , better learning at home and school i think this s the only way to end this mess ,,,,
But why it became a part of our culture? , do u know why 98 % of foreign women facing this in cairo and most of Islamic countries ? i ll tell u why because the child grows up watching his mother and sister and most women in the street wearing hijab and when the first chance come to watch porn movies or any nudity scenes he sees only these foreign people,mostly blondes speaking the western languages , what 'd be expected from a child or teen "low educated" and "watching". you tell me

Anonymous   November 1st, 2010 7:30 pm ET

As an American female with Egyptian parents, I believe the percentages quoted here are accurate. Traveling to Egypt numerous times throughout my childhood and adulthood, a few memories come to mind. When I was only ten or eleven years old, I was swimming in the beach water off of Alexandria when a group of older boys swam up to me and quickly reached for and grabbed me below the waist before swimming off. I was too young to fully appreciate the extent of how wrong what had happened really was and didn't tell my family. As an adult, I have had countless men and boys say things loud enough for me to hear as they pass by me, usually in reference to what I am wearing or my body.

As my Uncle who has been living in the US for years puts it, when a man in Egypt is standing on a metro and a woman comes and sits next to him or stands besides him, "it is like a bolt of electricy goes through his body." The men and women there are separated to such an extent that a woman almost becomes like some mythical object. I think if they were allowed to mix a little more socially and be friends without public or family shame upon them, things like this wouldn't be so widespread.

Tara   November 1st, 2010 7:30 pm ET

I worked for an Egyptian Embassy as was sexually harrased. I think it permeates the whole culture, not just those living in Egypt.

mysterydoc   November 1st, 2010 7:31 pm ET

This is one of the most absurd articles I ever read on CNN.The human rights issue is good and to see men treating women even better is Great, but the figures and the story is a BIG FAT LIE.98% of foreigners?who taught her how to count? And for Lee, I'm really sorry to hear that Lee.But believe me, its nothing compared to what happened to my friend in Cancun.He's an Egyptian went for his honeymoon and was shot dead in front of his wife just for a wallet. And my other friend went to the grocery in New jersey never came back only to find him next day stabbed to death also for a robbery.And I had the same experience myself me and a couple Egyptians along with our three wives in Phoenix .And some WHITE DRUNK MEN making a move on our wives just as we stood there.Don't worry.Those Americans paid the price in FULL.Egypt according to UNESCO is one of the safest places on earth with the lowest murder rate worldwide.Your opinion does matter, but again our tourism is in an uptrend and going strong all due to word of mouth marketing.Many of the visitors are visiting for the second time or third.Someone touch you, you should report him.If you don't you are not doing anybody any favors.But verbal harassment is everywhere don't make an issue over it.Someone here mention a masturbating driver.Did you watch till the end or you got off the cab and left.Someone masturbating in public is what Exihibitionisim. Which is a psychological disorder and believe me is much much more prevalent in USA than in Egypt.Im a doctor and studied Psychiatry in both countries. Rapist in Egypt gets the death penalty.And rape is what concerns me not verbal harassment .And till today I haven't read about a death penalty in 2010, thus no rape cases in 2010.Desert pat is another liar.Where exactly along the nile a foriegner walks in unpopulated area.HELWAN??? There is no single inch along the nile in Cairo that is not populated 24 hrs/d/365 days a year.Are YOU a jealous Israeli/Algerian may be? :)My sister and her friends 6 FEMALES and one GUY after going out decided to walk along the nile.it was 4am in the morning and there were thousands of people doing the same thing and this was last week.This is CAIRO.No ONE SLEEPS..This percentage must covers "Hey Gorgeous" as a sexual harassment ,right?We have 20,000 sexual harassment annually compared to 90,000 in the US.Difference is US includes far far more rape, assault,and abuse.Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world with nearly 80 million living in 6% of land.There are no unpopulated areas in Egypt specially where the low socioeconomic class gangs gather.Yes, the police should do a better job, but we are here asking for near perfection.Im surrounded right now with nearly 20 girls, a friend gathering of my sister.And most of them are LOOKERS and not veiled.I asked them.Only one said yes she was touched and it was in in her last year in college not even the street and she slapped him.She never saw his face in college again.Most probably avoiding her.All of them said yes for verbal harassment but most of them said they were hearing sweet words like gorgeous, beauty.....etc and they LIKED IT.

fuerza   November 1st, 2010 7:43 pm ET

Although I firmly agree that men in the middle east are to be held responsible for perpetrating violence against women. I must admit that after spending three years in 'less conservative' places like Amman, Jordan (conservative when compared to countries like in the Gulf, etc) I have realized that women's submissiveness is a MAJOR reason for why sexual violence and impunity remain present issues in arab/muslim societies. Sexual harassment exists, why? because women allow it. Oppression exists in various ways across the world and yet women of different cultures deal with it differently than arab/muslim women do.

There is a HUGE lack of solidarity among muslim women. They simply do not support each other. Instead they judge one another and take part of unending competitions for future husbands or male attention in general. For those who have been in the Middle East, you know how women are in constant alert ready to judge and criticize other women, harming their honor and reputation.

If the majority of women in Egypt feel that they are victims of sexual violence, then dont wait for men to defend you. Do it yourself ! Unification and organization among women is necessary to influence 'sharia law' or law in general. However, in the middle east mothers remain silent when hate crimes are conducted against their own daughters or their own sisters. Isnt this type of silence just as bad as the killing itself.

Do not view muslim women as helpless victims because they are not. Judge the society as a whole.

eclectic   November 1st, 2010 7:44 pm ET

Imagine if the present world with all it growth & progress has only about a billion people or so, everybody would get nice education, nice job, nice standard of living. People will be much more sophisticated & would know how to respect women & other fellow human beings. People will be a lot happier & this world would be a much better habitable place. So the problem lies in over-population. So stop producing children till the population reduces to around this number in a natural way. Or keep following your desire to have children & keep facing a steep rise in all problems in all spheres of life. The choice is yours my dear fellow human beings. Love you all.

Maadi   November 1st, 2010 8:05 pm ET

I have lived in Africa for over twenty years. For the last three years, I have been living in a suburb of Cairo called Maadi with my wife and two teenage daughters. The men here are terrible. My daughters cannot walk to school alone - and it is only two blocks from our house - because they men whistle at them, call them names, and if they get close enough they will try to grab them. I have never lived anywhere where the men are such animals. They have no respect for themselves or the people around them.

J   November 1st, 2010 8:05 pm ET

Ok, it's true that not all Egyptians harrass women. But to deny that it is RAMPANT here is ridiculous.

Sexual harrassment is not "a kind of courtship." Refer to the last line of the article regarding men's attitudes towards women.

In what culture is it appropriate to yell out the window to a woman walking down the street "whore." It's happened to me as well b/c people don't think foreign residents learn any of the language.

There is so much that is great about Egypt and the culture such as the hospitality, the easy-going nature, sense of humour, etc. But, to deny this aspect of the reality of living in Egypt, the ugly part of the culture, is crazy,.

Taking steps to fix it is more than necessary.

Mohamed   November 1st, 2010 8:09 pm ET

um Egyptian ,living in Egypt and i totally agree , this problem begins from childhood , it became a part of our culture ,but i think the solution will start from childhood , better learning at home and school i think this s the only way to end this mess ,,,,
But why it became a part of our culture? , do u know why 98 % of foreign women facing this in cairo and most of Islamic countries ? i ll tell u why because the child grows up watching his mother and sister and most women in the street wearing hijab and when the first chance come to watch porn movies or any nudity scenes he sees only these foreign people,mostly blondes speaking the western languages , what 'd be expected from a child or teen "low educated" and "watching". you tell me

Sara   November 1st, 2010 8:10 pm ET

well..i have been living in egypt since August 2009 and i have experience some sexual harrassment from people here in Alexandria. It feels so painful when people start to look at you and call you 'slut' for wearing what i usually wore when i lived in Europe.
In egypt there are no human rights, and no respect for the women here...wat im afraid of is the next generation...i dont want to see other people children and mine and yours and others to grow up in this society... what is happening in egypt here is pathetic and something must be done.

Sara   November 1st, 2010 8:12 pm ET

Moataz....wow...another thing wrong with egyptians is that they think that they are the best society and they think wats right from wrong, when in the end...the majority are closed minded except for the ones who reach high point in society...seriously WAKE UP! being in denial wont help anything!

Mohamed   November 1st, 2010 8:39 pm ET

um Egyptian ,living in Egypt and i totally agree , this problem begins from childhood , it became a part of our culture ,but i think the solution will start from childhood , better learning at home and school i think this s the only way to end this mess ,,,,
But why it became a part of our culture? , do u know why 98 % of foreign women facing this in Cairo and most of Islamic countries ? i ll tell u why because the child grows up watching his mother and sister and most women in the street wearing a veil and when the first chance come to watch porn movies or any nudity scenes he sees only these foreign people,mostly blondes speaking the western languages , what 'd be expected from a child or teen "low educated" and "watching". you tell me

sk   November 1st, 2010 8:43 pm ET

I never have faced this in Cairo; however, I'm almost always in a group when I visit there. Still, I've seen it...and I've heard from numerous women, even those who wear hijab with loose clothing–that it's rampant.

Lynn–This has nothing to do with Sharia. Obviously you know nothing about Sharia. If Sharia did exist, then these men could be tried for their crimes. Nowhere does Islam condone this behavior towards woman. Even calling a woman a whore could result in the man being tried for disrespecting her character. I realize that it's common to assume in the West that Sharia=evil and repressing women's rights, but it's simply not the case in the majority of circumstances. The problem is not Islam. This behavior is also not condones by traditional bedoin/Gulf Arab society/culture. The problem is a very corrupt government (supported by the US) with zero regards for human rights. The problem is a culture which makes marriage very difficult and expensive for young men and women. The problem is the general view of women around the World–even in the U.S. Look at how girls today "service" their boyfriends and expect nothing in return. Look at all the Sexting for attention. The teenagers of the Middle East are caught in the middle. They live in a very conservative culture, where even dating is frowned upon for both Christian and Muslims. Yet they are bombarded with the high sexuality of Western media.

Egyptian   November 1st, 2010 9:09 pm ET

Wow. I rarely comment, but folks like @donewithegypt really did it for me.

I'm 28 and I live in one of the busiest districts in Cairo. 28 years in Cairo.

While _verbal_ harassment is not uncommon in *Cairo*, I've not seen any "grabbing" and certainly not any "taxi drivers masturbating every day while they drive women."

Verbal harassment comes mostly from teenagers and comes no where near a "threat." (well, 99.999% of the time)

And believe me, if it ever comes anywhere near that, half a scream would attract all men on the street and they'll start beating the guy(s) before they ask questions.

Cairo is not perfect. And yes, sexual (verbal) harassment has increased lately. But it's not as disgusting or hazardous as some people imply. I believe it's not different than any other _major_ capital of the world.

Even IF Cairo has the highest rates of "sexual (verbal) harassment", Egypt is still not in the Top 65 countries of rape incidents, where Top 10 includes Australia, Canada and the US. [1] That, I believe, makes it safer than many countries.

[1] http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap_percap-crime-rapes-per-capita

moni   November 1st, 2010 9:19 pm ET

Sexual harrassment is a severe problem in Egypt. As long as there are no laws to deter men from stopping, it will continue in this disgusting manner. Anyone who has argued against this article is completely ignorant or senile. It is a sad article, that shows a horrible side to a great city, but its a fact. I hardly walk in the streets, and if i do its definetly not without a male member of my family. Its time for a serious effort by the governement to create an anti-sexual harassment campaign, with warnings of consequences. Egyptian men owe to their mothers, sisters, wifes to STOP harrassing them!!

moni   November 1st, 2010 9:28 pm ET

moataz is really on crack, and just wants to belittle an important topic, shame one you, you obviously dont live in this city or this planet

Larah   November 1st, 2010 9:28 pm ET

It i so true, Some men in Egypt treat women like sex objects, and many Egyptians are resist towards black people. I am a black African woman happily married for 19 years with teenage daughter. My husband and I moved to Egypt two years ago on an expert contract. My daughter and I have double problem. First for being black, second all the sexual Harassment we go thru. Wake up Egypt! Behaviours like these give the continent a bad name. You are driving this beautiful country towards the tombs. Try set a good example. Don’t be like South Africa or Congo on this issue. We are your Mothers, Your Aunts, Your sisters, your nieces,Some degree of Respect is all we need.
Proud African

jean   November 1st, 2010 9:43 pm ET

I'm an American woman and over the years I have lived, worked, and vacationed in several Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt. I have found that the best way to deal with verbal harassment is to ignore it. If it is in Arabic I may or may not understand it anyway. If it is in English I also pretend not to understand. No doubt this leaves the perpetrator to wonder exactly what language I speak. This works for foreigners but obviously not for Egyptians. If anyone ever tried to physically assault me he'd get a good kick where the sun doesn't shine.

And to mysterydoc, shouting "Hey Gorgeous" to a stranger is harrassment. And to your statement about rape, just because there are no rape cases doesn't mean there has been no rape. Many women are reluctant to report it and it is very difficult to prove under Islamic law.

Lumos Nox   November 1st, 2010 10:12 pm ET

@ Lee:
"this IS a religious problem. Islam is widely open to interpretation, and in this case it's been interpreted in a manner that ensures women are treated like garbage"

I'm sorry,but NO interpretation of Islam gives anyone ANY right to treat women like "garbage".I suggest you actually read up on Islam a little before you make claims like that.I happen to actually be a Muslim woman,and I KNOW for a fact that my religion does not demean or devalue me in any way.

"Either all of these people are terrible Muslims, or they're exercising their religious beliefs as they see fit."

If Egyptians were to actually practice Islam in its true sense,Egypt would have been a much better country.My religion teaches men to respect women for their minds and not their bodies.My religion says that women are "the twin halves of men".Women during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) were wives,mothers,teachers,warriors,nurses,and participated in politics.They were all very strong,very intelligent women
.Just because Egypt is a Muslim-majority country doesn't mean that every problem it faces has to be related to Islam.The country's law is mostly secular for God's sake.Stop throwing the blame on religion.Human beings are the problem,not religion or any other ideology.It's how things are applied is the problem.Human beings have and always will twist things to their own benefit,but there never was and never will be any interpretation of Islam that encourages sexual harassment.

rania   November 1st, 2010 10:17 pm ET

I am an egyptian woman living in egypt and I must say this article is ridiculous.
83% means that it includes girls under the age of 10, which by default shows the weakness of this article and its content. There is harassment yes like other countries do but to exaggerate and publish such a subjective fictional piece of work is shameful.

Lumos Nox   November 1st, 2010 10:18 pm ET

I live in Egypt and sexual harassment IS a major problem,but blaming it on religion is absolutely ridiculous.Islam does NOT condone sexual harassment in any shape,way or form.The fact that a lot of Egyptian men lack respect towards women has nothing to do with religion.If they actually followed Islam they would know that sexual harassment in any form is extremely haram (forbidden).

And for the people commenting saying that sexual harassment is not a problem in Egypt,I have only this to say to you:Are you for real?!

Helen   November 1st, 2010 10:30 pm ET

Growing up in Moscow in the 70s we, the girls, daily endured verbal sexual harassment, occasional groping, and–worst of all–having erected d**ks pressed into us in the overcrowded busses and the metro. No one ever came to the rescue. Just walking down the street was very stressful. However, this situation was always much worse in southern countries, like Georgia, for example. It has nothing to do with Islam; it is patriarchy. The southern males are much more sexually suppressed, so the violence and hatred towards women spills out.

CL   November 1st, 2010 10:42 pm ET

I was seriously thinking of visiting Egypt until I talked to my friends that returned from a recent trip. As their experiences did mirror the depictions in this article, I postponed my trip... indefinitely.

Judith   November 1st, 2010 11:35 pm ET

I worked in Egypt from 1985-1988 and these same problems existed then. I enjoyed my time there, and found Egyptian people to be wonderful, warm, and welcoming. However, I was grabbed and harassed while walking on the street and had some of the same experiences as the author, even though I always was dressed modestly. It is unfortunate that these problems are still occurring or have gotten worse over the years.

M   November 1st, 2010 11:37 pm ET

Islam have no respect for women. Its a fact:(

Doctor   November 2nd, 2010 12:01 am ET

I think there is an exaggeration of the problem in this article...although it is imporant to point to this issue as it became a serious issue
But the harrassment is present everywhere not only in egypt and its not that much as the article claim
also u can t consider the "male gaze" as some sort of harrassment
!

River Steuter   November 2nd, 2010 12:05 am ET

I lived in Egypt for six years and can say that the report is closer to the truth than it is inaccurate. Harassment stories from my friends, colleagues and personal experience were common place in the time I was there. Moreover, many Egyptians would rather suppress or deny the truth if it shows them in a bad light than deal with the facts and try to correct the situation thus improving the state of affairs.

The culture as a whole seems to be allergic to self-criticism even if it means ultimately improving things for themselves. I remember watching countless propaganda TV shows where journalists would jump on foreign tourists and demand why they "Loved" Egypt. Not once in any of these daily shows would the journalists ask, "What didn't you like?"

An incident that reflects this same mentality happened to me one day when a fire broke out at the new Library of Alexandria. I was living in an adjacent apartment building and hurried out to take photos of the firetrucks and chaos thinking of the historic relevance and irony of the incident. The library grounds were swarming with students from the neighboring university campus who were hostile and frenzied at my attempt to take photos and eventually drove me off. For them, they saw it as an embarrassment and not as a newsworthy event that might also include valuable lessons for future safety and security. Sweeping it under the carpet was what came natural to them as it became an issue of national pride.

I urge any Egyptians reading this to try and change these deep rooted attitudes. Countries that can criticize themselves improve as a result while those that don't live under the illusion that everything is just 'wonderful' while the country collapses around them which is the case in Egypt.

Taking responsibility and not blaming others will turn Egypt around and nothing else. Far too many Egyptians wish to rest on the laurels of their ancient ancestors and need to realize that in 2010 new accomplishments and challenges must be met. Good Luck to them.

ilvzvhg   November 2nd, 2010 12:43 am ET

I've lived in Cairo for 3 years, studying here. Egyptian sucks. Really. Enough said.

Giulia   November 2nd, 2010 12:51 am ET

Women all over the world face discrimination, to varying degrees depending on which country we're in. It's time that we all as a gender stood up to this blatant discrimination in each of our countries, and work together to change the world.

I think it's also VERY important that we get more women in governments in ALL countries. The way the world is being run right now is ludicrous and a bit of female intelligence and understanding, and less male ego would not go amiss.

egyptian woman   November 2nd, 2010 1:08 am ET

ok here we go again.
Fact, yes there is harassment in egypt, however there is everywhere else in the world. Maybe the rate is higher in egypt, due to many economic and political reasons

Fact, the figures in this article are bogus. Please do proper research before publishing your personal thoughts in a quantifiable context.

Fact, I have been harassed more times in the UK, France than in Egypt.

for those who said Egyptians are the rudest etc, well it seems u don't get out much. Egypt is one of the very few countries where people will rush to help you, where in most countries you will be ignored to death literally.

for the figures please note that only 43% of the population are urban and I highly doubt that the 83% cited here covers the rural areas in Egypt.
the 83% mentioned would imply that children under the age of 12 are harassed as well and that is NOT true. so please be objective and not throw figures around to give strength to an otherwise very subjective and weak piece of work.

We as Egyptians are not in denial as Sara commented. We see our flaws clearly and some of us are trying to work on it and help our society grow rather than just complain. That however DOES NOT mean we will stand by while just ANYONE takes a shot at us and for NO reason. This article is not trying to help, is not shedding the light on a subject that isn't known. This is an attention seeking piece.
And to be honest we are tired of people trying to put our nation down while they have their own issues in their own country. Either help or stay away. WE WILL NOT ENTERTAIN NEGATIVITY FROM ANYONE.

As for those who mentioned that they had a horrible time in Egypt, well I do apologize for that. It is sad that some people stood in the way of you enjoying our lovely country.
And for the lady who said that she would enjoy Egypt without the Egyptians....well sorry to break it to you, but we come in a package. My advice is to go where you would have a better experience. we will not miss you.

Egyptian

ceciliawyu   November 2nd, 2010 1:16 am ET

You forgot about the "random mobile phone harassments" where young guys ring mobiles phones continuously until a woman answered and then keep trying to meet & harass her. I accidentally answered one of these calls and was harassed over the mobile phone non-stop for 3 days! ...:) Until I put the number on an ultra-conservative religious website...then it stopped. This is not " over estimated stats." it is common experience to anyone who has spent more than a 1 day in Cairo!

Narendran Narasiah   November 2nd, 2010 2:20 am ET

Mothers of Egypt and also women around the world! This vicious cycle will continue if you think that the problem will be solved when men change their attitudes. Bear in mind that these men were once upon a time your sons and they were influenced by the environment you exposed them to. The quest for gender equality and respect can only be achieved when both men and women are empowered. Mothers! you are the first educators of a family. When you are empowered , you can empower your little sons too and when they become men, the changes will take place because they will defend your women. Do not think that this a problem with men alone because many of you are producing sons who eventually become exactly like those men who sexually harass.

MHA   November 2nd, 2010 3:06 am ET

It is the hypocrisy many people have in Egypt. They say they are very religious and many of them are the most evil people in the world. I think many of the values they learn need to be reviewed.

Mahmoud   November 2nd, 2010 3:58 am ET

all the informations are true in the article..but it also in every country in our world..as many boys or even men look to the female as a product if he can't buy...he could touch...or even trying to do
the solution of this problem and any other one in our world in also any place or time of the history found in the book which called (the holy quran)...
قوله تعالى : { قل للمؤمنين يغضوا من أبصارهم ويحفظوا فروجهم ذلك أزكى لهم إن الله خبير بما يصنعون }
in english:
allah says :{Say to the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that is purer for them that Allah is Aware of what they do}
our holy quran whitin 1400 years still and will remaining the message from allah to people through our prophet mohammed that inculding all the answers of our questions
all the solutions of our problems
sorry for disturbance everybody

Amr Mohamed   November 2nd, 2010 4:00 am ET

I think rather than blaming men for their attitude, we should ask why this is happening in Egypt now not 30 or 40 years ago!!!

I think the answer is and I'm speaking as an Egyptian man is the bad mentality that has been raised in our minds which points to any women wearing western type of clothes as she likes to be harassed and not excepting that this is here choice, before this 30 or 40 years men was learned to except other cultures but now it's only the Islamic way of dressing means this woman is respectful which is not true or not always true.

Amr Mohamed   November 2nd, 2010 4:13 am ET

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I think rather than blaming men for their attitude, we should ask why this is happening in Egypt now not 30 or 40 years ago!!!

I think the answer is and I'm speaking as an Egyptian man is the bad mentality that has been raised in our minds which points to any women wearing western type of clothes as she likes to be harassed and not accepting that this is her choice, before this 30 or 40 years men was learned to accept other cultures but now it's only the Islamic way of dressing means this woman is respectful which is not true or not always true.

Mike Zaiderman   November 2nd, 2010 4:17 am ET

Before foreigners criticize Egyptians for being rude to foreign or Egyptian women, they should criticize the US for war crimes in the area. Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and causing an exodus of millions of families in horrendous wars. If Americans had
exercised a more even handed policy in the
Middle East, may be they wouldn't be subjected to this treatment, and people everywhere would consider them as friends.

Obamba   November 2nd, 2010 4:39 am ET

Egypt is ripe for a women's revolution. This kind of harassment does not happoen in India or Indonesia, which have masive muslim populations. Muslim men in these countries- barring a few fundamentalists and rogues, irrespective of religion- are as decent as the broader populace. Unless muslim women every where fight for their rights as enshrined in thier religion (?) the problem will continue. Inshallah they will win some day but god cannot help them if they do not protest being treated like cattle by their men.

Nat   November 2nd, 2010 5:10 am ET

Yes it is true sexual harassment happens everywhere. I have been living in many countries, and have lived in Egypt for the last 4 years. I can tell you it is definitely worse here than anywhere else. When I walk in the streets, it's with an MP3 player so I don't have to listen to the hissing and the embarassing words – then I only have to deal with the looks and the traffic.. Many cars or scooters have missed me by an inch; once my plastic shopping bag was ripped because of a car aiming for me. I got touched, slapped, spit at.. daily stuff
If you deny it, you must be Egyptian and male and blindfolded. I am glad some Egyptian guys here actually do see it. I guess they are the well educated ones..

Kathy g   November 2nd, 2010 5:36 am ET

I wonder how many women nurses work in Egypt? Nurses can be a powerful voice. Hospitals will close. Want to stop harassment? All non Egypt nurses work elsewhere. All Egypt nurses stop providing care in "hot spots". The men will figure it out. I have seen hospitals, clinics etc close when they treated nurses badly.. Nurses providing women's and children services would still work.
So called religious beliefs dissipate when men are in pain or need surgery, and if this seems cruel,remember the punishment fits the crime.

Kate   November 2nd, 2010 5:58 am ET

All of the comments saying things like "these numbers are exaggerated or untrue" or "Muslim women don't get harassed" are exactly why this problem continues and is worsening in Egypt.

I have lived in Cairo for 1 1/2 years and have been harassed EVERY SINGLE DAY. It doesn't matter if I am walking with a man and wearing a floor length skirt and turtle neck, or if I am walking alone wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Furthermore, many of my Egyptian friends become greatly offended when I mention or complain about the harassment, rather than being offended it is happening.

I believe the women are 100% complicit in this issue, however. Many times I am harassed by young teenage boys half my age, while their mothers look on. They grab me, throw things at me, or shout "f- you" and their mothers never try to stop it. No one on the street does. I am more than willing to acknowledge the many wonderful people in Egypt, but even those who do not take part in the harassment have a duty to confront it when they see it, and unfortunately, few do.

Antar   November 2nd, 2010 6:09 am ET

More Anti-African Anti-Arab lies! Another attack and insult against Islam by the West

There is NO Sex harrassment in Islam!!! Women in Islam, dressed in Sharia have no harrassment. Women will tell you that only women who are harassed are a women who do not follow Sharia law, and are dressed wrongly and seductively.

Since the time from the pharohs, Western Woman have exploited men in Magrib africa for sex, including sex with slavery against the men. They promise the African and Arab man for marriage and sex. Many Briton woman come to Misr Egypt to find men and seduce. This is well known. This is violation of Islamic laws and dangers with society.

Muslim ladies please call on your teachers and government to forbid all non-Muslim women seduce on the Muslim men!

When with foreign women is dressed in Sharia, and Misr with Sharia, and there will no more attacks and insults against men and women of Islam.

Rana   November 2nd, 2010 6:12 am ET

Looking at the thread of replies..it shows you why it's going to take so much longer to solve a problem like this! Many educated Egyptian men are saying it is not true...well they should try being a woman on the streets of Cairo for just one day!
I am an Egyptian woman..born here and have lived here my whole life... this is definitely a serious issue and thank you for addressing it! Good luck to Harassmap:) At least someone is doing something.

isy   November 2nd, 2010 6:14 am ET

I was walking in the center of Cairo in June this year, wearing a long skirt and a shawl, when a group of elementary schoolboys starting shouting "f...you" at me and my Arab boyfriend. He scolded the kids in Arabic, but they carried on for some time. Where did they learn such words? They couldn't say anything else in English.

adonis   November 2nd, 2010 7:22 am ET

GOOD JOB ! Thanks a lot...
I am a Turkish Lady living in Cairo for 2 years...
I have been sexually harassed many times... Men,boy, even some delivery boys and they are 10-11 year old...
But unfortunately they can not fix this problem.. no way.. this country will be like this for ever and ever and ever...

Safo   November 2nd, 2010 7:30 am ET

Though typical harrasment in most cases as far as i see it, doesnt go beyond words or comments. Grabing and violence are rare attitudes yet the country definetly needs more regulations to stop such boyish acts.

Abdul Razak Ahmad   November 2nd, 2010 7:54 am ET

It is better to have public transport like bus/train where some coach can be seperated for male and female

Talene   November 2nd, 2010 9:06 am ET

@H: I do not think that this is full of lies at all. I think that many people only thing of harassment in terms of physical and that is why you might think that the statistic is over-exaggerated. But it is soooooo common for a girl to be walking on a street and a man to make a comment, whistled at, honked at, followed etc etc. It is a widespread problem. But it has become so common so many places that people just consider it part of the plight of being a women. And if you are considered pretty it is almost like you should always consider all that negative attention as complements and you have no right to express disapproval.

Hisham   November 2nd, 2010 9:12 am ET

Mr. Lee on behalf of my egyptians fellows I appologize for this bad experience.
We would be honoured to have you, your girlfriend, family and friends visiting Egypt again.
I am sure that it was just an act of few disrespectful egyptians and let me asure you we #Egyptians# are not rude people as you believe.
Again I repeat my appologies to you and all those who feel the same way.

Mostafa Radwan   November 2nd, 2010 9:24 am ET

I feel sorry to read comments of people complains sexual harassment in Egypt, i am Egyption and walk every day in the streets i knw that really happen but not as badness commenters complained
i just wanna to say that the truth not as bad like that ,and there alot of awosome things in Egypt and egyptions .

Angry one   November 2nd, 2010 9:44 am ET

This is to MOATAZ. for you to say it is not true, YOU MUST BE ONE OF THOSE IRRESPONSIBLE MEN, with the shameless lifestyle, of molesting women in CAIRO.
I lived there and i got a call one day on my Mobile phone and my land line of some one telling me i want to f......k you. i cant count how many times i get this from the streets , sadly from boys from 8-12 years old

MCS   November 2nd, 2010 9:48 am ET

Comment by Barbara

""MCS"

"Shouting from an open window or screaming I love you! or some other word when encountered with a female is not harassment. At least these actions do no take place with the intent of harassing. It is more of a courtship really."

Really? And this is why you will always be among the group of boys who are screaming at women, not actually with a woman.""

OK Let's adress the issues here.
1st: Yes after reading all these comments I believe there is a problem in Egypt, maybe things have been taken too far. I don't know I have never been there.

What I tried to imply is that muslim men – I must say I don't agree with what they are doing and find it stupid- when encountered with a FOREIGN tourist lady, find it amusing to act in a certain way. But the weird part is they think by doing this they are pleasing the tourist and making her happy because she is stunned. I must add there are quite a few tourist women who find this stupid behavior amusing.

They do this because they lack education but it is not intended harassment. (showing your penis or purposely driving onto a girl obviously is but these are too extreme cases which cannot be generalized as a recurrent behavior of all Egyptian men).
It happenned to too me when I was with my German GF in Turkey. Some Turkish guys were very interested in her and said some words. They really pissed me off. Some of them deserved a good beating but still I know majority just did it because he thought what he was doing was funny or appealing. This behavior is usually targets foreign tourists.

Sexual harassment is too heavy of a term to use when defining the behavior of all those Egyptian men. So title of this article is also biased and targeting. But all these rude actions must be countered nevertheless. Tough women who respond back and good education are solutions that comes to my mind.

Mona from Egypt   November 2nd, 2010 9:50 am ET

I am a 26 year old Egyptian girl living in Cairo and I can remember being harrased since I was a 10! The numbers in the survey are 100% true. The only ones denying it in the comments are Egyptian men. Ofcourse it happens in other countries, but the problem in Egypt is that there are no laws or consequences, so at least other countries are trying to do something about it when we are struggling to prove it's a problem, because everything in Egypt is the girls problem, regardless of her religion or clothes.

Sally   November 2nd, 2010 10:43 am ET

I have just recently completed an overland journey from Turkey to Cairo. For the most part of the trip (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan) I was treated with natural curiosity but overwhelmingly with respect,decency and amazing hospitality by the locals. This all changed as soon as I boarded the ferry from Jordan to Egypt. The moment I and my female friends sat down in a booth in the ferry (all dressed very conservatively) men had their cameras out videoing us constantly. Off the ferry I was literally grabbed multiple times everywhere I went. I felt so unsafe that I stopped leaving my hotel room as it was impossible to go outside without being sexually assaulted. I'm sure it is not all Egyptian men, but it was enough to threaten my safety in a serious way. I was amazed at the low status of women in Egypt, far more so than anywhere else I have been in the Middle East. Those that say these acts are rare are completely mistaken.

Noliving   November 2nd, 2010 1:49 pm ET

"What I tried to imply is that muslim men – I must say I don't agree with what they are doing and find it stupid- when encountered with a FOREIGN tourist lady, find it amusing to act in a certain way. But the weird part is they think by doing this they are pleasing the tourist and making her happy because she is stunned. I must add there are quite a few tourist women who find this stupid behavior amusing."

How would you know MCS? You have never been to Egypt. Stop trying to defend this, you even have Egyptian women backing up these surveys here on the comment section.

Noliving   November 2nd, 2010 3:09 pm ET

Mike Zaiderman: People have been speaking up about Americas "warcrimes" for years, besides this topic has nothing to do with Iraq or Americans whatsoever, so why are you bringing those topics up to begin with?

Noliving   November 2nd, 2010 3:29 pm ET

"Even IF Cairo has the highest rates of "sexual (verbal) harassment", Egypt is still not in the Top 65 countries of rape incidents, where Top 10 includes Australia, Canada and the US. [1] That, I believe, makes it safer than many countries."

Egyptian, that is a very weak argument, the reason why middleeastern countries have so low rape rates is because they are not reported, if a woman in these societies is not able to successfully prove she was raped she is automatically charged with adultery, even if she is able to successfully prove she was raped no man would marry her because she is no longer a virgin.

Also did you even look at the rape rates in those statistics you showed, South Africa is number one and is around 1.2 people out of 1,000 are raped, that is not even 1% per capita. That is 1/10 of 1%.

According to the surveys on sexual harassment in Egypt it is an 83% chance for Egyptian women and a 98% chance for foreign women that they will be harassed in Egypt.

Look at those numbers South Africa's isn't even 1% for rape and Egypt's is 83% when it comes to harassment . I would rather have South Africa rape rate versus Egypt's sexual harassment rate.

I would rather have the US or Canada's rape rate than have the sexual harassment rate of Egypt's. Egypt's is basically guaranteeing to happen while the rape is not even close to being guaranteed to happen in those countries that are in the top 10 for rape rates.

HH   November 2nd, 2010 3:44 pm ET

sk November 1st, 2010 8:43 pm ET

[read 'SK' comment]

-SK is right on! Hear the real stories from here. Even 8 year olds shouting "i want to f**k you". And that's the only english that they know. This is CLEARLY the influence of PORN, and the openness of western media which is too different from theirs for them to comprehend and make a sense out of it. And maybe all the porn that they see are from youtube, which is massively flooded by 'western,white' girls. So when they see tourist (especially),all they can relate to is porn and sex. Women = sex. This behaviour is not corrected until they become men, who sees women only as sex objects. Remember, western people. What you see on your media is NOT as open as some countries in the world. You've to understand that to see what are the effects of westernized media to an 'unprepared' culture such as this, let alone of issues of public security and politics.

I agree, their mothers, sisters should straighten them since young. (assuming their fathers don't acknowledged this as a problem) Though I wouldn't know what these Egyptian women encounter in their culture, I still hope that they will be the agents of change. If my 12 yr old bro say that to other girls, I would have smacked him in his face!!

J   November 2nd, 2010 4:15 pm ET

Sexual harrassment is Egypt is a major problem and I mean a MAJOR problem. My 76 year old conservatively dressed mother had her breast grabbed by a youth on a bus and the rest of the passengers thought it was funny. When she went in the local supermarket the boy who worked in there followed her round the aisles telling her he loved her and trying to kiss her – SHE WAS 76. It made her afraid to go out anywhere alone. She ceased being independent and relied on me for everything because of the behaviour of these people.This country is so third world in its attitude towards women, if I go out I am suprised when nobody harrasses me – it is such a rare occurrence. How sad in 2010 that this lack of respect and education is having such a damaging effect on this nation.

Zack   November 2nd, 2010 5:04 pm ET

This is so shamefully true! And the fact that there are guys here who still deny it is almost a tragedy. Now i am an Egyptian and have lived there for 22 years and everyday i've seen this sort of behavior or heard about it from everyone. The fact that it has become socially acceptable or even 'cool' to harass women, because they cannot defend themselves against guys who are bigger than them, is pathetic and weak. It really makes me sad to see how low we've steeped, and how some guys are so blatantly defending themselves because it is so obvious that they are seasoned practitioners.

This is inhuman, shameful and most of all as un-islamic as it gets.

BS   November 2nd, 2010 5:17 pm ET

Nehad Abu el Komsan should not talk. I have first hand experience of her harrassment of poor young staff, men and women on a daily basis. Might not be sexual, but bullying in the work place is also a real crime, one that Ms el Komsan herself is an expert in.

Becky   November 2nd, 2010 5:22 pm ET

I agree with the article. I've been in Egypt 3 times–Sharm, Hurghada, and Cairo-Lurxor, etc. The first time I went with another lady, also my age (upper 40's). The second time a group of 5 women, and the third time a family trip with my husband and 5 children.

On the first trip, I was with a friend. She was propositioned for sex at a bazaar in Sharm. She simply told the man she wasn't interested. Our bus driver wanted to talk around the bazaar with his arm around her neck. I was so glad it wasn't I–She is not "young and swelt" and doesn't radiate "sexiness"–she's actually quite a bit overweight. I am not sure why she was treated this way as I know her.

The men were very "friendly" and definitely didn't make me feel comfortable at times. The singles on those trips said that the men were always trying to touch them–which we didn't understand since they aren't allowed to do this to their own fellow-Egyptian girls.

So, my guess iopinion s that harrassment is one step beyond flirting. Flirting would be winking and being nice–saying 'Hi" and maybe even "I love you" as silly as that is. But, when it gets to grabbing, staring, lewd comments, etc. then it is harrassment. I don't disagree that probably 98% of the women who live there have been harrassed at one time or another. I found the men pretty nice–but really, didn't feel comfortable there with my daughters. We were glad to leave as living in the middle of that would be very tiring emotionally.

I was offered 1000 camels for my oldest daughter, by a taxi driver. I laughed. I didn't consider it harrassment though. I just told him she was too young.

Jean   November 2nd, 2010 5:23 pm ET

Let's put this problem in simple economic terms. Tourism is very important to Egypt. If foreign women such as Sally are aware that they will be harassed there they and their families will not go. Although Egypt is a very interesting country there are other places in the world to vacation.

Lee   November 2nd, 2010 7:10 pm ET

Reading the comments, I find myself getting angry. Yes, sexual harassment happens everywhere (doesn't make it right), but what's different in Cairo is the excessive and constant low level harassment. Regardless of how you're dressed, you're guaranteed to get lewd and downright vulgar comments from taxi drivers, men on the street, and even wrong numbers. As a foreign woman you avoid answering calls from unknown numbers because very often you'll get some crude statement or, at best, constant calls. There are many good things about living here, but incessant 'compliments' and 'flirtation' are not on that list.

Ben   November 2nd, 2010 8:41 pm ET

Egyptian men are scared to tell other Egyptian men to stop harassing. Without men who are willing to stand up for women and tell their friends to show respect, the harassment will not stop. There is just no shame, if a woman yells back at a harasser this just encourages him.
Individual harassers are usually in a group of males and all the men are complicit (and usually laughing).
Many Egyptians commenting about this article seem confused about the definition of "sexual harassment." In English it means unwelcome speech, comments, gestures, intimidation, bullying of a sexual nature. Many Egyptians do not consider just WORDS to be sexual harassment, they think only physical contact constitutes sexual harassment.
I live in Cairo (about a year and a half) and it is sad that some Egyptians here are defensive and unwilling to face reality, the sexual harassment is the worst I've seen anywhere in the world (I've lived in S. America, Asia, Europe and now in Cairo). 2011 ("election" year) will be an amazing year for Egypt, the country is seething. EGYPTIAN MEN IF YOU DONT BELIEVE THIS ARTICLE, ASK YOUR MOTHERS IF ITS TRUE.

Amir   November 2nd, 2010 9:15 pm ET

I am a 31 years old Egyptian man in Egypt, I sadly declare that all this article content is true and even less than the bad reality in our country Egypt.

Almost over 90% of men, old and young stare to women of all styles with deep sexual eagerness and lusting look.

As a matter of fact there is a very big sector of Egyptian men thinks that foreign blond ladies or who have a foreign tongue means that they are casual about sex and many have fantasies (based on the heavy pornography materials most Egyptian men are secretly involved in) about these women thinking that these women will be wanting and accepting sex and sexual touches without even having a deep relationship with these women.

Some men take actions especially the younger youth in groups when they see a foreign lady walking alone. (shout , stalk, or touch sensitive parts as a silly joke)

I hardly walk with my wife in crowded streets in almost any area in cairo without having almost 90 % of men stare to all parts of her body (given that she wears very conservatively) it is offending and makes one feels no freedom.

We have been into many Asian countries in even more undeveloped areas and we didn't sense that deep sexual lusting looks in the streets even when we were more casual in our dress code.

We need to review and expose this issue publicly and see the roots of this problem and enlighten these men to respect women privacy, and learn to control their eyes from that lusting looks and attitudes. and rebuild this younger generation and teaching them that these actions and what they think is funny actions is a crime and is not less than raping a girl in the street. and learn to respect women foreigners or locals because tomorrow your mother, sister and daughter will face the same fate and will be harassed in the eyes of the sun.

junnah   November 2nd, 2010 9:55 pm ET

i lived in egypt 1983-2010. sexual harassment increased to a remarkable extent over that time and spread from the 'bad' parts of town to just about everywhere. i think part of it is due to a general lack of respect– in a society that respects, fears and imitates authority, the authorities provide a very bad example. part is also due to satellite tv and internet– the bulk of egyptian society experiences some degree of truth in local tv dramas, it is not surprising that they think that the dramas on satellite and internet are also realistic in their representations of foreign society. it takes time for a society to change, egypt was feudal only 50 years ago, and still is to some extent. on the good side, mothers with young children are rarely harassed. travelers and tourists: learn some arabic! you won't get the jokes if you don't! egypt is a fun place and the people are funny and generous. generally, to avoid harassment, other than dressing appropriately, look men in the eye and say as-salamu aleykoum! reminding them of their religion usually works. if a man brushes up against you or touches you, punch him and yell at him! if you know him, a hard punch in the arm works, if you don't know him, punch him anywhere you can or swing your bag at him. (the traditional thing to do is grab him by the ear and beat him with your sandal. :D) do not assume it was an accident, punch him immediately! if you don't he will assume you are 'loose'. also, regarding friendly situtations, respectable egyptian women always say no before they say yes, so a simple no doesn't work with egyptian men. you have to repeat it constantly and vigorously. as for boys, knock them upside the head or grab them by the thumb and twist their arm around their back and put them on the ground with your knee in their back. it's easier than it sounds! little kids yelling 'f*ck you, also, knock them upside the head, if you can catch them! there's a saying in arabic, if the parents don't teach them, the world will. it's just sad what the world is teaching them!

C   November 2nd, 2010 10:18 pm ET

This article is completely biased.
I've been living as a foreigner in egypt for 5 years, and what i've found is that people try to bring their own culture into egypt and think it's acceptable. people here are not used to low cut tops or hot shorts, and men here will sometimes not be able to control themselves because of the social/ political condition of the country.

Olesya   November 3rd, 2010 7:11 am ET

Have been living in Cairo coping with this issue every single day for the past 5,5 years of my life...There are no comments, but to say I have tears frozen in my eyes reading this article. I don't believe it can change.

Chris   November 3rd, 2010 12:39 pm ET

I lived in Egypt (Alexandria and Cairo) for 5 years. And not one single day passed there without being harrassed in one way or another. At the end I left the country because I couldn't take it anymore. The anger, fury and feeling of helplessness had eaten my heart away. I felt such a relief upon my return to Europe that I cried.

But I wasn't the only one being harrassed. When I talked to my egyptian and non-egyptian female friends and co-workers, I found out that each one had experienced very similar things. To be honest not every girl or woman perceives the harrassment in the same way. One is more shocked and might feel more intimidated than the other. But those actions are unacceptable behaviour nontheless! And on the contrary to MCS, I do think of all those actions as sexual harrassment. Calling someone sharmouta, mozza, brush against her while passing, staring, eyeballing that all counts as harrassment, since it makes me feel uncomfortable!

Mike   November 3rd, 2010 12:54 pm ET

It saddens me to read some of these comments, and the only response I could possibly think of is that you people need to change your attitude; instead of defending yourselves and LIVING IN DENIAL, try to [firstly] accept the truth, and most importantly actually CHANGE IT.

All you who call this mo'aksa [flirting] are full of sh*t, because I'm pretty sure if your mum was called sharmouta or even something 'less offensive' like eh ya moz or such, you wouldn't define it as courtship or flirting.

I'm a guy, I lived in Egypt since I was a kid, and I've seen my sisters, mum, girlfriend and heaps others women I care about being sexually (that includes physically or verbally) harassed, and the funny thing, it's not always men, the attackers are often old ninjas who think it's their place to advise and judge other women who are not veiled.

It's about time to start living in peace and now where you stand in the society, it's not your place to tell other women how to dress or where to walk, and what to believe in.

Before committing such an offense, think [trust me, thinking is a pretty simple procedure] of a woman who means something to you, and consider her being in the same situation.

Again, stop living in denial, and start acknowledging the fact that Egypt totally disregards human rights (specially for women and for minority groups) and try to change that.

Zophie   November 3rd, 2010 2:25 pm ET

Honestly what may be more outrageous than rampant sexual harassment in Egypt are the reactions of some the people on this forum – denial will not get us anywhere! Every woman (and discerning man) who has ever lived in Egypt knows that this is reality. Try to cover up the problem or discredit it as a 'Western' conspiracy only encourages this behavior. If a man thinks its ok to grope a woman or shout slander at a woman and everyone else turns a blind eye, then why stop?

mohsalah   November 3rd, 2010 3:05 pm ET

Okay it seems most of us agree there is a problem... a big problem... how can we solve it? How can we make ladies feel safe to walk on the streets alone without being disturbed by any means by this kind of animals?

Aa   November 3rd, 2010 5:34 pm ET

All men all over the world will wolf whistle or call at a girl !!
Not just Egypt
This article is stupid
Just in this last month their has been 3 occasions of rape in my town and I live in England So don't tell us about one experience you had in Egypt like it never happened to you anywhere else in the world!
You will find these men target the women that are not dressed "modestly" in their opinion,as in the west the men target the women dressed less modestly also for example the women with the tight mini skirts and the cleavage on full display,well these men are aiming at the "western dressed" women in the same way ... yes it's disgusting but it happens everywhere everyday I don't understand why Egypt is pin pointed....I mean what is the rape percentage in Egypt in comparison to say America?

S   November 3rd, 2010 7:06 pm ET

From an honest Egyptian girl who adored and still adores this country for the past 29 years.

Sexual harassment in Egypt and especially Cairo is a fact that is growing by the day. And it has grown from verbal comments to dirty inappropriate sexual comments and a lot of physical actions as well...
It happens to any girl but of course non veiled and the dressed in a more revealing manner get their higher share of the harassment.

While Egypt has some very valuable and beautiful aspects, this component represents a big threat to girls in Egypt and we ought to give it its weight and start looking for a solution.

One last thing, i have a lot of guy friends and a brother and because they are guys they simply do not imagine how bad this could get until me or any other girl they know tell them actual stories that we live... This is when they get disgusted and they wake up from their nice dream telling them "it's not that bad, it's just verbal"

Nana   November 3rd, 2010 7:32 pm ET

Egyptian men harass women everywhere in this world not only in Egypt ! have experienced it myself and all my friends!

Fenix   November 3rd, 2010 9:18 pm ET

This does not only happen in Egypt it also happens in Mecca during Hajj.. Guys are always groping women because they dont wear underwear and come horney..

I think its a problem with all Islamic societies and now that Egyptians are more religious thanks to Saudi Arabia they have become more oppressed, poor , horny and sexual harass every women they see.

Randa El Tahawy   November 4th, 2010 10:21 am ET

Harassment is a plague in Egyptian society. There are so many reasons for it to happen and no matter how much we talk about it you will still get a silly sleazy comment from a man in the street or wherever. I really hope that Harassmap will change something to it because I know that I would gladly report any man who tries to harass me, because no one is allowed to make you feel embarrassed that you are a woman. In Egypt that is how I feel. This website has some insight into this issue. http://www.awomanincairo.com

LB   November 4th, 2010 12:18 pm ET

I also vacationed in Sharm El-Sheikh this year. It was my worst holiday ever. I was harrassed from the time I arrived in the airport in Cairo. It is very unnerving especially when the harrassment is carried out by custom/ airport officials. My luggage was delayed 33 hours in Cairo which did not help. I did appreciate the kind assistance from some local people who where helpful when there was unwelcomed attention directed my way. I have to say I was warned by many people prior to my trip. I had heard many friends tell of their great holidays in Sharm, so I thought I would see for myself. Not the case!!! There are many other beautiful beaches and resorts in other countries that can be enjoyed free of harrassment.

Julia   November 4th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

My daughter and I visted Egypt one year ago and stayed at a small hotel in the middle of the city. We did the antiquity things during the day, and then walked around the city at night, shopping and finding different places to eat.

I have to say that we were never once sexually harrassed. Flirted with? To be sure. But was it harrassment? No.

Took an overnight train to Luxor, no problems. Spent 4 days in Luxor. Again, no problem and then returned to Cairo.

All in all, it was a good trip but I won't be returning due to the noise, filth and congestion.

John A   November 4th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

Sad that blogs referring to illegal wars and mass death attract around 60 – 80 blogs. And a post which refers to occasional bottom pinching or flirts whistling attracts over 150 blogs.

I guess the USA view flirting with tits and @rse as more important than the destiny of mankind and its illegal wars, awful famines and diseases.

So thanks for all your opinions on this matter, but your priorities are hugely moronic.

Julia   November 4th, 2010 1:17 pm ET

To John A.:

Ironic that you call our priorities 'hugely moronic' and yet you felt compelled to write.

John A   November 4th, 2010 4:14 pm ET

Julia, At first there was one voice which told the king he had no clothes.
Somebody has to do it!

Hope   November 4th, 2010 6:27 pm ET

"hugely moronic"?.. "the USA view flirting with tits and @rse as more important than"..........

Is this the sound of an emasculated mid-life crised chauvinist...This is a wonderful article by Mary Rogers/wedeman about a social illness that deserves attention even to those who don't (thank god) live there. Some may want to visit some day, however reading stuff like this, makes one have second thoughts.

So there..Lets make this blog reach 200 voices...meanwhile, go fly a kite.

A.M.   November 4th, 2010 7:31 pm ET

Us, Egyptians, should stop putting our head in the sand and see that there is a seriously big problem in our society. Unfortunately, many people downplay what goes on, even verbal comments are a violation of a woman. It's true that there are places where that doesn't take place, but those places are horrifically rare. Egyptian men MUST treat women with respect. It's NOT their right to harass a woman for any reason what-so-ever

A.S.   November 5th, 2010 7:30 am ET

I am a young Canadian girl living and working in Cairo. I had an incident where a man, about my age, followed me into my appartment building. I thought nothing of it until I started going up the stairs. Just as I was turning around to confront him, he reached through my legs and grabbed my crotch. His pants must have already been undone because he quickly pulled out his penis and started touching himself.

I pushed him down a couple steps while yelling for help. He got up and was doing up his pants while running down the stairs. I tried to chase him, but my shoes were too slippery on the stairs. I opened my water bottle and was tossing my water on him (to slow him down? lame I know, but remember I pushed him down the stairs). The men in my apartment building and on the street "came to my rescue".

If that was flirting then my message to my attacker is: "YES, I will continue to live happily in Cairo; however, now that I have seen your penis, NO I do not want to go out with you."

miriam   November 5th, 2010 9:19 am ET

John A,

It's about time that attention be paid to issues that are not fabricated but are clear cut and relevent all over the world.

Your sadness must be due to the fact that far many more people than you think get fed up with your continual lies and conspiracies, blaming every ill on one people and their country.
So, you can't connect this story into your web of hate, but instead criticize those who care about anything else,

John A   November 5th, 2010 9:44 am ET

Dear Moronic America,

Wikileaks reveals hundreds of thousands of unrecorded deaths in Iraq due to an illegal war, committed by you the USA. 18 blogs are posted:

http://insidethemiddleeast.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/23/activists-say-wikileaks-reveals-new-iraq-deaths/#comments

Pam Anderson goes to Israel receives 65 blogs: http://insidethemiddleeast.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/30/pamela-anderson-fur-and-israel/

Girls get whistled at by men in Egypt : 150+ blogs.

How many blogs will there be when Mickey Mouse comes out of the closet:1000???? Im sure this will excite "Hope"

Each subject may be interesting and important. But crimes have an order of importance, i.e. Murder is more important than slander, Murder is more important than harassment.

If people react more strongly to harassment issues than they do to mass murder, then their priorities are "Moronic".

Hope,
Would you prefer to be whistled at or murdered? From the response on this blog, being whistled at seems more disdainful to most. Now that is really moronic.

When Sarah Palin finds she cant make more money with politics, she will probably do a center fold. Now thats really going to get the empty headed play station generation to write 1000s of blogs.

This blog remains a reflection of Americas moronic priorities. Sorry if you are too moronic to realize!

John A   November 5th, 2010 10:03 am ET

Possibly you could all go to Egyptian Website, consulates, news papers and send your protest to where it matters.

Ohh!! but then you would need to do more than just talk among yourselves.

Is it any wonder America goes down the toilet faster than a man can flush? Morons wake up!!

MCS   November 5th, 2010 1:15 pm ET

It is easy to pinpoint the bad aspects of a poor, third-world, uneducated society and blame those people for it. It is easy to say oh they are so horny, they are so disrespectful etc... You talk about how rude, unethical or stupid these people are. But you must talk about the reasons for it.

But sadly that's all you do, Egypt is either a diving center or a historic museum for you. It is a place where you can spend some money and take a vacation. You assume by spending money in their country you do them a favor. You don't give a rat's .... about anything else. You go there and take your western values with you. I am sorry, do no expect them to be respected by some poor people while you go take a vacation while they serve you. And please don't complain about it saying " oh I was a German girl and I was harassed". Please.

I repeat: The title of this article is biased and targeting. It is normal it attracts comments like this.

Noliving   November 5th, 2010 4:16 pm ET

Or maybe John A its the fact that the Iraq war is essentially "over" for the US now that it is withdrawing and also the fact that the Iraq war has been going on for 7 years now, meaning that all that has been said about the war has already been said. And also the fact that violence is basically down 90% there. It's not much of a story anymore considering it has been done to death. This on the other hand is "new"

As for the Iraq war being "illegal", the invasion maybe illegal but the occupation is legal in that it has a UN resolution that sanctions the occupation of Iraq.

Also why is your focus on the Iraq war? The congo civil war has killed more people than other conflict since world war 2, yet everyone focuses on Iraq. Why?

Noliving   November 5th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

"Julia, At first there was one voice which told the king he had no clothes.
Somebody has to do it!"

No not really, there was really no need to complain about the number of responses to a blog post. The number of responses to a blog post does not demonstrate which topic has a priority or means more to someone it just might be a discussion people like or enjoy discussing. In this case this blog post, its responses are primarily from people that have had first hand experiences and or are from people who are from Egypt that are denying it.

People are more likely to make a comment about something they have experienced first hand, seeing as more Americans have probably had more personal experience with harassment in Egypt then they do with the war in Iraq(big surprise there right John?), they are probably more likely to comment about harassment in Egypt then about the war in Iraq. That doesn't mean people in America think harassment in Egypt is more important Iraq. You need to exercise some common sense John.

Noliving   November 5th, 2010 4:56 pm ET

"All men all over the world will wolf whistle or call at a girl !!
Not just Egypt
This article is stupid
Just in this last month their has been 3 occasions of rape in my town and I live in England So don't tell us about one experience you had in Egypt like it never happened to you anywhere else in the world!
You will find these men target the women that are not dressed "modestly" in their opinion,as in the west the men target the women dressed less modestly also for example the women with the tight mini skirts and the cleavage on full display,well these men are aiming at the "western dressed" women in the same way ... yes it's disgusting but it happens everywhere everyday I don't understand why Egypt is pin pointed....I mean what is the rape percentage in Egypt in comparison to say America?"

The reason why Egypt is being pin pointed is because it occurs at such a high rate compared to the rest of the world and not only that but it is so overt. I'm willing to bet that those three rapes in your town in England were probably committed someone from the middleeast or more likely south asia like Pakistan.

These men are targeting all women equally, it has nothing to do with dressing modestly, you could be wearing a burqa you will still get groped or harassed just as equally as those "western wearing" women.

The rape rate is most likely higher in Egypt then it is in the US but due to the culture in Egypt it isn't reported like it is in the US. A woman that is not able to successful prove they were raped will be accused instantly of adultery and if she isn't killed then she most likely will never be able to marry. Rape is a lot harder to prove for egyptian women because the culture there does not consider women's testimony to be equal to a man and they don't really have the ability to do DNA testing either. So if a man rapes a woman in room with no witnesses in Egypt he is basically off scott free and if the woman does say anything he will just deny it and with no witnesses and no DNA testing being done he is basically being let off scott free and the woman is instantly accused of adultery.

Sally Li   November 5th, 2010 4:56 pm ET

The writers who wrote comments to this story seem to confuse a lot of definitions. First, sexual harassment is not mentioned in the US Constitution, but freedom of speech is. Secondly, public indecency (such as the story about the taxi driver) is a separate category, as is menacing (the story about the crowd of young men following an American family who had a fourteen year old daughter with them). These are actual crimes, and always have been. Harassment is a crime too. But sexual harassment is a made-up, emasculating new category of deeming ordinary behavior as a crime, and the crime is defined not so much on objective standards as the actual behavior of the accused, but on the basis of whatever a so-called victim chooses to say about how they feel about the behavior of the accused – who may have done nothing more than look at them, or say "hi". The concept of sexual harassment was made up by feminists – who, considering all the problems in the world and all the real crimes going on, had nothing better to do than to saddle campus police, and then all other authorities, with their bogus politically correct notions of right and wrong without righteousness. Any attempt by Ms. Chiao or anyone else to impose American feminist standards on Egypt or any other Middle Eastern country is a form of harassment itself, and they are so unaccustomed to the real world outside the feminist-dominated American university artificiality, that they really cannot see what they are doing in a larger context, and they don't know how offensive it is to try to sanitize a Middle Eastern nation of its own culture by replacing that culture with American inverted ethics. In any viable country which is not dooming itself to extinction (as European countries and America seem to be with their low birth rates, delayed maturity, intimidated and heterophobic males, inverse population pyramids and inrush of immigration to fill the demographic vacuum) men DO communicate with women and – yes, girls – without fear of any silencing ombudsmen such as Harassmap or the National Organization for Women stalking them and monitoring their ordinary flirtations with their secret police tactics. I think Harassmap ought to preface its data with the comment "Big Sister is watching you!" This type of feminist thinking actually is rather dangerous to what is left of the entire Middle East peace process, because it is going to COMPLETELY discredit America and its feminist diplomatic corps in the eyes of the Arab-Iranian world (which includes both Afghanistan and Iraq) and act as the PERFECT RECRUITING DEVICE for the forces which American military operations are being waged against every day. I suggest that these silencing, censoring feminist busybodies who want to impose American political correctness on countries who find such concepts deeply offensive, read an American standard which predates feminism and is more objective and worthy – the US Constitution, in its original seven Articles and ten Amendments. There they will find the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment and Eighth Amendment, all of which feminists have made a mockery of. They will also find a clause which defines giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
I have one question for these politically correct, Campus Women's Center apparatchiks: Do you support increasing freedom and democratization in the Middle East and in other Asian and African nations? If you do, then how do you propose (oops, I said a bad word, didn't I?) . . . how do you propose to further the cause of democracy by imposing a whole new set of arbitary, non-indigenous totalitarian standards on countries which, as dictatorial as they are, are at least free of such razmatazz?
If you want to stop harassment in the international arena, why not do something more worthwhile – like stopping the constant and increasingly violent attempts by mainland China to harass and shut up other nations who are simply trying to maintain their own sovereignty and the integrity of their Governments against subversion, bribery, new-pattern colonization and territorial grabs?
As to these tourists from outside the Middle East who decide to visit Middle Eastern nations, what did you expect? A sanitized Disney World? Who ever heard of tourists insisting that exotic locations and entire Third World countries conform to their puritanical standards? Do yourself and the rest of the world (and your own country) a favor: spend your money at home, where you can be the eyes and ears of your own increasingly totalitarian government, and stimulate your own economy. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Noliving   November 5th, 2010 5:58 pm ET

For those that keep bringing up Egypt's "low" rape rate compared to other countries, more specifically the US. Well here is you answer for why it is so low:

"However, one stumbling block is that authorities refuse to admit there is a problem, Ghozlan said. And when they do, it's a question of "OK, it exists, but it's very exaggerated in the media."

According to her centre, of the 2 500 women who reported cases of sexual harassment to ECWR, only 12 percent went to the police with their complaint.

It is "a total lack of confidence in the police and judicial systems," she said.

Following the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in 2006, women's rights activists angrily spoke out against what they called authorities' acceptance of sexual harassment against women, after a mob of men openly molested women in central Cairo.

The incident was widely reported in the press, and some bloggers posted footage on their websites.

"They were touching women all over, the veiled ones and the non-veiled ones," said Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger who witnessed the event.

The interior ministry at the time denied any mass harassment took place, saying it had not received any formal complaints. – Sapa-AFP

http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/sexual-harassment-a-problem-in-egypt-1.377412

Only 12% reported their sexual harassment to Police.

So why don't more report it to the Police:

"A 21-year-old Egyptian woman named Reem recently interviewed by Bikya Masr, an online Egyptian news upstart, recounted being groped by a man on a Cairo bus, only to have police yawn and discourage her from filing a report. The shopping center security guard to whom my wife ran when she was being followed literally laughed at her.

Our Sudanese housekeeper was mugged and badly beaten by a young gang of Egyptian men in our neighborhood. When she limped to the police station for help, she was flatly ignored.

Egyptian police are often more eager to club peaceful demonstrators than impede or punish sexual assailants."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/100604/cairo-egypt-women-sexual-harassment?page=0,1

Egypt has a "low" rape rate because no one reports anything to the police and the reason why they don't report to the police is because the police just don't care if a woman is harassed or raped.

NEHA   November 5th, 2010 10:49 pm ET

OK listen up, this is so true you don't understand as you see the majority of you who say is not true are men. I am a woman living in Cairo being harassed by filthy low class men who dont understand what manners is, which include the police. For the people who don't think this is true explain how their was a girl who was raped for 12 days straight by three Egyptian men.. luckily she survived. I am a young girl who was been harassed multiple times and was about to get raped 3 times already... who ever disagree's with this has either not been in Egypt or is a man.

Amr Mohameda   November 6th, 2010 8:53 am ET

As we said it's the bad mentality that was risen on our minds using the following after Camp David agreement which just ended the military war against Egypt but opened a lot of other wars on Egypt :

-Like for example the series which was shown in Ramadan by Ahmed Mekky Mazarita which tries to program the Egyptian society for accepting the American as tutelage of Egypt and they are partners in our development which they are not and when ever it will happen we wont accept it

Why doesn't CNN attacks the jew for their terrorist against the muslims in Palestine and in every where, when one of your reporter said a word on the Jew he was faired

any way this is what suppose to happen it's written in our Quran that people of Isreal will rise two times in their life time so we expect this, and nothing happens without God permission

GuyinEG   November 6th, 2010 1:52 pm ET

I live in Cairo. Women get harassed here because men are sexually frustrated. They think foreign women are easy (from foreign satellite TV) so they are more of a target. You will find that the men who harass women are from the lower class which is the majority.

Hamid   November 6th, 2010 2:30 pm ET

Women in islam are worth half than men, what do you expect

A.S.   November 6th, 2010 5:59 pm ET

I went to the police station to report my incident. My expectation was not for them to find my attacker. It was to be ONE MORE person that tells the protective force in this country that harrassment does happen and it IS an issue that needs to be dealt with.

Going into the police station, my friend and I knew that our visit wouldn't be like reporting something in Canada. Although, I didn't think the police officer at the front desk would say "oh it happened because you are so beautiful" to which I responded "I know I am, now get me someone in charge who I can report this incident to". I was then asked to fill out a form (a blank sheet of paper) explaining the incident.

We went into an office upstairs where my friend and I explained our concern about harassment to a man, who spoke English. Out of respect, I used as much Arabic as I know in the conversation. He apologized and showed his interest, while realizing we were there to spark the conversation about the lack of concern for harassment on the streets by authorities.

Did I change personal security in Egypt? No. Are the men that sit on their cars around the medans going to stop calling at me when I walk by? Probably not. Going into the police station was not for justice or pride. It was to be passionate about an issue that concerns me and millions of other people around the world, even if I am just one person. Just one woman.

Rola   November 6th, 2010 7:50 pm ET

Women get harrassed all the time in Cairo – it is the single worst thing about living in such a vibrant, exciting city and is a key reason foreign women end up leaving.

The Harrassmap idea is 'well-meaning, but will it really make a difference? It's obvious that incidences of harrassment will be higher in poorer areas/downtown etc but even if you avoid all these neighborhoods and live an insular life in Maadi or Zamalek, as a woman, you will continue to be subjected to inappropriate comments and lewd looks, regardless of what you look like and what you are wearing.

The idea that men here are sexually frustrated due to 'later' marriages related to poverty is ridiculous. Walking aroung in 'western clothes,
I didn't see or experience any harrassment in conservative Aleppo where the women wear near-Niqab gear.

Islam promotes self-respect, decency and respecting women, treating them as 'sisters' etc. We definitely do not see this behaviour from over 90% of Egyptian men on the streets.

To all the men who harrass women anywhere, just remember, God is watching. And you will go straight to hell.

Amber   November 6th, 2010 10:57 pm ET

Egypt you are totally off my list.

chocofudges   November 6th, 2010 11:00 pm ET

This isn't new news. I think around a year ago a similar article was posted.

Part of the reason for sexual harassment is actually the poorer economy and overpopulation of Egypt; men are supposed to marry when they are financially stable, and do to the economy, this is harder to do.

Furthermore, with overpopulation, competition for jobs and a source of income as well as for wives is higher

I have been in Syria and my parents are Syrian, and I haven't seen this huge percentage happening there (not saying it doesn't). i know Syria is not the same as Egypt, just showing that this is a result of Islam since Syria is at least 75% muslim.

Sally Li   November 7th, 2010 4:53 am ET

Rola, (commenting November 5, 2010, at 7:50 ET) according to you, sexual harassment is a capital offense punishable by eternity in hellfire. That is really excessive, and you are referring to something which goes way beyond the definition of harassment, which – if it is a crime – is a crime of communication only. Again, this illustrates perfectly the feminist blurring of definitions, and lumping together of various crimes (muggings, other assaults, verbal battery, conspiracy, and other felonies) under the heading of harassment, which is a misdemeanor and a petty offense. In this way, the latest feminist crusade in the Middle East is charging forward at full tilt, its lance pointed straight at the venerable concept of due process. (Incidentally – all of the commentators who comment negatively about what they call "(sexual) harassment" are insulting at least some of their ancestors, whether they realize it or not. It is doubtful that any of them are descended from an unbroken patrilineal line of eunuchs completely devoid of any aggressive behavior – males who wouldn't be able to reproduce, but who would meet with the seal of approval from the feminist hecklers who, of course, are sure to go to heaven.)
First the feminists defined all sex as rape. Now they are defining all contact and all communication from males to females as a form of rape. The feminists will truly not be satisfied until everything male and human is roasting in hell for the crime of being male (which is going to be their next definition of rape in this progression), and acting as God intended males to act in order to procreate competitively, in ways which of course differ from one proliferative culture to another.
One logical flaw with the Harassmap idea is this: The people who are actually behaving offensively are not fixed objects, like the Pyramids or the Sphinx that so many tourists come to see, (while ignoring the real Egypt). These are people who can move around from one place to another. First feminists distorted history. Then we had feminist music – which is either monotone, or is produced and composed primarily by males; then we have feminist science and psychology – no sooner has homosexuality been divested of the stigma of a diseased condition, than feminists want to bestow the designation of "disorder" upon straight male behavior in an Arab country Now we have feminist geography, which seems to equate human beings with some type of poisonous flora. The truth is, all of this feminist ranting and rambling about harassment may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The ultimate case of sexual harassment by females against a male victim happened at Virginia Tech, and it was perpetrated by feminist administrators and instructors against a male student who was law-abiding and respectful – until they destroyed him with their defamatory campaign of personal destruction, and then the whole thing was whitewashed and swept under the rug in a multimillion dollar coverup, which included the jackboot exclusion of reporters from the campus. I am sure that the feminists who are tampering with the favorable disposition of the strongest ally the United States has in the Middle East will provoke a similar result as they did at Virginia Tech, but this time, on a much bigger scale, and with much more disastrous results – and this type of escalation is the predictable result of a corrupt pattern of obstruction. Feminist diplomatic bungling was the preceding cause of the Gulf War of the early 1990's.
The people who American troops are up against every day are well aware of the deceitful, tangled web of feminism, and because of it, they have absolutely no trouble recruiting more and more followers all the time – primarily because they use feminism as a perfect illustration of the type of horse-blinkered self-righteousness they are fighting against. In this way, they also win the hearts and minds of the typical Pakistani, Afghani, Yemini and Somali villager. They also convince the mullahs in Iran and other Islamicist-ruled nations that the Islamic way is a necessary antidote to American and Western evils. The feminists are also demoralizing men in America and in all countries of European heritage, as you can see by the birthrate patterns and unnaturally delayed maturity of the non-immigrant population. Thanks to the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars and billions of dollars in tuition money spent to subsidize feminist "research" and propaganda, the thousands of lives and trillions of dollars spent on the wars this country has fought over the past ten years are all going to be wasted – but there is no saying no to the feminist lobby, which controls the press, the broadcasting networks, the Governments of every Western nation, the educational systems in America and other countries, and the charitable organizations and tax-free foundations – and now, cyberspace, where they censor or throttle all opposition. The negativist feminist impulse is to CENSOR all words and actions which they find objectionable. It is time the feminists got a taste of their own medicine, before they completely hand North Africa and southern Asia over to the Islamists.

Sally Li   November 7th, 2010 5:08 am ET

Rola, (commenting November 5, 2010, at 7:50 ET) according to you, sexual harassment is a capital offense punishable by eternity in hellfire. That is really excessive, and you are referring to something which goes way beyond the definition of harassment, which – if it is a crime – is a crime of communication only. Again, this illustrates perfectly the feminist blurring of definitions, and lumping together of various crimes (muggings, other assaults, verbal battery, conspiracy, and other felonies) under the heading of harassment, which is a misdemeanor and a petty offense. In this way, the latest feminist crusade in the Middle East is charging forward at full tilt, its lance pointed straight at the venerable concept of due process. (Incidentally – all of the commentators who comment negatively about what they call "(sexual) harassment" are insulting at least some of their ancestors, whether they realize it or not. It is doubtful that any of them are descended from an unbroken patrilineal line of eunuchs completely devoid of any aggressive behavior – males who wouldn't be able to reproduce, but who would meet with the seal of approval from the feminist hecklers who, of course, are sure to go to heaven.)
First the feminists defined all sex as rape. Now they are defining all contact and all communication from males to females as a form of rape. The feminists will truly not be satisfied until everything male and human is roasting in hell for the crime of being male (which is going to be their next definition of rape in this progression), and acting as God intended males to act in order to procreate competitively, in ways which of course differ from one proliferative culture to another.
One logical flaw with the Harassmap idea is this: The people who are actually behaving offensively are not fixed objects, like the Pyramids or the Sphinx that so many tourists come to see, (while ignoring the real Egypt). These are people who can move around from one place to another. First feminists distorted history. Then we had feminist music – which is either monotone, or is produced and composed primarily by males; then we have feminist science and psychology – no sooner has homosexuality been divested of the stigma of a diseased condition, than feminists want to bestow the designation of "disorder" upon straight male behavior in an Arab country Now we have feminist geography, which seems to equate human beings with some type of poisonous flora. The truth is, all of this feminist ranting and rambling about harassment may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I am sure that the feminists who are tampering with the favorable disposition of the strongest ally the United States has in the Middle East will provoke a similar result as they did at a certain American university, but this time, on a much bigger scale, and with much more disastrous results – and this type of escalation is the predictable result of a corrupt pattern of obstruction. Feminist diplomatic bungling was the preceding cause of the Gulf War of the early 1990's. We need a revised and corrected version of feminist history – not as a collection of male sinners and feminist saints and martyrs, which adheres to the party line of "feminism can do no wrong, and males can do nothing right", , but a history which tells the truth about the extensive damage done by feminism to America in particular and to the Western world in general – including the damage which feminist lies have done to women!
The people who American troops must face on the battlefield every day are well aware of the deceitful, tangled web of feminism, and because of it, they have absolutely no trouble recruiting more and more followers all the time – primarily because they use feminism as a perfect illustration of the type of horse-blinkered self-righteousness they are fighting against. In this way, they also win the hearts and minds of the typical Pakistani, Afghani, Yemini and Somali villager. They also convince the mullahs in Iran and other Islamicist-ruled nations that the Islamic way is a necessary antidote to American and Western evils. The feminists are also demoralizing men in America and in all countries of European heritage, as you can see by the birthrate patterns and unnaturally delayed maturity of the non-immigrant population. Thanks to the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars and billions of dollars in tuition money spent to subsidize feminist "research" and propaganda, the thousands of lives and trillions of dollars spent on the wars this country has fought over the past ten years are all going to be wasted – but there is no saying no to the feminist lobby, which controls the press, the broadcasting networks, the Governments of every Western nation, the educational systems in America and other countries, and the charitable organizations and tax-free foundations – and now, cyberspace, where they censor or throttle all opposition. The negativist feminist impulse is to CENSOR all words and actions which they find objectionable. It is time the feminists got a taste of their own medicine, before they completely hand North Africa and southern Asia over to the Islamists.

EliSaudiArabia   November 7th, 2010 7:57 am ET

I lived in Egypt south of Cairo in Helwan for 1 year and I never suffered from any of these feeling of harassment. As an American egyptians are very afraid to sexually harass or even any type of harassment toward us. Our blue passport make it impossible for anyone to get away with anything. I believe this is a very biased blog and is quite unaccurate. I would probably make a poll before making such a general statement.

HKF   November 7th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

I think the problem is with Egyptian males themselves, these guys are beyound sexually frustrated, the ratio of men to women is astronomical...it is not about religion or creed..it is about upbringing and eduction or in his case the lack of it....Sexuall frustration among men usually leads to 3 possible outcomes: 1)sexual harrasement 2) rape 3) homosexuality.

cheers

mohamed elshaer   November 7th, 2010 3:38 pm ET

this is not fair ..its just happened once and the media take it as its a bomb,,while its happening everyday everywhere in the states, europe and all
i mean if this issue is all what u got about eygpt so ITS NOT FAIR

Duban   November 7th, 2010 6:04 pm ET

Actually, I feel very sorry about such a state of mess and for what happens to our guests when they pass by.

As for the article, I, PERSONALLY, think it just revolved around the issue and overlooked the root causes. It, for example, looks too hilarious of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights' Director to attribute the damn rising phenomenon to the bunch of people who came back from the gulf with bizarre beliefs. Assuming that's true, it reveals a much more terrible catastrophe – the community, about 80 millions, is totally fragile and vulnerable... (Better she doesn't implicitly and naively condemn our beloved regime again if she wanna stick in the chair;)

Sexual harassment, as I see, is a ring in a looong chain of deterioration and social collapse...

From among too many others, these findings might be of insight:
1) Egyptians live on just around 6% of the whole area (nearly 1 million Km).

2) More than 40% of the population lives below the poverty line (2$/day).

3) The government gives out about 5% of the GNP to EDUCATION and less than 2% to healthcare. Too generous, isn't it?

4) Like 40% of the domestic investments occurs in Cairo!!! And sure you either see or hear how clean and beautiful it is!

5,6,7,8,9,....) We have a man in office since 1981 – 3 years before I was born.

DKF   November 7th, 2010 6:18 pm ET

Absolutely true!

It is, unfortunately, an epidemic in Egypt! I don't agree however that it has originated from the Gulf, rather from a lack of education.

An URGENT awareness campaign should be launched; something which strikes a cord showing that these "women" could be your mother, your sister or your wife – hopefully that can make a change. But again, it all comes down to education, or lack of it.

But – to all those who deny it – it is absolutely true! The percentage of tourists who RETURN to Egypt is about 13% – one of the main reasons is because of sexual harassment, and other sorts of harassment as experienced at the cultural sites, holiday resorts, bazaars, etc.

Very sad.

Hanna   November 7th, 2010 7:31 pm ET

It is true – I've experienced it myself many times. I live in Europe, but I travel a lot, to many different countries. I was in Egypt a few times and every time there were men who tried to harass me. Pity, because it's such a lovely place, with its heritage, beautiful weather, amazing reef...
I'm sure sexual harassment also happens in other countries, but I've never and nowhere experienced it to that degree like in Egypt.
My warm greetings to Egyptian women

sam   November 7th, 2010 11:23 pm ET

I guess you missed the question which is WHY IS sexual harassement in Egypt & not ARE there any sexual harrasement in Egypt or not. I'm a 35 Egyptian male & I can easily confirm the existance of sexual harrasement in Egypt.
I guess its not the point to compare the SH with other countries as this is not the point. The point is WHY????
Laws, rules, legiselation ....etc. are true, but what else??? From my point of view, this comes from the absence of sex education / knowledge as sex is always a taboo or restricted area for boys & girls to talk about with adults. Second, western movies that comes from all over the globe that show a man picking up a girl / woman and having sex with her without knowing each other. In other words, its so normal & easy to have sex with a foreign lady; its shown clearly in the movies.
I'm not saying that an execuse, but its how they see it in movies

sam   November 7th, 2010 11:23 pm ET

I guess you missed the question which is WHY IS sexual harassment in Egypt & not ARE there any sexual harassment in Egypt or not. I'm a 35 Egyptian male & I can easily confirm the existence of sexual harassment in Egypt.
I guess its not the point to compare the SH with other countries as this is not the point. The point is WHY????
Laws, rules, legislation ....etc. are true, but what else??? From my point of view, this comes from the absence of sex education / knowledge as sex is always a taboo or restricted area for boys & girls to talk about with adults. Second, western movies that comes from all over the globe that show a man picking up a girl / woman and having sex with her without knowing each other. In other words, its so normal & easy to have sex with a foreign lady; its shown clearly in the movies.
I'm not saying that an excuse, but its how they see it in movies

John A   November 8th, 2010 12:20 pm ET

Meanwhile in America:
http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2000/06/12/2000-06-12_central_park_terror___gang_o.html

Hey lets see if we can reach 200 blogs for this topic. Its the most important topic in the world. Discussing sexism in Egypt will stop the world from crashing and burning. Its gonna fix America's corrupted economy, its gonna give America jobs, its gonna bring peace to the middle east, its gonna unite Korea. Its just so important that we should have at least another 200 dorks concentrate on this dribble.

Alternatively you could focus your energy on something that will improve your lives. Oh no, its much easier to attack other cultures.

Some dork wrote, Iraq is an old story. Thats why he doesn't care about that topic any more.

This has to be the definition of being a dork: "Iraq's boring now".

Sorry mate, America is not out of Iraq and has no intention to get out. This is just the beginning. Hey but if your bored of the demise of America, thats no problem. Lets focus our energy on sexism or the super bowl, that much easier.

Lets Scrutinize This   November 9th, 2010 2:10 am ET

This is horrifying, not the article, but the ridiculous comments posted by my fellow Egyptians. I shamefully know and recognize that, like a medieval plague, sexual harassment is now an epidemic that is preying on our cultural fabric and values. One must, thoroughly and objectively, think this through to accurately pin point this plague's roots and evict it. After extensively studying this epidemic in the different cultures of the world and throughout different time eras, I found that we, as Egyptians, are living in a state of social chaos. The symptoms of this chaos aren't limited or restricted to harassment among different sexes, harassment among one's own sex, or sexual harassment in general, but boundless. From husbands that slaughter their own wives and families to school teachers that beat their students to the death, almost all of the drama we witness on our "independent" satellite channels can be associated with this "social state of chaos".

Hope   November 9th, 2010 7:02 am ET

What the hell are you suffering from now John A? going around paranoiacly counting numbers on blogs..posting 10 year old outdated articles..throwing accusations echoing insults (morons & dorks) on folks who's guilt is sharing their sexual harassment experiences..Did it bother you THAT MUCH? humm wonder why!! There is an overall diversity of topics on this blog.. no one can predict which will, or not be commented on the most..the words of spontaneity takes its own course in an open forum.. btw how was your kite flying session, did it help relief some stress.

Marina Saleeb   November 9th, 2010 8:53 am ET

This issue of sexual harassment has been the norm in Egypt for as long as I can remember, making your testimony of fighting back understood and highly praised. As Egypt transforms into a leading Arab nation, it is no wonder new demands for rights have emerged. You state that this harassment may stem from the "conservative interpretations of Islam from the Gulf over the past 30 years." As true as this may be, it also poses the question as to why Western ideals have not taken root over this orthodox influence. If Egypt has adopted new advances, such as technology from the West, it would seem as though some deterioration of conservative ideals would accompany the availability of open source networks. Or do you believe that this Western mentality on the Internet has actually perpetuated the mens' behaviors? It is interesting whether the Internet is a double-edged sword when it comes to advancing women's rights in Arab nations. With Egypt having one of the highest rates of women subjected to sexual harassment in the world, it is disheartening to discover that the government is just now deciding to act. Do you think that if there were not a surplus of women speaking out on the web, the government would not seek a solution? It appears as if Egypt has waited as long as it could to deal with this issue. However, the women are proving themselves to be worthy opponents through their initiatives, even if they are met with some limitations.

The largest obstacle facing this fight is summed up in your last statement claiming that change starts with the men. Although womens' voices are the driving force for this change, it will not occur without the transformation of the mentality of the men with the power to change the law. As much as women campaign, the men still hold most positions of authority in Egypt. This does not mean that women have no say at all, but rather that through political strength is a realistic approach to garner change. If the women activists embrace this need for a symbiotic relationship with the men, then their efforts could better focus on seeking change and thus gaining legal rights for women. Even the head of HarassMap, Rebecca Chiao, sees advances in eradicating harassment through technology as the beginning for true change. Although Egypt has progressed in the past decade, the domination of males is fact. A new law, forcing men to listen, will be the beginning of a life free of harassment for the women in Egypt. It is a world I anticipate for you and I along with women around the world.

John A   November 9th, 2010 10:52 am ET

Hope, Possibly John Lennon expressed my point in a much better way. So "congratulations" to you all, for talking about sexism, this – ism that – ism and utterly failing to exert any public pressure to give peace a chance in all the current war zones. As Lennon observed, your priorities are ridiculous. You didn't get it then and you wont get it now. Suckers!

Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism,
Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m is-m is-m.
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

C'mon
Ev'rybody's talking about
ministers, Sinister, Banisters,
And canisters, Bishops, Fishops,
Rabbis, and Pop eyes, Bye bye, bye byes.
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, Evolution, mastication,
flagellation, regulation, integrations,
meditations, United Nations,
Congratulations.
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Oh let's stick to it,
Ev'rybody's talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper,
Darek Taylor, Norman Mailer,
Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna, Hare Hare Krishna.

Filipe   November 9th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

John A,

If you don't like the subject of the blog...... go somewhere else.
If you prefer another blog subject.............. go somewhere else.
If you just like to whine and cry and complain......... go somewhere else.

If you think your comments are aimed at avoiding world wide economic and social collapse.............................. Go to the appropriate blog.

Those who comment here do so of there own choice................ Just because you don't like is of little interest or impact to others who choose to participate !!!

Egyptian/Canadian   November 9th, 2010 3:55 pm ET

In Montreal and in Italy it is very common for women to get slapped or pinched on the ass. In Montreal by passing cars and Italy it doesn't even matter if the girls have a guy with them not to mention how many times guys hit on girls. I'm not denying the existence of a problem, but I believe that perspective has a lot to do with there being an issue. Guys the world over refer to and talk about girls in negative connotations

Ever really listened to the lyrics of a rap song???

Egyptian/Canadian   November 9th, 2010 4:00 pm ET

My point is basically focus on the real issues I'm hearing a lot of talk about problems that exist the world over but are not as talked about. A guy masturbating in public is a problem. Grabbing? walk down certain streets in Washington D.C. and see if u make it to the end without a guy grabbing u!

Egyptian/Canadian   November 9th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

@ Fuerza I totally agree with your comment, my sister sometimes gets scared of walking outside or driving alone and I tell her when u get scared or show fear u invite the wolves, a frightened/submissive girl walking on the street is more likely to get harassed. Women have to stand up more for themselves they shouldn't wait for guys to stand up for them and right now 50% of the time guys will help a woman who is standing up for herself eventually with continued resistance, it will be a 100% of the time and that's how u beat this issue.

Sally Li   November 9th, 2010 5:23 pm ET

John A, you are completely right about that. Thanks to John A (and John L) for the lyrics. Has anyone seen the stories about South Africa and the incidence of rape there? First, an article in 2009 stating that one in every four males in South Africa has committed rape as a form of "male bonding" (?) and now, a very recent sickening article about teachers in South Africa who failed to report a gang rape on school grounds (well, no wonder, because it is becoming internationally known that teachers who do report abuse run the risk of being imprisoned and blackmailed themselves by corrupt authorities.) I saw (on this blog) a statistic – not straight out of the book "How To Lie With Statistics", but an appropriate update to it – stating that the incidence of rape in South Africa is about one per cent, and using this obviously flawed statistic to bash Egypt!
Rape is a serious crime of violence, it is a form of the ultimate and longest war in history, the war of failed men against women. Sexual harassment is a made-up offense which didn't even exist 40 years ago, except in the fever swamps of feminist innovators. Sexual harassment, by anything approaching a coherent definition, involves only communication of intent – and criminalizing such behavior is part and parcel of the feminist technique of brainwashing the world to surrender its civil liberties to the juggernaut of the feminist war on civilization. The war of failed men against women is not right – and it is also wrong and equally warlike to wage the totalitarian war of self-righteous vengeance against men who are decent, as can be made clear when the defamation of feminist propaganda is taken out of the picture.
Those who equate "sexual harassment" with rape and everything else – blurring the definition of a non-entity without first adequately defining it – are undermining due process and the rule of law. Sexual harassment, and harassment itself, have elastic definitions – any behavior, from the most repugnant to the most innocent, can be lumped together, blurred, and swept into their rubber-band vortex of freedom-crushing newspeak. Of course the behavior described in this article about Egypt may be offensive, but it is not illegal, and ought not to be made the object of a feminist crusade in the Middle East as it has been in America. The Egyptians, facing the prospect of sharia from the direction of the Islamists, now face the prospect of a feminist sharia as well, so Egypt is really caught in the pincers!
The societies in which women and girls are most endangered and oppressed are not the most vibrant and expressive, such as Egypt or Italy, but rather the most repressed, and those in which everyone is under some type of blanket of fear regarding any communication at all. Look for the environments where things are a little too quiet.
One important thing about this Egyptian phenomenon of very open and public form of vibrant male communication in a proliferative society, is this: If an otherwise law-abiding man were seriously intent on committing an actual crime against a female, the last thing he would do is communicate his intent, draw attention to himself, communicate openly and in public in a way which makes his identity known to the community, or provide authorities with a trail of evidence. Now, given the high likelihood that this is true, we see the obsessive feminist crusade against decent men generally and against Egyptians in particular, for what it really is – an attempt to criminalize the innocent.
Feminists – including the brainwashed men who are trying to fit in to some feminist definition of gallantry which will ultimately destroy you too – you must realize that the good men who you are jeopardizing all have mothers, sisters and other loved ones whose hearts you are breaking. This idea that feminism is always good for all females in all times and all places ought to be subject to some good healthy scholarly criticism – but don't hold your breath waiting for it.
These people who have been snookered into following the feminist propaganda need to realize that tolerating objectionable behavior and objectionable speech is the price we are all obligated to pay for living in a free society. Nations need to learn to tolerate objectionable behavior in each other too, in order to fulfill a mutual obligation to live in a world ruled by law, rather than by war.

Hope   November 10th, 2010 7:00 am ET

still @ it John A!!..tell me something..

You launched a campaign of verbal harassment on all 193 comments, well -6 of whom are saintly yours...firing ridicules for misplacing our worldly priorities..but did not condemn nor disapprove off cnn's contributors Ben Wedeman or Mary Rogers..how come?

Since your point is "Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation, Integrations, Mediations, United Nations"...why not direct your flagellation to the editors as well? I mean here's an opportunity to rip off their ears (revolution) for wasting time on a ridiculous perverted topic, ignoring wars famine and diseases

btw, it's masturbation NOT mastication.. silly you.

John A   November 10th, 2010 9:10 am ET

Hope, its seems you are slowly getting the point. But CNN and lame stream media wont change until people pressure the change. Until then, all you will hear is news on Lady Gaga, Super Bowl and how Israel was right to kill 1400 civilians in Gaza. Meanwhile Wall Street robs main street and your liberties are taken away to fight the ghost of Osama. Freedom has a price and being distracted with gossip blog debates like this article is not gonna help you get a media which holds its own government accountable.

Do you even know that yesterday a missile was launched of the coast of California?

All this security BS for 10 years and according to the US military nobody knows where the missile came from or where it went????. So don't be surprised if in a few months a jet liner goes down and some unrelated group America wants a war with gets the blame again. But this deserves a lot less attention than boys whistling at girls in Egypt, give me a break.

p.s. Im surprised CNN allowed you to post the word "Masturbation", but I'm not surprised that they totally failed to cover the missile story.

Jaime   November 10th, 2010 5:09 pm ET

People, if you want to see Pyramids without the bad smells and disrespect, travel to none other, Mexico!

Filipe   November 10th, 2010 5:21 pm ET

John A,

Your goal has been achieved......Dork !!!

Filipe   November 10th, 2010 5:25 pm ET

John A,

A team of indepent aeronautical experts have ruled out the missle theory. They claim a missle would not leave type of vapor trail shown on the video. They have concluded that it was really Superman. So, to CNN's credit, it is hardly newsworthy.

miriam   November 10th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

John A,

It was most likely an optical illusion, but since you are obsessed with illusions it makes a change for you to believe it to be something solid.

And if it was a missile, so what? There are many rockets fired from the west coast of California every year.
Why should this one attract media attention?

You're just trying, again, to distract attention from an important topic which cannot be twisted to fit in with your warped ideology.

Ariely   November 12th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

Mr Takiyya- laying to infidels -John A
-
One can agree or disagree with the comments-however they were in line with the debated subject>
-
Except one- the laying to infidel's propagandist in line with the Takiyya cult:
-
Although the following is not related to the debated subjects – the truth should be spoken:
-----------------------------
Hamas officials published this week that 700 terrorist and not 150 have been killed in the last defending Israel operation
------------------------------
Stop firing, killing,using human shields and blame the defending Israel.
-
Palestrina's leaders recorded words in Arabic.(not in English LAYING TO INFIDELS)
*WE IMPOSE A NEW NON CONVENTIONAL EQUATION IN WARS.
Hiding among civilians prevents armies with western values the ability to fight.
Khalid Mash'al on Al-Jazeera -
*Hamas leader Hammad on Al-Aqsa TV.
We used Women and children to form Human Shields.
They are saying to Zionist:
We desire death like you desire life.

k.hassan   November 15th, 2010 12:39 am ET

all kind of harassment are in EGYPT like 24/7 by every one even old man and kids and all kind of workers i am from U.S.A and mom and dad are from EGYPT and we came here for me its hell but i fell in love and got married. as u say awwww no because you cant know if he loves me for me or for going to the U.S.A and all the time i cant do any thing i was so happy fun working girl .. now i cant do any thing because of what will people do, think and say, and how they will look at u.
i have been harassment all my life ... can i tell my man that ..?? no ,because he will say will u did it to Ur self . people here always attack you man don't know how to be man in EGYPT i am sorry guys its not all abut sex .......... if ur a man so how come we are all scared allll the time from u ....oh being scared is not respect...

Unknown   November 15th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

i was sexually harassed in a place that the word sex isnt even freely spoken its a disgrace to our culture and it makes a person never feel safe again just one of these indecents specially in a certain age can be tromatising to a child ; i was once but no for the first time in makka with my parents we were visiting Al Kaaba ! one night we were out for dinner in a mall , malls in these places are known not very developed and also not very clean but the thing thats certain is that the people there believe in God and whats forbidden (haram) & whats not , we should feel safe in a city so close to god so close to our hearts and so cultural and full of musslim believers and also religious people , i felt that in a mall i didn't need to put my esharp (hejab for prayer) so i took it off and i was wearing a long what we call "galabeya " my mom was wearing big pants and a baggy long sleaves with and esharp around her head but not back like most saoudian women white and stylish we're fully covered and with style i was 10 i didn't need an eshap outta of the ka3ba so we went to this shop and my dad was with us the owner was very nice my hair was straight so he was caressing it like they do for little children infront of my dad it was a friendly move , so later my dad left and we stayed in that shop looking around i was shocked when the owner put his hand in between my legs in my gentle area and kept moving his hand and playing with it then he left quickly my mom didnt see him but i was 10 inocent i didnt undestand what that move ment so i went to the casher and bougth what i needed fast and my mom kept saying lets go leave these things lets go so i thought why is she in such a hurry so i figured maybe he did the same to her but she said he only pinched her in her leg maybe she said that cause im a child she didnt wanna tell me something inappropriate ! we spoke of this to no one both of us we went to the car to my dad and we told him lets leave fast but we never told him cause we we're afraid he would do something crazy . So we left and that man stayed there and who knows whether or not he did this to someone else and what a pervert how can he do this to me while im 9 or 10 ,,but know that am a grown up and fully understand what that move meant .i really wish we would've told my dad and saved many other women from this incident & the most shocking how could he dare to do this in a religious place how does he even live here without being close to god , i never forgot this incident and i am truly sad to know that this happens to women in more sevear ways all over the world & i wish every single person who ever makes a women or a child in some cases boys uncomfertable in that way that god may perish them and may they all GO TO HELL ! and have a very baaadd life !! & get nothing but what they give .

Noliving   November 17th, 2010 11:53 pm ET

Lol John A: "Some dork wrote, Iraq is an old story. Thats why he doesn't care about that topic any more."

Sorry that "dork" didn't say he didn't care about that topic anymore, this is what he said:

"Or maybe John A its the fact that the Iraq war is essentially "over" for the US now that it is withdrawing and also the fact that the Iraq war has been going on for 7 years now, meaning that all that has been said about the war has already been said. And also the fact that violence is basically down 90% there. It's not much of a story anymore considering it has been done to death. This on the other hand is "new""

You also have yet to explain why you are such a hypocrite when it comes to Congo war. That war has killed more people than any other conflict since world war 2 and is still on going and yet you focus all your attention on the Iraq war.

I'll also repeat this part considering it hasn't seemed to set in to your brain yet:

"No not really, there was really no need to complain about the number of responses to a blog post. The number of responses to a blog post does not demonstrate which topic has a priority or means more to someone it just might be a discussion people like or enjoy discussing. In this case this blog post, its responses are primarily from people that have had first hand experiences and or are from people who are from Egypt that are denying it.

People are more likely to make a comment about something they have experienced first hand, seeing as more Americans have probably had more personal experience with harassment in Egypt then they do with the war in Iraq(big surprise there right John?), they are probably more likely to comment about harassment in Egypt then about the war in Iraq. That doesn't mean people in America think harassment in Egypt is more important Iraq. You need to exercise some common sense John."

You really do need to exercise some common sense John!

mohamed elshaer:

No it is fair because Egypt has a much higher rate of Sexual harassment then other parts of the world including Europe and North America. And no it didn't just happen one time and the media is over exaggerating it. This happens on a daily basis to Egyptian women far more often then it does to women in other parts of the world. The vast majority of egyptian women are harassed on nearly a daily basis, your not going to find that high level of sexual harassment in Europe or North America.

John A   November 24th, 2010 4:33 pm ET

Noliving, No wonder you can write huge blogs of dribble. You even relate the Congo war to an Inside the Middle East blog.

You finish your mountain of dribble with, "The vast majority of Egyptian women are harassed on nearly a daily basis, your not going to find that high level of sexual harassment in Europe or North America".

Try asking all the Mexican & Eastern European girls who have been tricked into a life of Western sex slavery (many thousands every year) that Egyptian harassment is worse.

Get out of your armchair, get a life, grow up and grow out of your racially inspired BS.

Noha   November 30th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

Girls who drive from door to door are not harassed. So, this percentage is only true if 83% of women in Egypt don't drive, which i personally doubt. If you are not walking or using public transportation you will very rarely be subjected to these situations.

Fiona   December 1st, 2010 9:47 pm ET

To all Egyptian men saying "its not true"..... SHUT YOUR YAPS!!!

Noliving   December 2nd, 2010 1:31 am ET

What is your point John A?

Your argument the entire time is that the Iraq war is the most important world topic and that any other topic that receives more comments is a disgrace.

Ya who would have thought you can relate a war with another war in a different region of the world. You are a hypocrite.

Unless the rate is 83% of all mexican women and eastern european women are being sold into sex slavery your argument is nothing more than a pathetic strawman argument and is irrelevant considering the fact that the topic is how often it, sexual harrassment, occurs, not how "bad/severe" the event of a sexual harrassment is. Besides women are tricked into a life of sex slavery all the time in Egypt. Not only that but Egypt is also a desitination for sex slaves, particularily kurdish women from the syrian, iraqi, turkey, and iranian nations. Egyptian children are trafficked all the time in Egypt.

Here you don't believe me? Read this link:

http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/to_better_know_a_country_human_trafficking_in_egypt

Why is it so difficult for you to admit that women are more likely to be sexual harrassed in Egypt then they are in Mexico or Latin America or Europe or North America?

"Get out of your armchair, get a life, grow up and grow out of your racially inspired BS."

Or you could grow up and grow out of your racially inspired BS and get out of your armchair by just admitting that your a hypocrite when it comes ot the Iraq and Congo war and also the fact that sexual harrassment occurs more frequently in Egypt than it does in North America and Europe, and also admit that you don't use commonsense, here I'll repeat the commonsense part again for ya:

"No not really, there was really no need to complain about the number of responses to a blog post. The number of responses to a blog post does not demonstrate which topic has a priority or means more to someone it just might be a discussion people like or enjoy discussing. In this case this blog post, its responses are primarily from people that have had first hand experiences and or are from people who are from Egypt that are denying it.

People are more likely to make a comment about something they have experienced first hand, seeing as more Americans have probably had more personal experience with harassment in Egypt then they do with the war in Iraq(big surprise there right John?), they are probably more likely to comment about harassment in Egypt then about the war in Iraq. That doesn't mean people in America think harassment in Egypt is more important Iraq. You need to exercise some common sense John."

Noha: You do realize that people all around the world, including the US don't drive each time they go from door to door and if you bothered to read some of these comments the sexual harrassment even occurs on public transportation, in stair ways or in retail/market places or hallways in buildings.

Noliving   December 2nd, 2010 2:00 am ET

Also John can you please show me where my posts are racially inspired? Because honestly your whole last line here:

"Get out of your armchair, get a life, grow up and grow out of your racially inspired BS."

Is nothing but BS. Heck lets compare who posts more on CNN middleeast blog, I bet you do.

satiyha   December 21st, 2010 11:49 am ET

Egyptians are in total denial if they do not want to accept that sexual harassment in Egypt is rampant. My friend was harassed in the streets of Cairo while wearing traditional Islamic attire and being pregnant! She even heard people saying that sexual harassment happens because some women wear tight clothes!! They do not seem to realize that it happens because some guys are just retarded. The whole thing was infuriating! Btw, the level of fear, blindness and "mind your own business" mind set is rampant too. Hopefully the media and this kind of online debates will bring some enlightenment and education and they will be able to build a better, presentable and civilized society.

satiyha   December 21st, 2010 12:06 pm ET

We might have harassment in US or in Europe, bu we can sue them, we can take them to jail, we can make them register as sex offenders. All countries have problems, but the difference is that civilized countries have laws to fix them.

jill   December 21st, 2010 3:28 pm ET

American rape statistic may be high due to the fact that we have strong willed women in America that will stand up for thier human right & put forth a report, unlike our females in Egypt who seemed highly supressed & coming forward to make such a complaint about rape would be frowned upon. I would'nt even doubt it if it's political issue & the goverment in Egypt would go as far as hiding the stats.
I recently was a tourist in Egypt with my Arab fiance. We spent a lot of time traveling the whole country. I left the country with very mixed feelings. First off total culture shock, I was expecting harassment but not in your face non stop everytime you left the room of your hotel. I was the subject of sexual harrassement when my fiance left me for a meer 10 mins to pray in the mosque in Cairo near the markets. Instantly I had men taking thier turns on me asking me sexual questions. I thought dressing very reserved & keeping my eyes & head down would keep me clear of any of this unwanted attention, but biy was I ever wrong! After I was asked how many times a day I have sex & how good it was & had my pic taken numerous times I fled across the street just in time before another flock of men were about to approach me. Thank god my fiance came out of the mosque. Never again will I visit this country. I am very glad I got to see want I came to see.
I felt depressed by the long faces on people. You had to becarfeul not to smile as or make eye contact as that was a invitation to men for unwanted attention. We have it good in North America & for those of you who don't know it visit Egypt, it will change your perspective in a flash!

I really hate to be negative about country as I try to be as open minded as anything, but it was depressing, no smiling, dirty, dead animals on the road, children smoking, kids with flies all over thier faces. SHAME on the goverment too!!! The billions of dollars that get pumped into the Egyptian economy & where the heck does it get spent! not even on your own people, clean up your country, take the garbage away from the streets, and pick up your dead animals!
BTW I am a Canadian not American:)

alley   January 3rd, 2011 2:51 pm ET

I visited Egypt for 2 months on my own and did not find the sexuall harrasment to be all that big of a deal. Italy and Spain are much worse. I found the average working man in Egypt to be respectuful, honest and decent. Now the street hustlers are a different story but most countries have guys like this..just avoid them and do not even respond.

Kadry Britain   February 16th, 2011 8:05 pm ET

My mother is Egyptian and our family would vacation in Egypt every couple of years. I distinctly remember one occasion in the early Seventies, I had been entrusted to a cousin's care for the day and we were driving to Montaza, a popular resort in Alexandria with a group of his friends, all young men around 16-18 years old. As we were driving my cousin Ali noticed a man and a woman arguing on the sidewalk; the woman turned to walk away and the man held on to her arm. The entire street screeched to a halt. Ali and his friends jumped out of the car (leaving it and me in the middle of the street!), grabbed this guy and gave him a beating I'm sure he'll never forget. That's the way Egypt used to be. The incident stayed with me all my life. I can only guess that increasingly dire living conditions, and population densities has slowly eroded social values. I once saw an experiment where a fixed living space was steadily filled with more and more mice over a period of months. At a certain point their entire social behaviour changed dramatically with much higher levels of violence including aberrent behaviour towards females.

Mrs LKSW   February 21st, 2011 9:12 am ET

@Kadry Britain,

Your experience from the early '70s, when your cousin and friends jumped to intervene when a stranger mistreated his female companion on the sidewalk in Montaza, reminds me of a similar altercation (with different results) that I saw when visiting Cairo in 2007.

One evening in Zamalek, my friends and I heard shouting up the road from us. A man was yelling at and slapping his female companion, who wasn't resisting. No passersby did anything but stop and gawk. The man knocked the woman to the pavement, and continued to punch her with great force. At this point, my surprise wore off and I shouted "La! Haram! La! La!" (No! Shame! No!) and ran towards them, waving my arms. The man stopped attacking her, swore at the top of his voice at me, and stalked away. There was utter silence around us as I helped the woman to her feet. She was weeping but would not accept any more help, just brushed herself off and limped off in the same direction as the man. My Egyptian friends were angry with me for trying to help. "He might have attacked you as well!" they said. "You must never, never get involved when that happens..." No one else had said or done anything to stop the abuse. And when the "show" was over, after people stopped gawking, they went along with their business as usual, enjoying their pleasant evening in a beautiful neighbourhood.

Artchyk1000   February 21st, 2011 6:20 pm ET

I was in Egypt (Cairo), Turkey and Greece 13 months ago, with differing levels of sexual harrasment and inappropriate behavior. I was traveling alone, but with a tour group. I always dress very conservatively, and made sure I was extra cautious in Egypt. I am also over 50 years old, blonde.
I experienced everything from the catcalling, deragatory comments walking down the street, the grabbing while trying to buy souvenirs, being corned in market booths, to my bodyguard even trying to hit on me! I also observed the treatment of Egyptian women, the saddest being watching an old burqa wearing grandma carrying a burden on her head be shoulder "punched" by young men as she tried to make her way down the street. Hostility seethed in the air in Cairo. I am so sad as I looked forward so much to visiting this country all my life, and to see what "fundamentalism" is doing to part of the world and the existence of traditional sexism. One only has to read more upon return by Unicef about female castration in Egypt and other countries to understand the truly monstrous conditions endured by women there. As for Middle Eastern women advising "just don't look or talk to anyone, and never be alone" what the heck kind of world is that to live in? How primitive.

Sally Li   February 25th, 2011 8:06 am ET

You will notice that on November 5, 7, and 9, 2010, I predicted that this feminist crusade against sexual harassment (which is already bad enough in countries like the US) would be so incendiary in Egypt that it would discredit America in a way which would trigger a wave of Islamist-influenced revolution, and overturn Western influence in most if not all of the Middle East.
My prediction of explosive spreading revolutionary ferment in North Africa and southwestern Asia was right on the mark, and remarkable in the context of intelligence failure.
The CIA and the rest of the US Government were blindsided by the fall of Mubarak.
I wasn't.
I predicted this, and more, months before it happened – and I was among the first. Read my comments, and if you are reading them in order to understand what I am saying, rather than to jump immediately to some half-baked rebuttal, you will find that conclusion inescapable.
I also predicted in this forum and in other places that America could very well bring about its own defeat in the war on terror, by insisting on carrying this feminist baggage around in its pocketbook to the bitter end.
America can have strident feminist extremism, or a victory in the war on terror, but it cannot have both. It is one thing for American influence to work against repression of women and girls in the Middle East, but it is quite another thing, and a MAJOR BLUNDER, for America and other Western nations to export extremist feminist propaganda and the war on maleness to the Middle East, especially during a war on terror in which we depend on viable local alliances. This feminist crusade is extremely offensive and threatening to the mind of the typical Arab man. And there will be further consequences if this crusade is not ended now. The initial overthrow of dictators always results in a rush of expectation of freedom, whether it happened in the French Revolution, or in the fall of the Iron Curtain. But in that initial rush, we have no idea what form the post-revolutionary government will take in any country. My prediction is that if this feminist crusade does not end now, and is not uprooted in America (together with the anti-male vilification and abuse of process resulting from it) the form of government which will typically emerge from the Arab Spring will increasingly take the shape of a long, hot summer of anti-American and Islamist consensus.
America cannot be a free society and a society which is increasingly based upon feminist ideology. It will inevitably uproot either freedom or feminist blundering.
The feminists themselves are the biggest harassers. They are well on the way to changing America into a society in which the good men who they have been crusading against for 44 years are either defamed, emasculated, entrapped, ruined,or gone.
NO ARAB OR MUSLIM MAN WANTS TO LIVE LIKE THAT~!
They know what has happened in America.
The real wellspring of this international revolt spanning the globe from Morocco to the Persian Gulf and beyond, may seem to be some type of yearning for the "freedoms" of the West. We don't know for sure yet, because the smoke hasn't cleared.
But if America really expects to nurture this aspiration for world-class civil liberties in the Arab world, we cannot bring this about by allowing the shrill propaganda of the feminists to trample the delicate sapling of freedom, for the sake of creating a straw-man argument and fomenting outrage about it in a way that is sure to backfire. And we must stop the abuse of American men by feministic howls of outrage about nothing. When American men are abused and corruptly attacked by smug people in Government and other feminist-dominated estates in our society, it is big news among those who are trying to drive American troops off the battlefields. If we pose as a beacon of freedom to the men whose hearts and minds we must win over in order to at least achieve a creditable stalemate in the war on terror, we cannot sell them that freedom now by truthfully pointing to the way American men live as an example for how they should live too – and we cannot lie to them. We need to admit that feminism has gone too far, we need to stop trying to export the worst and most excessive manifestations of feminism to the Arab and Muslim world, and we need to restore Constitutional guarantees which have been completely usurped by feminist innuendo and witch-hunting tactics.
And if our Government cannot understand that, WE just might take to the streets, because Government in America has gotten a little too big for its britches, and WE are tired of the bloated budgets, the lower court corruption, the pathologically lying cops, the foreign aid, the failing public schools and the high tax burden they impose on us, the arrogant government careerists who think the world owes them a living, the increasing intrusiveness, and the disregard for our civil liberties, the erosion of the tax base, and the constant bureaucratic spitting in the faces of the true and forgotten American heroes who defend our Constitutional freedoms on the battlefield and at home with their lives and sacred HONOR.

PM   June 20th, 2011 1:25 pm ET

I'm Indian, 18. From New Delhi. I've come to Cairo on an internship and in the past 1 week since I landed here i've noticed a lot of cat-calling, men tying to press up against me, whistling and most shockingly 12 year old boys shouting out.

The reason i'm posting a comment is to highlight the difference in the situation between Cairo (capital of poor, developing, highly populated nation) and New Delhi (also the capital of a poor, developing, over populated nation).

First off Tenwang's comment is absolutely untrue:
"here in India, it is the same.... and i don't see it improving."

The situation in Delhi is that men stare. That's it. Once or twice in your lifetime you may have the occasion to slap a man for his offence- harassing, stalking, groping etc. Women can freely wear hot pants, tanktops, mini skirts while travelling in the metro or walking on busy roads (and given this is India i'm talking about most roads in the city are busy!). Also, the situation in India is getting better because the government is sensitive to this issue and has taken steps to curb eve-teasing.

While packing for my visit to Egypt i had to think 10 times before picking an item of clothing. Despite that when I walk down Tahrir Street men make it a point to walk in my way and bump into me. Thankfully I haven't yet experienced any instances of groping but given the above comments it seems like it's only a matter of time.

My advice to all young girls travelling to Cairo: keep a bottle of aerosol deodorant in your bag at all times (since pepper spray is illegal in Egypt). Also, don't hesitate to use your vocal chords.

My sympathies to the woman that was raped a few times in broad daylight in Cairo. ^

maaritP   July 9th, 2011 9:32 am ET

To junnah (Nov 2nd 2010 post) – thank you for your comments and practical suggestions! As a lifelong pacifist I may have to practice beating an offender about the head with a thong, pinning a rude teen to the ground with my knee in his back, or twisting the ear of a groper whilst yelling at him – none of this will come naturally to me and it's a shame I need to learn these skills.

However this conversation thread has made it clear that I will likely need to have those skills, baggy clothes and sunglasses when I finally take my much longed for (and saved-up for!) holiday. 8 days on tour across Cairo and Alexandria. Until I'd read this site, I had just wanted to spend an independent 8 days in Alexandria only, but I'm now second guessing that decision and re-thinking the (hopefully increased ) safety in numbers.

Such a shame to have to so strongly consider one's safety so much in what seems an otherwise lovely country.

For those posting denials, anti-feminist rants, political and religious diatribes: blah blah blah.

And I would love to see more practical hints as to how women can respond to bad behaviour in ways that will not further endanger them.
Going by these posts, if I were to twist the ear of a young man verbally abusing me on the street, right now I don't know if it would stop and possibly have others assist me, or if I'd end up getting pack-assaulted, with others standing by and simply watching.

Bless to all.

Sahara   October 8th, 2011 5:39 pm ET

I have been to Egypt twice now, loved it everytime, both times with my mom.
I have to say that i have had a very different experience to most people on here.
I dontknow if i have some sort of advantage, but i speak 80% Arabic, so if i was walking on the street with my mom, i felt i had to protect her from the lewd comments the locals would make. Because i would answer to them in Arabic, they would look at me astonished and quickly even appologize, perhaps thinking i was Egyptian.
Im from the UK but not British by blood, i dont follow any religion, but i dressed modestly while in Egypt to respect the culture.
The most harassment i got was 'flirting' from the locals, and i mean flirting and NOT harassment. Maybe its because i have olive skin and dark features, many locals would firtly speak to me in Arabic and 98% of the time they assumed i was Egyptian as they would refer to me as 'sister'.
There were a few incidents when the 'flirting' got out of control, were some individuals followed me for a while and whispering 'pretty baby', lol, but they were just met with a hard glance and a serious disposition and that seemed to always work.
To be honest, while staying in various parts of Egypt, especially Sharm resorts, i did witness extremely lewd behavour from the staff in the hotels. HOWEVER HERE ARE SOME OF THE REASONS WHY SOME GUESTS WERE BOTHERED IN SUCH A WAY!!!

1. There are thousands of russian, ukranian young women who wear practicaly nothing out on the streets at night, engaging with the locals, smiling, laughing with them, then when the locals would over step the line by physically touching them, they would be quick to report them!!

2. In one of my hotels, there were 2 British early 20's women on holiday alone. On the private beach but he hotel, i heard and saw them while sunbathing, conversating witha group of Egyptian holiday makers and staff alike (all men). I even to my surprise and discust over heard one of the guys ask one of the girls why she had a tounge pearcing, her reply was: so i can give oral sex better!!! NO WORD OF A LIE!!!!!!!! then the guys started to touch them a bit, flirting with them a bit more and just spent about a good hour by their sunbeds. Then when one guy grabbed her breast she jumped up and started yelling how she was going to call the police if he layed his hand on her!!!

AFTER THE SORT OF CONVERSATION SHE WAS HAVING WITH HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!

alot of these inccidents are provoked by these whores, if you dont want that sort of attention, dont invite it. ofcourse there are those women who do nothing to provoke it and still get harassed, but not very often. As a woman you do need to step back and think logically, is there something i am doing to attract this?
Just like in the UK, if a woman goes out wearing a short dress or boobs hanging out, she will also get lewd comments, so im sorry but, if your boobs are out, you know full well what your going to get in the street.

Ignoring the comments usually does work best, no eye contact as this only encourages them!!!!

I dont know, maybe i was lucky to have an Egyptian bodyguard who worked for a particular police dept to escort me in the evenings to restaurants and night shows, but it is also the way you carry yourself too.

NO EYE CONTACT WITH THE MEN THAT ARE SHOUTING COMMENTS AT YOU

DONT FLIRT BACK FOR AGES AND THEN CALL 'RAPE', YOU WANTED IT SO YOU GOT IT

DONT SMILE AT THEM, EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BEING POLITE, IT WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE THEM

this might sound awfull, but the way i saw it was, most of these shop keepers and restaurant staff who shout lewd comments are poorly educated, common people, who dont particularly know much better, so dont waist time engaging with them, lift your head high, eyes straight, simple strict answers such as: la shok ran(no thank u) will suffice, keep your face serious when speaking to shop keepers and they will leave you alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frederic Precht   December 7th, 2011 1:22 am ET

I'm afraid based on what little I know of genetic analysis, I have to agree with grmann. This looks like the pet equivalent to those services that purport to do a full genealogical history of your family for $500.

Gerri Blowers   December 8th, 2011 3:13 am ET

Stfu and let him finish, do you want a perfect new build or a nor very perfect new build?

maaritP   December 10th, 2011 2:11 am ET

Thank you Sahara for the reply above, however, I will admit it saddens me. I've been raised in a culture which is open, honest and friendly. I get the impression from your reply that in order to avoid harrassment and other unwanted uninvited experiences from the Egyptian men, that a woman has to be very very hard. Smiling will invite trouble. Looking a man in the eye, will invite trouble. Talking to man, even one whose job it is eg in a hotel to talk to guests, will invite trouble. Being friendly and chatty will invite trouble. Having the honesty in admitting one is a sexual being (which we all are, regardless of how many clothes you wear or prayers you say) like the tongue-piercing tourist you mention, will have you thought of as a whore – how entirely, ridiculously extreme!

I don't understand why the responsibility of behaving decently is not put back equally on the men. I do think everyone is aware of the request to dress modestly out of respect for the country's culture, and I agree with that. When the Russian/Ukraine girls are partying scantily dressed, yes they are being disrespectful, and quite frankly, rude & stupid. But does that give the Egyptian men the right to , in response to their lack of modesty, dismiss ALL other human decencies and attack them?

Why are the women of the country responsible for the actions of the men? Are Egyptian men simply so weak that they cannot be expected to behave decently? To control themselves in the face of other's (womens) actions and not take that as licence to 'anything goes'? Do both the men and women consider the men to be so lacking in their own personal strength of character and will, that all blame is put on the woman, .the government, the economy – anything other than the men themselves...really?

I am naturally friendly and chatty which in NO WAY is an invitation by me to have sex with anyone, or that I want to be groped or receive lewd comments.

Generally a whore is considered someone who gives sex/sexual attention in exchange for something (whether it's money, or something else).

Being friendly, curious, open, honest, looking someone in the face and yes even conversationally being flirty, does NOT make a woman a whore and does NOT mean she wants sex, or to be groped or have lew comments. To me there is a world of difference but perhaps in Egypt that difference is much much smaller and therefore easier to blur the lines/cross over/judge wrongly.
I understand that this would feel like an affront to the country as the modesty expectations have been in place an eternity. However the reality is that it's becoming more multicultural, and has a huge reliance economically on not only tourists, but also employees from the world over. An expectation of and ACTUAL shift in behaviour then, of Egyptian men not groping/harrassing women and of Egyptian women not allowing them to (whether it's of local or western women) clearly needs to happen.

Sahara, whether it was you looking and acting like a local/a 'sister', or the English tourist who had a tongue piercing and openly explained why when asked...neither of you asked for or deserved to be groped or lewd comments etc – those wrong behaviours were the fault, SOLELY, of the men who did them. And sounds like you having a big policeman escorting you has probably protected you and your mother from all sorts of nastiness much more than your serious face and demeanour.

Thank you for your hints and tips, many of which are practical and sensible, though your assertion someone can 'ask for it' is extreme. I wonder if, when dressed modestly whilst shopping and sight-seeing in Alexandria, if I had sunglasses on and headphones on my ears (much like I do in everyday life) just going about my business not interacting with people unless needed to (eg with a shop person making a purchase) and some man decided to touch/grope me – if I slapped him very clearly, would that stop the attack, or would it inflame him and things would become worse? Who would be in the wrong, in that case? I would think he was for an uninvited attack on me and my personal space and body, whereas my slap would be in response to him and intended as self-defence, as well as public attention to his bad behaviour. Or would this country somehow warpedly make it all my fault?

Emely Michitsch   December 14th, 2011 11:40 am ET

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one.I mean, I know it was my selection to read, but I truly thought youd have some thing interesting to say.All I hear is actually a bunch of whining about something that you simply could fix if you werent too busy trying to find attention.

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Nordic man   June 30th, 2012 8:35 pm ET

Isn't political and social security kind of the same?
If the general populace doesn't feel safe, shouldn't the government try and find a way to fix that?

I'm just saying that if it is an obvious problem, why not fix it?

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Abdul Hadi   October 31st, 2012 2:15 pm ET

The problem in Egypt shouldn't be interpreted as anything to do with the religion of Islam. Islam is a very strict religion that prohibits these such acts. I disagree with some of the comments saying that some would intepret islam in a way that have some men understanding that this is allowed within the religion. The problem is the people, not the religion.

The problem is the society, not the religion. No one is saying Christianity promotes child molestation when a lot of priests are caught to have done this. This is because we all know that there is no way christianity allows this!

Islam does not allow this, and there is no loose interpretation within the quran that would give any chance for one to misinterpret and think that hey, i can grab someones chest because quran may allow it.?!

Islam does not condone sexual harrassment. Likewise with christianity, judaism and etc. It is the lack of education, common sense that drives such acts.

It doesnt matter if the number are true or not. the fact that it happens, shows that the eqyptian government should do something about it. end the harassments wherever it happens


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